Between e-commerce and the pandemic, there’s never been a worse time for the retail industry. But that’s not stopping two longtime retail brokers from launching a new firm.
Former Cushman & Wakefield brokers Brandon Singer and Michael Cody have launched Retail by MONA, The Real Deal has learned. The firm’s investors include Aby Rosen and Michael Fuchs of RFR Holding. A representative for the investors declined to comment.
Singer and Cody, who worked with Cushman’s Joanne Podell before launching their own team in 2016, want to “disrupt” the retail marketplace, which has been struggling for years and is now in dire straits thanks to the pandemic.
Singer says the company’s name — MONA stands for “making of a new age” — was inspired by the Renaissance and Mona Lisa. “We are looking to take advantage of the current market,” he said, pointing to vacancies along Manhattan’s main shopping districts, where new lower rents are prompting restaurants and other tenants to seek better locations.
“The answer is not laws being changed,” Singer said, referring to proposals such as vacancy taxes and commercial rent control, “but focusing on marketing approaches and finding the right tenant for the space in a way that is new and fresh and with a bespoke model that’s different.”
Unlike traditional brokerages, Singer said the firm also has the flexibility to introduce startup retail clients to venture capitalists.
Singer, 34, began his retail career at Robert K. Futterman in 2007 before joining Cushman in 2011. He says he was involved in the completion of $2.5 billion in transactions over the last 13 years.
Retail by MONA’s clients include Showfields, H&R Block, Thompson Hospitality Group, Fit House, Eden, Beta and GetFabric.com. The firm will also work on fulfilment and logistical deals.