Q&A With ASG President Carrie Barclay

Q&A With ASG President Carrie Barclay

Q&A With ASG President Carrie Barclay 1440 428 Chute Gerdeman

It’s been seven months since ASG’s acquisition of Chute Gerdeman, and we sat down with Carrie Barclay, President, to get her perspective on what this means for the combined team, our client partners, and the industry at large. A guiding force behind the decision to acquire Chute Gerdeman, Carrie immediately recognized the opportunity to strengthen their real estate solutions business and propel retail design into the future. Leading the transformation of the retail real estate industry, Carrie’s ability and expertise to solve complex issues for clients helps them achieve a broader perspective of the integrated role of retail and future-forward innovations. This new team is at the forefront of redefining retail through consumer-centric design and real estate expertise.

Why is the acquisition of Chute Gerdeman an important step for ASG?

Bringing these two companies together was important because experience is number one for our clients and for their customers. With this new team, we’re more responsive to market shifts in unique ways and we’re able to predict changes in real time. We’re connecting design to execution paired with our knowledge base of real estate and analytics. It’s something that the industry is struggling with and we’re figuring it out together for our clients.

What areas do you believe we’ll expand with the power of our combined capabilities?

The industry is changing so rapidly and consumers adapting even faster, design strategy must be integrated with quick and responsive execution. We’re agile like never before. We’ll see shorter sprints on design that is fueled by strategy and predictive analytics.

What synergies do you see between the teams?

There are natural synergies that were apparent long before the acquisition. Why we didn’t do this earlier is crazy to me. It’s our goal that our culture has a development cycle that matches what consumers want going forward. We are the consumers we serve and the ultimate ability to change and adapt in retail and restaurants is already happening—as a team, we’re doing just that.

As the leader in Real Estate services, how do you stay a step ahead of the industry on behalf of your clients, and how might the acquisition of Chute Gerdeman further foster that?

The retail industry was struggling even pre-Covid. It was homogenized and often clients had no clue how many stores they actually needed and where they should go and what to present. For a company to be connected strategically—it’s more iterative and flexible than ever before. Adding Chute Gerdeman to our collective team gives us that ability.

Store owner with iPad

Over the years, Chute Gerdeman has had longstanding client accounts creating a spectrum of amazing work. What kind of opportunities do you think this creates to extend new services to legacy clients?

We think about our clients holistically and how we bring that value to them all the time. We really are a partner to bring the best opportunities that will improve their business, whether it’s portfolio reviews, market segmentation data, or lease negotiation, we’re continually looking for ways to support our clients. Now, through this new team, we’ll add even more value with world-class design and strategy around it.

“We are the consumers we serve and the ultimate ability to change and adapt in retail and restaurants is already happening—as a team, we’re doing just that.” – Carrie Barclay

What do you think you have most to learn from this partnership?

To think about the company with a design lens is exciting. It’s influential to the industry and consumers. There’s so much talent and creativity to this team and I’m so motivated to get it into the world.

Beyond the growth opportunities for the two companies, do you envision growing your staff in their personal career goals? How do you think the collaboration with additional disciplines and expertise will inspire, educate, and empower your staff?

Of course, it’s not a traditional company or traditional design, we’re more thoughtful and meaningful in our collaboration efforts. The people here underline the company and that gives it it’s drive. We want to expand that passion and POV around real estate design excellence, rather than be challenged by a niche mentality. Collaboration is already happening even during Covid within our disciplines. Onboarding has new challenges due to safety measures and working from home, but we’re doing it and doing it well.

How do you see the combined company changing how we approach retail?

I believe that the most important thing is when a client needs help around locations—and I mean location as a shelf, a store, and even a digital footprint—we’re invested in their success and we can provide that strategy and a solid foundation for them to reach their goals. When we think this way about location, movement matters because consumers have moved. We’ve made a substantial investment to understand how we bring that movement back to the benefit of our clients. From location to digital to design, it’s a big advantage to bring these connections forward. It affects their decisions on how long leases need to be, how each experience manifests into reality, and where to go next.

How do you think retail (and restaurants) will evolve in the next 5 years?

I believe that capital spend will not be so encompassing upfront. It will be more frequent and will affect real estate modeling and iterative investments. We’ll see a resetting by location. Downtowns came back, now there’s a real question on what will really happen next with a new heightened desire for more space. There are real infrastructure investments that are going to change.

With people being in lockdown, we’ll see a boom of exploration when restrictions are lifted. Creating meaningful human connections will be the highest priority. Being able to hear conversations and being part of the buzz within retail and restaurants drives satisfaction and as a result, lifts morale. We’ll just see shifts in how that happens as a whole.

For retail in general, we’re going to see more showrooming and regionalized concepts will be bigger than ever. For restaurants the same will be true, sizing for the opportunity and building in more modularity in their concepts while rethinking BOH.

For more perspectives on the changing retail landscape check out
our latest write-up on retail predictions here >

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