Friday, December 9, 2016

Peering into the crystal ball about the future of these storefront businesses

[EVG photo from September]

The Commercial Observer explores the economics behind some dwindling storefront businesses in a piece titled "What Does the Future Hold for the City’s Tarot Card Readers and Fortune-Tellers?"

[H]ow do you make rent off of $5, $10 or even $20 readings? It’s something we think about all the time in terms of restaurants and $8 eyebrow threading and $10 manicures. But those industries have visible, steady clientele. And with rents what they are — $418 per square foot in Lower Manhattan for retail space, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s most recent retail market report, which works out to approximately 21 readings at $20 for every single square foot in a space—the economics seem daunting. (Retail rents are much higher, of course, in other parts of the city.)

“The people they meet for $20 — that’s just an opening,” James Famularo, a senior director at Eastern Consolidated, told Commercial Observer. “Once in a while, they’ll hit a nerve. Some sucker will believe it, commission the reader [industry speak for astrologists, psychics, and crystal, energy, palm and tarot readers] as a life consultant and pay hundreds or thousands of dollars per month. They’re not doing it for a palm read — they’re looking for a well.”

Still, that seemed far-fetched in terms of a business plan. Or, at least, risky. And, anyway, all psychics are not created equal.

This is not a story about who is good at their practice or who is easily seduced (or who is interested in doing a reading “for research”). This is a story about who is good at bookkeeping. Whatever the math, readers appear to be a vanishing breed, at least in terms of new storefronts and new searches for visible space.

Recent psychic closures in the East Village include storefronts on Sixth Street ... Second Street ... and Sixth Street.

Regardless, fans of the storefront psychics, tarot card readers and fortune-tellers shouldn't fret.

One broker compared them to "street hot dogs" — "Someone’s eating them. I don’t think they’re going anywhere."

By the way, don't be fooled by the "psychic" on the door at 170 E. Second St. The actual psychic closed here, but the new tenant — a graphic design studio — kept the former business logo intact...

[Photo last month by Derek Berg]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have always assumed that all of those storefront psychic reading places were fronts for some unlawful activities. Never saw anyone go in or out.