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Retailers, remember, you are more than just a place to shop, you are part of our communities.

Published January 27, 2021 By Fernanda Cardoso

A mile of luxury with the most exclusive brands and restaurants in Mexico City, Masaryk could be compared to Fifth Avenue, Rodeo Drive or Michigan Avenue. It is one of the most notable shopping districts in Mexico City and is known around the world.

Between 2015 and 2017 we spent almost 500 million pesos remodeling the street to create a better place to shop, window shop and walk, surrounded by flagship stores, trendy restaurants and amazing windows. The lively retail vibe of Masaryk made it the place to be to rejoice in the sights and sounds, a vibrant cultural meeting place, community gathering spot, and tourist destination.

But now, just a few years later, we are in the midst of our second lock down, and passing through Masaryk on a recent walk was a sad experience. The street is quiet.

Prices for leasing have fallen around 20%, and in December the number of brands closing their doors increased to 32. Others have left Masaryk to avoid paying the high rents while their stores are closed.

The brands that remain, including Cartier, Dolce&Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Montblanc, Berger, Audemars Piguet, Massimo Dutti, Peyrelongue, Gucci, and others have put barriers on their windows to prevent damage and theft, making the street look like a ghost town.

Just a few places remain open because they are considered essential activities such as restaurants (just for takeout), banks and mobile phone brands.

Something that amazed me during my walk was to observe that just one brand made the effort to improve their facade to properly facilitate the Click and Collect, as well as a drive through. It is TANE, a national jewelry brand.

Even Louis Vuitton just put a door in their barricade with a sign. The others do not even have any visible sign or door or details about how to shop. No color or any other branding elements have been included, nothing added to remind people they can still shop the brand. But retail success depends on brand recognition, history and customer loyalty.  We cannot forget this important element for remaining viable, long term, even during the shutdown.  

It is kind of strange thinking about the time that it will take for this country to find its new normal. We share this uncertain future with similar places around the world as we all struggle to adjust to these changes.  My message to retailers is to remember your place in the community. Your presence on streets like Masuryk are more than just a place to buy goods.  You are part of our community, you bring us together.  Remember that you bring beauty to our streets with the facades of your stores.  The day will come when we will open again, but until then the look of your store has the ability to either lift us up, or sadly, remind us of this crazy time we are living through. A little paint and a nod to branding goes a long way.