By Mario Toneguzzi
A new retail concept that transforms the traditional brick and mortar model by connecting shoppers and brands through community and experiences is being launched in two of North America’s biggest malls.
Fourpost is the re-branded name for RAAS (Retail as a Service) which was a micro-mall concept that laid the groundwork for the new concept which is backed by $5 million in funding. Fourpost is a tech savvy 2.0 version of the concept allowing retailers to have more tools to manage their physical storefronts from an online dashboard full of analytics, resources, tools and community where they can learn business skills, grow their businesses and connect with fellow entrepreneurs.
Fourpost is being launched November 1 at Mall of America in Minneapolis and at the West Edmonton Mall.
Mark Ghermezian, Founder and CEO of Fourpost, said RAAS was beta testing the original concept of whether retail brands want turnkey spaces that come with community and technology in prime locations and do consumers want to shop at these locations.
“Through that process we also got a better understanding of what our purpose is and what we’re doing as a brand and we really put a lot of thought into who we are, and what we are, and what we want to be,” said Ghermezian.
“The name Fourpost is we’re providing the four posts of innovation for retail. Four posts that form a community and I think it has a lot more meaning than Retail as a Service. That was always the idea to test this out and learn from it and come to market with a much more thoughtful brand around who we are as a brand and who we are as a company.”
Those four posts are: community which is a mix of local, emerging and digitally native brands; providing space which focuses on shapes not square feet; service which is through technology and customer experience; and curation with exclusive, high quality business services.
"Today, brands are demanding better options for brick and mortar," said Ghermezian. "The industry has not kept pace with modern retail. We built Fourpost to completely re-architect the process by building a community and breathing fresh air into what has been a stale industry between landlords and brands for hundreds of years."
Fourpost is geared to brands ranging from local businesses and startups to established digital natives, giving them access to prime real estate. Ghermezian said Fourpost can inject new energy into physical retail, starting with shopping malls and eventually moving to freestanding locations.
The key is offering these retailers a turnkey solution to opening a brick and mortar storefront without obstacles like long-term leases, high rents, capital expenditures and operational logistics.
One of its unique initiatives is offering creative and alternative space in its Studio Shops which can be triangular and rectangular in nature. Each Studio Shop has fixtures, signage, lighting, POS hardware, and Wi-Fi, as well as access to various amenities such as event space.
Fourpost says its easy-to-use SaaS dashboard allows members access to tools and resources like dedicated onboarding and account management, business training, calendars and event bookings, and billing. The dashboard helps members navigate storefront data, and gain useful insights and analytics to grow their businesses. It is also a platform for retailers to connect and engage in meaningful conversations, share information, and ask questions.
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#Fourpost has officially launched, and we would love for you to celebrate with us! Join us at the Grand Opening Party for our new location at @mallofamerica on November 1 and at @official_wem on November 6 from 6-9pm!⠀ ⠀ It's time to meet the freshest brands, and party the night away with us! ⠀ ⠀ RSVP through the link in our bio!⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #FreshAtFourpost #FreshAF #WeAreFourpost #shoplocal #petitejoys #FourpostMSP #FourpostYEG ⠀
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Today’s the day! We are so thrilled to celebrate brands who make the world a better place! Join us at our kick-off party tonight from 6-9pm to discover inspiring, socially driven brands! RSVP to this awesome event through the link in our bio and you’ll be treated to delicious sips from @hansendistillery and tasty vegan eats from @themothcafe. Not only that, there will be live music, plenty of selfie opps (obvi!), and great giveaways! Let’s party with a purpose, #YEG! . . . . . . . . . . . #raasyeg #wem #shopsmall #shoplocalyeg #yegbusiness #igyeg #exploreedmonton
“We’re an independent company. We’re based in New York. Building a team here. We’re building the technology here. We’re looking to expand. We’re building a global international company and a community of brands and this is definitely something we want to start rolling out in more places,” said Ghermezian.
“We’re actually starting to offer staffing. That was a big thing. So when brands come on not only are they getting their turnkey spaces with us . . . but we’re also providing full staff so it’s completely turnkey. In some spaces we’re offering office space . . . It’s not just about the space. Our space is a means to an end and we’re creating a whole community and service around what we’re doing with the four posts.”
Fourpost has received investment from Susa Ventures, Collaborative Ventures, Blumberg Capital, Ludlow Ventures, Supernode Ventures, T5 Capital, Accelerator Ventures, Social Capital and Hersz Capital. Individual investors include Parachute Founder and CEO Ariel Kaye, Warby Parker Co-CEO Dave Gilboa, Rubrik Founder and CEO Bipul Sinha, and InVision Founder and CEO Clark Valberg.
The company plans to open several new locations in 2019.
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org