By and  on March 11, 2011

Be they retail developer or robotics expert, social media sage or money manager for the masses, these nine people are reshaping the way consumers see the world— and our industry.

Jim Rosenfeld, president, J.S. Rosenfield & Co.

If the name of your store rhymes with map, Jim Rosenfield won’t budge no matter how much you plead to get a spot at the Brentwood Country Mart. The shopping center owner, who bought the 63-year-old Brentwood Country Mart in 2003 when it was 40 percent vacant, has restored it to full occupancy, and is in the pro- cess of doing the same for shopping centers in Montecito, Marin and Malibu, Calif. He has his guidelines and follows them assiduously. “We don’t just lease to the usual suspects,” he says. “We tend to lease to independently owned stores with kind owners and a high level of customer service.” An apothecary seemed like a good fit for the Brentwood Country Mart, so former Studio at Fred Segal buyer Marie Mason was given the go-ahead to set up her namesake shop there. Benjamin Montoya’s personal collection of more than 2,000 Ray-Bans helped convince Rosenfield that he’d prosper with an eyewear outpost. The results are indisputable. “We are nearly double the average sales per square foot that even some of the best shopping centers have,” says Rosenfield. “We try to create a charming space that is conducive to interaction,” he says. In other words, the future of big-box retailing might just be small.

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