Urban Value Store: Interview with our CEO Steve McKinley
Updated: Feb 25
Steve McKinley is a highly visible, forward-thinking, results-oriented business executive with extensive experience in retail operations.
He is also the founder and CEO of Urban Value Corner Stores.
Urban Value Corner Stores are designed to meet the needs of high-density apartment communities, offering residents a clean, well-organized amenity.
The stores are also an ideal solution for busy shoppers who want exceptional service, convenience, and value in an urban setting.
What was your Background Before Starting Urban Value?
My career in the retail industry spans over 30 years. I have always enjoyed working in the retail industry because no matter how successful a retailer is, there is always room to grow and improve upon already impressive results.
This philosophy has guided me throughout my career, and it has resulted in some amazing opportunities. I have been fortunate to work for some great companies, and each step of the way, I have found myself enjoying the retail business more and more.
The retail industry is always changing and evolving, and that makes it an exciting and motivating industry to work in.
What Inspired you to Open Urban Value?
I wanted to create a business model that would leverage my years of retail experience into something that would accomplish two goals.
First, grow a company to levels that would seem impossible to achieve. Second, create a retail concept that would improve the residents' living experiences within the communities we serve.
The initial idea of Urban Value Store's amenity program came unexpectedly when my Son was moving from one community to another and called me after he saw a potential retail spot underneath one of the largest communities in the DFW area.
That conversation between my son and me sparked the engine of Urban Value Corner Store. I immediately engaged with the developer and listened intently to their needs. Based on these sessions, the concept of building a full-service amenity for the residents in the format of Urban Value Corner Store was created.
Within six months, we had our first location open and running smoothly. We now have several locations and are continuing to expand.
Why do you Believe the Multi-Unit Apartment Community has Been Open to the Urban Value Stores Concept
Our number one priority is to provide an outstanding living experience for the residents we serve. We do this by being attentive to their needs and responding quickly to any requests that may arise.
We also offer a variety of amenities and services that make life more convenient and enjoyable for the residents. Our approach has resonated with developers and owners looking for a professional and reliable full-service amenity program like ours.
We are proud to be able to offer a competitive edge to our clients and their communities.
How has the Corner Store Business Model Changed Over the Years?
Gone are the days when a small bodega with limited selection was enough to meet the needs of residents in high-density apartment communities.
Today, our customers are looking for a store offering a greater selection, fresh food products, and locally produced snacks and foods.
They want a well-organized, clean store with exceptional service levels that cater to their needs. That's why we've developed a concept that is proving to be extremely popular with residents and developers alike. Our stores offer everything our customers are looking for, and our team takes pride in providing the high levels of customer service they deserve.
What Challenges do you Face when Running a Corner Store in Apartment Buildings?
Running a business is never easy, but in recent years the landscape has changed dramatically. With globalization, the rise of technology and the ever-changing political landscape, businesses have had to adapt just to stay afloat.
Add to that the challenges of supply chain management, inflation and staffing, and it's no wonder that so many businesses fail.
The key to surviving and thriving in today's business world is to stay focused on your core business model. What is it that makes your business unique? What is it that you do better than anyone else? If you can answer those questions, then you can begin to build a strong foundation for success.
Additionally, you must always be looking to the future and anticipating the next obstacle.
If you're not constantly innovating and adapting, then you will be left behind. It's as simple as that. If you want to run a successful business these days, you need to be focused, adaptable and always looking ahead.
What are Some of the Successes That you have Seen With Urban Value?
Success has come in numerous ways. First, it is great to see the growth opportunities we have been able to provide our employees. Many of our new stores are being managed by team members who we brought on from the start. This is a testament to our training programs and the quality of our employees.
Second, we continue to receive positive feedback from the residents we serve. Because of this, we get to know them by name and feel like we are part of the community.
Lastly, we have developed strong partnerships with developers over the years. These partnerships have been very positive and have allowed us to offer an amenity like ours that solves the challenges many of these large communities face today.
What Value Does a Corner Store Provide to a High-Density Living Area?
Walkability is extremely important for residents in high-density communities. The ability to walk to a corner store and grab what they need quickly and easily is a huge selling point for these types of developments. Not only does it save time and money, but it also improves the overall living experience.
People want cool places to shop that are close to where they live. Urban Value Store provides exactly that – a unique shopping experience that is close to home. This amenity is one of the things that makes these kinds of communities so attractive to residents. It's convenient, cool, and, most importantly, it meets their needs.
How do you Decide What Products to Stock in Your Store?
Most people outside the retail industry don't realize how data-driven running a retail business is. We have years of data points to analyze product assortment to ensure we're stocking the right product in the right stores.
But more importantly, we listen to what the residents are telling us. We want to make sure each store is designed specifically to meet the needs of the residents we serve. That's why the product mix is unique in each one of our stores - you don't see that very often in corner stores these days.
What are Some of the Things That you Love About Running Urban Value?
This is the easiest question to answer for me. I love what I do, and I do what I love. The teams we have at the stores are great to work with, and the leasing teams we interact with are so supportive.
I am having the best time of my life right now. Urban Value Corner Store is an idea that is filling a need for not only the residents we serve but also the developers. We have a format that may seem easy to operate but trust me; it takes a great team to execute at the level we deliver.