Jeff Harpster

Co-founder & CEO

Jeff Harpster is Partner, Co-founder, and CEO at ARES Retail Solutions and has been in the commercial real estate business for over 30 years.



BLOCKBUSTER ENTERTAINMENT – Jeff is an attorney and was the Vice President and senior real estate officer for the U.S. and Canada for Blockbuster Entertainment for 5 years during peak growth years. Blockbuster opened over 2,000 new stores during his 5-year tenure. Jeff was responsible for all aspects of new store growth, existing store portfolio management and all related real estate and legal functions for Blockbuster Video, Music, Discovery Zone and Virgin Music. He was also part of the M&A team.


ARES RETAIL SOLUTIONS – Jeff co-founded ARES Retail Solutions in 2009 and is currently CEO. ARES is a real estate advisory, solutions and transactions firm focused on navigating clients through strategic change to reduce occupancy costs, optimize store networks and assess potential acquisition and growth plans.


ARES TENANT CLIENTS HAVE INCLUDED – Starbucks / CVS / Chipotle / Michaels Arts & Crafts / Office Depot / Rite Aid / Panda Express / Advance Auto / Dollar Tree / Boston Market / Einstein Bagels / Mattress Firm / Burger King / Darden / Bloomin Brands / Bojangles / Coopers Hawk / Au Bon Pain / Hertz / Craftworks / Aarons Rents / Payless Shoes / Captain D’s / Ideal Image / Extended Stay America / Blockbuster / Hollywood Video / Pivotal Fitness / Cash Advance America


ARES CONSULTING & PRIVATE EQUITY CLIENTS HAVE INCLUDED – Boston Consulting Group, Blackstone Portfolio Companies, Cerberus Capital, Carlyle Group, Sun Capital, Centerbridge and New River Capital.


EINSTEIN BAGELS – Jeff was also VPRE for the U.S. for Einstein Bagels in the late 90’s during which time Einstein’s opened over 400 stores. He was responsible for managing all aspects of the real estate program.


INSITE DEVELOPMENT – Jeff spent 3 years managing all aspects for ground up development of over 30 single & multi-tenant build to suit projects across the U.S. for Blockbuster, Gateway, Mattress Giant & other retailers.


WOOLBRIGHT DEVELOPMENT – Jeff was VP of Leasing for Woolbright Development for a portfolio of approximately 30 shopping centers.


SPECIALTIES – Jeff has extensive experience in corporate real estate best practices, store portfolio advisory services, lease restructuring, market planning, store roll out and rollup, legal, build to suit, bankruptcy restructuring and acquisition due diligence.

Tenant Experience

Blockbuster Entertainment

  • V.P. Real Estate for U.S. & Canada
  • Opened 1,800 Stores in 5 Years

Einstein / Noah Bagel

  • V.P. Real Estate for U.S.
  • Opened 400 Stores in 3 Years

Landlord / Development Experience

Insite Development

  • Equity Partner
  • V.P. Retail Development (Completed Over 30 Freestanding Single and Multi-Tenant Projects)

Legal Experience

Blockbuster Entertainment

  • Senior Real Estate Counsel

Our Clients