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Thread: Recruiting Retailers

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Recruiting Retailers

    I am increasingly finding communities of all sizes that are beginning to look at retail as an economic development strategy. Some are as small as a few thousand people. I am curious to know if there are others out there (cities and/or ED professionals) who are recruiting retailers, what strategies work best and what success they have had. Does anyone know of a state-level effort?

  2. #2
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Recruiting Retailers

    We are thinking about such a recruitment effort, so I will be watching this thread for any replies.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Try your state's Main Street people. Their whole philosophy is one business at a time, over time, is economic development.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    True, Main Street does this, but now a lot more mainstream ED organizations are getting into the act, looking at regional and national chains, and even big boxes. It is a very different scenario than the downtown retail recruiting/business development that has been going on.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian GeogPlanner's avatar
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    I'm looking for some information about attracting a large chain retailer to a community that is interested in having it...anyone have some info? How about profiles on some of the typical chain stores such as average store size based on model (small, medium, large), sales per sqaure foot, population/median income of market area...and so forth...

    I was hoping that the post had some promise to it...but no luck...maybe getting this back on top will catch someone's eye...

    thanks...
    Information necessitating a change of design will be conveyed to the designer after and only after the design is complete. (Often called the 'Now They Tell Us' Law) - Fyfe's First Law of Revision

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  6. #6
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Let's hope this topic gets more attention. I have found a few communities in Wisconsin interested in this topic. There is an ICSC Idea Exchange we will be attending in a couple of weeks. If you are not familiar with the International Council of Shopping Centers, you might want to check them out. Government membership is $100 per year.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Boy, this really depends on your demographics. One nearby inner ring suburb has had so many service problems with one of their big box commercial establishments that they have actually had to open a police substation inside of it. The worst problem was not with "their" residents, but with customers from the City arriving on the bus line, shopping (or shoplifting), then stealing cars to get all their booty home. The service costs certainly outweigh the property tax generated. Not to mention the employment opportunities are not living-wage in my neck of the woods.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian GeogPlanner's avatar
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    Originally posted by Michael Stumpf
    Let's hope this topic gets more attention. I have found a few communities in Wisconsin interested in this topic. There is an ICSC Idea Exchange we will be attending in a couple of weeks. If you are not familiar with the International Council of Shopping Centers, you might want to check them out. Government membership is $100 per year.
    I have spent a number of hours searching the web and visiting places like ICSC and those sites...no luck...the ULI's "Dollars & Cents" provides some benchmarks but no company profiles.

    ...still searching...
    Information necessitating a change of design will be conveyed to the designer after and only after the design is complete. (Often called the 'Now They Tell Us' Law) - Fyfe's First Law of Revision

    We don't believe in planners and deciders making the decisions on behalf of Americans. -- George W. Bush , Scranton, PA -- 09/06/2000

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Economic Dev. Help

    The City I work for is a member of the ICSC, but I have not found them to be particularly helpful for our situation. Though they do have some good classes.

    I would suggest Dunn & Bradstreet (Sp?) they will have that info. My personal favorite is a program called TENANT SEARCH. It is a software package that allows you to query it for particulars that match your cities demographics, available sq footage, etc... You might take a look at it, they have a sample page. Also you can buy it for a region or for the nation as a whole...

    Good Luck hope that might help...

    www.tenant-search.net/

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I just returned from a regional ICSC Idea Exchange. Forty-five communities had tables set up to make a pitch to retailers and developers. The second day, about sixty retailers had tables set up to hear from developers and communities. It is a good way to make contacts and find out store requirements.

  11. #11

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    I probably shouldn't interject this into a practical discussion, but I am genuinely amazed that communities are considering retail as a serious economic development strategy. I know there are perverse incentives to attract retail in the tax structure of many states (including the one I live in) and that recruitment is a necessary part of revitalizing commercial districts. But I get the impression from this discussion that some people are thinking that a Target (or Wal-Mart or any of the others) on the edge of town would be economic development. It seems like a living wage study would be a first (and final) step in evaluating this strategy. I was just looking at the NW Policy Center's living wage studies for the PNW states and there are many cases in which two people working at normal retail wages would not make one living wage. The changes in traditional industries -- farming, forestry, mining, manufacturing -- have left a lot of communities confused about the economic future, but the shift to producing services, doesn't mean that economic development isn't still about production rather than consumption.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Our purposes in recruiting retail are many:
    1) Yes, recruiting to the downtown is partly why we are doing this.
    2) Sales leakage is serious - people are not shopping in the community because they can't get what they need. Instead, they drive twenty miles or more. We need to give our dollars a little better chance to circulate in the community before flying off.
    3) Location - we are seeking to establish a new commercial district strategically placed to draw traffic through the downtown. A big box discounter may not be able to locate downtown, but if they are in the right location, they will generate traffic for the downtown.
    4) Place - new industries evaluate a community based upon the services it offers. If there is little/no shopping, restaurants, etc., it is less attractive a location for the primary employment generators.
    5) "We need fast food" - this is what I hear from the business community, which complains that employees leaving to pick up lunch can't make it back in time because the fast food restaurants are too far from the business park. It is a productivity and business retention issue.
    6) No, these are mostly not high-wage jobs. But then look at who they mostly hire around here - college students (we have a university) and people looking for part-time work. Were the retailers not here, those jobs would not be here either. Full-time department managers, office staff, etc. are paid wages comparable to any other industry.
    We do consider wages whenever we talk with a business about locating in the community. Any help we may offer them is based upon wages, benefits, and other factors as to the desirability of the business. With retail, we are recruiting, we are creating opportunities and we are offering technical assistance. Only in the rarest of cases do we provide any incentives. Still, we recognize that retail is a critical component in creating a place where people and businesses will want to locate.

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