September 22, 2011
An Oklahoma-based consultant advising Mandan city officials says the city needs to raise awareness of its identify separate from Bismarck to draw large box stores and build its retail.
Rickey Hayes, founder of Retail Attractions, said the company will be pitching the city's assets at the Oct. 5-6 International Council of Shopping Centers Conference in Chicago and a separate ICSC conference Nov. 2-4 at San Antonio. He has found through phone and conference contacts that retailers "tend to group Mandan with the Bismarck market." He remains confident that the city can bring in its own box stores as developers and businesses learn of Mandan's potential.
In May, the consultant attended the 2011 International Council of Shopping Central retail estate convention where it fielded questions about the city.
In April, the Mandan City Commission hired Retail Attractions for $48,500 to recruit national chains to the city. Its partner consultant Crossroads Communication was contracted for $5,000 to package data about the city for potential businesses.The city would like to build its sales revenue by growing its retail base.
Hayes said he is contacting large "box stores" daily. He said potential investors are unaware of Mandan's assets of property, growing population, traffic flow and accessibility.
"It's fairly early in the process," Hayes said Thursday.
Mandan Business Development Director Ellen Huber said the Hayes is pitching Mandan's strengths as its own market. She believes the city needs to keep working to educate the big chains and developers of what is available here. "If you get a major outlet to come, you can get others to surround it," she said.
Mandan City Commissioner Dot Frank, who holds the economic development portfolio, said she expects the commission will hold a telephone conference with Hayes within the month for an update on contacts made and to take a look at its retail strategy. Frank said commissioners and Huber receive monthly status reports from Hayes. "It takes time," Frank said of bringing large businesses there.