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Archive for May, 2010

Is Your City Ready for Retail Development?

Written by
Rickey Hayes
Retail Attractions, LLC

If you are a city manager or mayor of a community in Oklahoma, the bulk of your energy at work consists of trying to wrangle a budget that is fed by sales tax. This is definitely a full-time job. Until a more stable and predictable revenue source comes along, cities are forced to wrestle with sales tax revenues that ebb and flow, creating stressful situations for cities that are trying hard to stay ahead of growth, or simply trying to keep the bills paid.

In today’s competitive world, cities that are not maximizing every potential growth opportunity are falling further and further behind. In the real world, there are only two kinds of cities, growing cities and decaying cities. If you are lucky enough to be in a growing community, then you at least have the opportunity to capture the growth revenue and use it wisely. But if your city is NOT in a growth mode, the outlook for the future may seem pretty bleak indeed.

Since most, if not all, your general fund revenue comes from sales tax, the most prudent thing to do is to make every effort to maximize your community’s base of retail outlets. In order to accurately evaluate your city’s retail growth potential, several key factors must be quantified:

  • A community’s retail base market must be identified and validated. Many rural or small population based communities underestimate their retail potential by not understanding traffic flows and market draw. Retail leakage needs to be identified and retailers that can plug the hole need to be recruited. The most cost effective way to do this is to hire a professional. Information about city demographics, leakage, and retail potential is marketed better and more efficiently through independent, third party sources like Retail Attractions, LLC.
  • Communities must understand that retailers do not just show up and start building. Retail and restaurant outlets need to be attracted to your community by well planned marketing efforts and current, verifiable, and accurate data. Retail Attractions knows what retailers and developers need to see, hear, and feel about a community before they are motivated to invest capital and time to investigate potential opportunities.
  • A city should evaluate its development process to see how difficult it is to actually develop commercial real estate in your municipality. Lots of communities boast of being retail friendly, but in reality the bureaucratic development process is very difficult and time consuming. In this economy, when retailers and restaurants have the ability to be very selective on new market development it is extremely important to have all the kinks worked out of the development system. A city is very wise to count the cost of promising and not being able to deliver on their promise. Being able to deliver on a promise in a timely manner is very important when potentially millions of dollars are at stake.

Hiring a firm like Retail Attractions, LLC can expedite the evaluation process and provide a community with an unbiased analysis of both the potential retail market, including leakage reports and accurate up to date demographic data, as well as a review of the local development procedures to ensure a seamless and time efficient development process for developers. Retail Attractions, LLC has a proven track record of success in our client cities. Retail development is a slow and tedious process in great economic times. Now, more than ever a community must take every opportunity to stay ahead of the competition and be ready to capitalize and make the most of every opportunity.

Rickey Hayes is the principal of Retail Attractions, LLC, a firm dedicated to helping cities and developers successfully find retail sites, close deals and improve the quality of life for our client cities.