Retail Attractions, LLC
Every year in May, we make a trek to Las Vegas to attend the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) RECON spring conference. It is three days of hard work, endless meetings, and lots of walking. It is also a must-do if you represent a city seeking retail growth. The next series of blog posts will deal with ICSC strategy for cities. We will consider what works, what doesn’t work, and what should be avoided at all cost.
In this article, I want to relate an experience that I witnessed this year in order to draw attention to something that every city manager, city councilor or elected official needs to understand. I set up and attended a meeting between a mid-sized city from the central region of the country and a national retailer. The city manager presented a passionate case to the retailer that his city was the absolute best place for the retailer’s next site. What happened next shocked the city manager. The retail real estate executive looked him square in the eye and said, “With all due respect, we have 500 other options that are better than yours.
One of the things we preach constantly to our client cities is that they are just one zip-code out of 43,000. The level of competition for new retail and restaurant sites has never been more aggressive. As retail expansion and new market growth plans for national retailers and restaurants has slowed since the recessionary economy of the last few years, cities find themselves having to face the reality that their economic development strategy (if they even have a strategy) is flawed. With city budgets tighter than ever and city politics becoming more bazaar and unpredictable, many times city councilors and other elected officials choose to delay or even to put economic development and retail growth strategies completely off the table. This level of competition requires just the opposite response. Cities should be aggressively marketing themselves as potential partners to retailers and developers. If your community strategy is to put it off, to table it, or to discuss it to death, your city is getting further and further behind.
It does not make one bit of difference what your zip code is, there are retailers and restaurants willing to look at you. Call us, we can help.