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Archive for July, 2013

Can my city benefit from an ICSC event?, Part 2

Written by
Rickey Hayes
Retail Attractions, LLC

If you have attended the ICSC RECON Conference in Las Vegas, you know how fast paced, crowded, and hectic it can be. One of the most remarkable things to me is that the fastest growing group of ICSC attendees is not brokers, retailers, or real estate people. The fastest growing sector is city governments. I have been attending for many years, not only in Las Vegas but at dozens of regional ICSC events and local “idea exchanges” and social events. I have worked on local ICSC organizing committees and state wide events. Early in my learning curve for retail development education, my developer and tenant representatives told me if I was interested in recruiting retail to a community, ICSC events were mandatory.

If you work for a city or state governmental entity, a local economic development corporation, chamber of commerce, or if you are a landowner who thinks your site has retail potential, I would tell you the same thing. You need to consider attending an ICSC event. However, I would certainly want to clarify and focus your expectations. Ask anybody who has been to Las Vegas for the RECON conference about their first trip and the answer you get will be something to do with “overwhelming”, “didn’t know where to start”, or “don’t know if I accomplished a thing”.

Here is some sagacious advice for you from someone who has learned the system the old fashioned way. I have learned by experience, and by experience I mean that I have made every mistake possible, went down dead-end roads, wasted time and money, and at the end of the day realized the right way to experience the ICSC event. This is a list of must do’s for city administrators, elected officials, and anyone else who might feel the desire to attend:

  • Don’t waste your precious resources on a booth. The people you need to visit have their own booths, and they are not coming to see yours.
  • Don’t waste your precious resources on expensive printed materials and quirky promotions. Retailers and restaurant real estate professionals are not impressed by them.
  • Let an experienced, qualified and respected third party professional brag on your market dynamics. Even if you have a vibrant and vigorous retail market, you need to realize the people you are trying to recruit know your market better than you do.
  • Let an experienced, qualified and respected third party professional set up meetings before you go, and when you go to a meeting be brief, exchange business cards and keep moving. The real work starts when you get home.
  • Don’t take a bunch of people to a meeting. Two is acceptable, one is better.
  • Present your market data, preferably done by a third party professional (like Retail Attractions, LLC) on a flash drive or other electronic format.
  • Discuss any public incentives that are available and have data that is provable and validated.
  • Know your local real estate issues intimately.
  • Know your trade area well and be able to explain regional dynamics.

Retail Attractions would love to help your community improve your retail base, help your city recover the revenue associated with new retail growth, and help improve the overall quality of life that new retail and restaurants bring to your local economy.

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.