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Archive for December, 2015

Links Between Retail Growth and Economic Development

Discussions of economic development often ignore or downplay the contributions of retail growth. Usually, when someone is talking about economic development, they’re focused on urban revitalization, creating new jobs, industry and manufacturing. But those aren’t the only factors important to economic development on a city-wide level. Retail growth also plays a key role.

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A Few Economic Development Examples

From 2002 to 2007 Retail Attractions’ founder Rickey Hayes saw the City of Owasso, Oklahoma experience tremendous commercial and residential growth. Census data shows Owasso’s population grew 55% from 2000 to 2010, and in that time, the city’s sales tax base and general fund revenue nearly tripled. During this period, new commercial construction totaled more than 4.2 million square feet and over a quarter of a billion dollars in total value. This growth made it possible for the Owasso Independent School District to build over $100 million in new facilities, and all this was done without a single tax raise.

The connection between growth and increasing retail in a town isn’t just a recent or anomalous development. Carleton Meyers reported in an issue of Economic Development Review from 1995 that Boaz and Foley, Alabama and Stroud, Oklahoma, all saw sales tax revenues jump 200% in the first year after a Tanger outlet mall opened in the town. Retail growth is tied to economic growth.

Planned Retail Growth

What do Owasso and the cities that welcomed new Tanger outlets all have in common? Well-planned retail growth. It’s a simple fact that when national retail comes to a community, the quality of life improves, and more people want to live in that city. If you’re moving to a new location and have to choose between several different communities, wouldn’t you rather move into the city that offers quality goods and services from retailers you already trust?

Retail Attractions guides communities in defining their potential in the retail marketplace and then teaches them how to market themselves to national retailers and restaurants. It’s a slow process, but one that pays off in the end. Our clients that stick with us will see new retail, new revenue, and new growth in their cities, just like Owasso did.

Key Growth Areas

You might think that with the growing trend in online shopping, retail development would be slowing down in cities. This simply isn’t the case. The market for groceries and fresh foods, for example, remains largely unaffected. Many people also still enjoy shopping in a physical location where they can try on clothes and see the products they’re shopping for first-hand. Specialty stores, excellent restaurants, and outlet malls are always in demand, and we’re still seeing national retailers wanting to develop in new locations. With Retail Attractions’ help, your city can be their next investment.

We don’t just focus on big retailers, either. Building new community centers of retail also benefit small businesses. One of our clients is Angela Ritchie, owner of Creative Insurance, and she says of Rickey, “I have watched him work to create an environment that will allow large corporate chains, as well as small businesses to flourish in Owasso, OK.” When you work with Retail Attractions, you’ll not only bring national retailers into your community but also provide opportunities for local small business owners.

Interested in encouraging retail growth and economic development in your city? Contact us today to request more information or schedule a consultation.

How to Create A City Vision

Is your city development stagnating? Does it seem like city government is caught in a cycle of debate that’s overshadowing new growth? Are city officials struggling to work together towards a definite goal? Maybe it’s time to shake things up with a new focus.

Changing from “what we’ve always done” to “what we should do for the good of the city” requires a vision of what could be. Where an inspiring, yet realistic, vision exists people will rally around it and work together to the city’s benefit.

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First Step

First, you’ll want to take stock of what your city already has to offer, and what your city will need to grow. Taking a good, hard look at the reality of what’s going on in your community is essential for developing a vision that can be translated into the real world.

While you don’t want to be more optimistic than warranted, don’t sell your community short either. Every community has retail potential. If there’s someone in your community traveling out of the city for goods or services, then you’re losing revenue. This also means there’s an opportunity for the city to maximize it’s potential and look into providing retail opportunists that are more attractive to both visitors and locals.

Taking Action

When you’re looking at action steps for maximizing your city’s potential, Retail Attractions’ founder Rickey Hayes says that, at minimum, every community needs to:

  • Improve the city’s cosmetic appearance to put your “best foot forward.”
  • Stay up with the times by looking at available technology and implementing what the city can afford.
  • Understand the population living within the city limits and trade area. Know their income levels, occupations, education levels, age distribution, cultural backgrounds, and housing profile.
  • Collect development-related data that is current and relevant, including information on sales tax growth, building permits, traffic counts, etc.
  • Look at the city’s development process and make changes as needed to ensure it is as seamless and efficient as possible.
  • Develop an understanding of basic real estate principles, land values, confidentiality issues and development criteria.
  • Learn how to partner with a retailer or a developer and create an environment that fosters investment.

We Can Help

This list probably seems daunting, but you can take care of most items on here with one simple step: hire Retail Attractions. We have the expertise and experience necessary to help your city create and implement a vision for retail development.

Get reliable data on your city population and other factors influencing retail growth with our Demographic Data and Market Analysis. We provide the information you need to start planing a development project, and we’ll help you interpret the data so you can come up with realistic, innovative plans. Interested developers will also want this information, and they’ll appreciate that you had a trusted third party compile the demographics.

We’ll guide your city through four Strategic Planning steps. With our help, you’ll establish a clear vision statement that will guide your city’s growth, identify critical issues that impact the city’s overall health, determine key stakeholders’ responsibilities in addressing these critical issues, and develop a multi-year strategic plan for the city. To get started, click here and contact us.