Economic development can mean different things to different people, but more and more it seems to be associated with bringing new retail into town. Part of that reflects the fact that the days of mass production manufacturing seem to be numbered, but it’s also a reflection of our consumer orientation that has seen retail grow in its importance to both the local economy and to resident’s perception of quality of life. Retail matters more than ever before, so what are cities doing to attract retail? Here’s the results of a survey of 4,000 communities that tries to answer that question.
My Survey “walk away” lessons:
1. Competition is fierce, so if you want to play that game, you have to be ready to get aggressive.
2. Web sites matter — because the web site is often the first thing retailers will see about us (which is why we’re expanding kent360.com this summer).
3. Incentives are necessary to close the deal — different incentives are used to fit each situation, but with margins as slim as most retail has become, incentives can make or break a deal.
4. Land, Land, Land — 1 out 2 communities use land assemblage to give retail a chance to succeed.