I attended the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns (IACT) this week in South Bend, IN. When talking with the communities in Indiana it became very apparent that everyone is interested in getting more retail, but there are only a select few who know how to get it done. The big question on their mind was “Are retailers still growing?” The short answer to that is “yes.” All retailers who are going to be in business 10, 20 or even 30 years from now are going to have to grow at some point. However, the thing that is changing with retailers is that they are becoming more scientific and strategic in their growth plans. Rather than driving around and picking a location to expand in just by traffic counts or population, retailers are wanting even more site information.
So what can communities not only in Indiana, but all across the country do? Be proactive. Gather the factual information you need about your community to show the retailers they would be successful. Be persistent. If a retailer says no to a meeting right now, it doesn’t mean they will say no 6 months or a year from now. Be patient. Recruiting retail takes time. Retailers are doing their own research along with the facts you provide them. The cities in Indiana have the same concerns as communities across the country. My advice to them is don’t sit back and wait for retail to find you. Go find it.