Oak Park, Illinois Finds the Right Retail Recruitment Partner


Learn how this Chicago suburb uses Buxton’s retail matching and SCOUT application to attract development.

When selecting a vendor to support retail recruitment initiatives, you have many choices. Viktor Schrader, economic development manager of the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation, explains why the Village of Oak Park, Illinois, decided to partner with Buxton and how Buxton’s SCOUT application provides on-demand information to support retail development efforts.

Hi, my name is Viktor Schrader, and I am the economic development manager for the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation in Oak Park, Illinois.

Oak Park is an urban suburb of the city of Chicago. We are directly west of the city, the first suburb west of the city of Chicago. Four and a half square miles, small community, about 52,000 people. We have a historic downtown and a number of other commercial districts in the community. We are known for our collection of Frank Llyod Wright buildings and the birth place of Ernest Hemingway.

Oak Park now is in growth mode, so we are adding a lot of new residential units, we are adding a lot of new retail and commercial. So, Oak Park has a nice collection of local and national retailers.

We engaged Buxton to help us identify retailers that weren’t in our market already and that were looking at the market. We heard about Buxton a retail show, and being in the business of business recruitment, we were looking for a partner that could help us identify potential tenants for our community. They offered a nice suite of services that fit well with what we were working on, so we started a conversation with them about how they could help Oak Park.

We looked at some other vendors, but decided that Buxton was the best fit for us based on their suite of services, including SCOUT and retail matches. We engaged them right off the bat. Buxton’s suite of tools is really unique, so there are other retail recruitment organizations out there that will to identify a list of tenants, but from our standpoint, we like to have the opportunity to do some research on our own to have tools at our disposal when we need them and be able to jump into SCOUT and run the reports we need be creative with how we crunch the numbers.That flexibility is really valuable.

Buxton’s openness and willingness to develop new products for us, to learn about our market and our interest in recruiting small and independent retailers has been really valuable as well. We have had to get really creative and Buxton has had to, I think, think a little bit more about the urban environment, the tenants that fit the urban environment. And with the changing retail landscape, tenants are changing their site selection criteria all the time, and so they have been very responsive in both sending us new data and information that they come up with, but also just watching trends and identifying retailers that might be looking at a market like ours. They really take the time to learn about your community, learn about your market and then build the long-term relationships so that you can be successful over time.

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Journey Consideration Persona Economic Development/Elected Official