How to develop an indie retail center without going upscale?

So how does one develop a new independent-business retail center as an economic success without going upscale? In continuation of yesterday’s entry, here’s Kennedy Smith:

“To make it work in everyday neighborhoods, or even in ‘slightly more affluent than everyday’ neighborhoods, the costs of that sort of intensive support system for independent businesses must be shared by the public sector (small business development centers, economic development agencies, etc.) and other private sector (chambers of commerce, main street programs, banks, etc.) entities; it’s too much to make sense for a developer’s bottom line.

It takes coordination and planning to get all these players in the community on board, but the benefits for the community are enormous in that the community as a whole learns how to cultivate and support independent businesses, a skill set that will be around for generations – versus having that skill set reside with a developer (or, actually, with a developer’s consultant), who could take it away or stop supporting it when the project is sold, fully amortized, reformatted, redeveloped, etc.

I think a developer who made this community-based business development pitch to community leaders would be embraced as a hero.”

Kennedy and CoolTown Studios are looking to do just that, starting with a town center in Maryland. The program makes sense considering that having local, independent businesses instead of chains benefit the local community more than the developer.

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