A plan to recruit businesses to your retail district

Managing a town center/main street of local, independent businesses can sometimes be comparable to herding cats, so cities are grateful that organizations like the National Main Street Center provide experience in helping them prosper. Their plan for recruiting new businesses follows a four-part plan, presented here with a cooltown edge:

Assess: What have you got?
– Take a two-hour tour of the retail district as if you’re seeing it for the first time and identify the good, the bad and the ugly;
– Create an online inventory of the buildings and businesses and display graphically what you have; complete a market analysis to find out what’s supportable;
– Identify the trade area (where your customers are coming from) upon which to establish a beta community to really assess what the creatives want.

Agree Who should work together?
– Utilize beta communities to bring together the most progressive, creative, entrepreneurial – they are the 10% influentials that the other 90% listen to;
– Interview and survey stakeholders (key business and property owners, city officials, developers) to document what they prioritize;
– Work with property owners to agree on leases that help define the desired, unified vision for the retail district.

– Establish a Strategic Merchandising Plan (SMP) – the intentional selection of goods and services that are place in the most suitable locations available;
– Communicate whether current occupants fit the vision or not, and what both current and future vacancies could be filled with;

– Prospect successful entrepreneurs that are interested in establishing new venues (ie VIBEs).
– Provide marketing programs for common themes (ie entertainment, furniture)
– Allow beta communities to crowdsource and crowdfund those new or repositioned businesses.

Read the August issue of Main Street News for many more details.

Image source: dezso.

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