Because TVA considers retail development a great recruitment/expansion opportunity for communities, the organization recently hosted seven retail development events across the Valley. More than 250 community representatives attended the regional events to get insights about how to capitalize on retail market potential from expert area retail leaders.
After these sessions, here’s what participants said they would do, do differently, or stop:
Be proactive: Don’t wait until retailers find you; find them. Look for ideas in other like-size communities, and study which retailers follow other retailers. If a vacant property is becoming an eyesore, find a way to light up, liven up and use the space.
Work as one: Get rid of “community kingdoms.” Community organizations and local government must work together. When appropriate, your mayor could give prospects a courtesy call.
Be business friendly: Build a streamlined planning, zoning, parking and permitting process to save companies time and money. Educate property owners about setting land values and rent rates that reflect the region’s market value. Give prospects a single point of contact; show them your community is pleasant and easy to work with.
Know your community: Have details about traffic, households and average incomes in maps, talking points and photos. Share key messages with staff, board members and elected officials so they can be ambassadors.
Leverage success stories: Work with existing retailers to gather positive testimonials; share them with potential developers, site consultants and others.
Learn and network: To stay on top of this ever-changing industry, sign up for TVA’s Melissa Halsell’s LinkedIn retail group. Meet everyone you can – you never know where a lead is waiting.
DO DIFFERENTLY: (more…)