Montgomery County development officials are pleased with a recent visit from a retail consultant touring vacant buildings in Red Oak.
That’s according to Montgomery County Development Corporation Executive Director Steve Adams, who tells KMA News Retail Strategies, a consulting firm working with MCDC, toured 14 vacant buildings in Red Oak last week. Adams says the consulting firm currently has a trio of companies expressing interest in Red Oak or a similar market.
“So far, they are telling us they have very distinct leads that may be interested in looking at our market,” said Adams. “You know a small county seat or small rural community market–kind of a different demographic than what you’d find in an urban or suburban area.”
The tours included nine vacant buildings and vacant lot downtown, four buildings on “the plaza” in Red Oak, and the 40,000 square foot building on the northwest corner of town, which previously housed a K-Mart. Adams adds two retailers have expressed interest and could split the old K-Mart building.
He adds the tour of vacant lots comes as trends shift towards retailers hoping to avoid building construction costs.
“Retailers now do not want to build new because of the cost of construction, number one, and inability to find contractors and construction, number two,” said Adams. “And then of course as we all here day in and day out these days–supply chain issues. So, existing structures are really what current retailers are looking for.”
Additionally, Adams says rumblings have been going on for a couple of years now of bigger box stores looking to reduce their building footprint and find their way into more rural areas.
“Like Kohl’s, Ross, and Big Lots and some of those stores, T.J. Max, they’re seeing what Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, and Dollar General have been able to in the smaller market communities,” said Adams. “The retailer that built the most stores last year was Dollar General and I know that won’t come as a surprise to a lot of people.”
However, he adds that it will still take some time before anything is finalized, but he has heard good things from surrounding communities about the work of Retail Strategies.
“Sometimes it’s a long process from the first time you have a visit with somebody it can stretch out almost three years before something comes to fruition,” said Adams. “I am happy to report however that they are also working in places in and around the area, and we’ve checked in with Maryville, Missouri–whose in a contract with them right now–they’re quite pleased with the efforts they’ve gotten out of them.”
The Montgomery County Development Corporation is entering year two of its contract with the Birmingham, Alabama-based consulting firm.