City of Lake City, FL
City of Lake City has seen Harbor Freight, Aldi, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Panera Bread, Ross Dress for Less, Buffalo Wild Wings, Jersey Mike’s, Five Below, Dunkin Donuts, Chili’s, and Panda Express all open in their community since the partnership with Retail Strategies began.
Cit of Lake City, FL
The the city billed as “The Gateway to Florida” due to its proximity of being the first stop entering or the last stop leaving the state, Lake City appears to be a natural fit for retail brands looking for new locations in Florida. In the mid-2010’s that was not the case for the city.
“When you just look at the population or the city boundaries on paper, it doesn’t really tell the full story of the City of Lake City,” said the former executive director of the Lake City Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, Dennille Decker. “We didn’t have a way to quantify the traffic traveling through the city, or a way to fully explain that we were the shopping hub for Columbia County.”
Knowing city leaders needed the data to back up and quantify the residents of the county and their shopping patterns, the Chamber decided to interview retail recruitment consultants.
“We interviewed a few different groups, and everyone felt like Retail Strategies was the best fit because they weren’t just giving us a data dump of demographics and psychographics.
In 2013, the Retail Strategies’ implementation team began working for the city. Within the first 90-days of the partnership they had conducted research, completed a boots on the ground tour, and created a strategic plan that was delivered to the Chamber. As part of the research initiative and to gain an understanding of the desires from the city, the implementation team visited the city and conducted a handful of small focus groups made up of city stakeholders, influential business leaders and government officials.
“Some of the retailers on our wish list were unrealistic,” said Decker. “It was great to hear from the expert on how the retail site selection criteria and process works and to begin to have a realistic view of what our community could support.”
Retail Strategies was able to quantify the traffic coming through the city and identify a custom pursuit list of retail, restaurant and hospitality brands to target for outreach. The team also did research to customize the city’s story to tell at ICSC RECon.
Lake City has seen Harbor Freight, Aldi, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Panera Bread, Ross Dress for Less, Buffalo Wild Wings, Jersey Mike’s, Five Below, Dunkin Donuts, Chili’s, and Panda Express all open in their community since the partnership with Retail Strategies began.
“Retail Strategies more than paid for themselves with just one retailer that opened up in our city, but the service after the fact is something that I can’t put a price tag on,” said Decker.
An estimated $523,000 in annual sales tax revenue is generated each year from the new businesses that have opened in Lake City through the work with Retail Strategies.
Harbor Freight, Aldi, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Panera Bread, Ross Dress for Less, Buffalo Wild Wings, Jersey Mike’s, Five Below, Dunkin Donuts, Chili’s, and Panda Express
Beyond Retail Recruitment
The mission of the Chamber was to strengthen the business community and give existing businesses a larger client base. Chamber leadership had this mission in mind when they partnered with Retail Strategies.
“Having a partner that we can go to not only for new businesses, but for our existing business that might want to expand has been really beneficial. Retail Strategies has access to data and information about the market, and we’ve been able to provide those resources to the local business community as a benefit to being a Chamber member.”