Median HH Income
Knowing opportunity was present, West Monroe brought in Retail Strategies to assure they got the “right retail” to grow their community and make the best use of their real estate.
We knew we had a lot of opportunity, but I knew we didn’t have the expertise to be effective in recruiting retail.”mayor staci mitchell
West Monroe, Louisiana, located off Interstate 20 in the northeast part of the state, has been a destination for shoppers for a number of years. But when Mayor Staci Mitchell took office in July of 2018, she wanted to elevate and expand the retail options for consumers.
“Over half of our budget comes from sales tax, so in order to build infrastructure and support public safety, attracting new retail is critical for our financial stability,” said Mayor Mitchell.
The city, which has a population of 13,000 residents, pulls from the western half of the Parish which is comprised of 60,000 consumers.
“We knew we had a lot of opportunity, but I knew we didn’t have the expertise to be effective in recruiting retail. Our job is to create a livable community that people want to live in. We needed an expert to assess the market. We didn’t want just any retail but the right retail that would bring in new dollars and protect our existing businesses,” said Mayor Mitchell.
The Mayor decided to hire Retail Strategies with the mission of attracting retail.
Retail Strategies was highly recommended by other Louisiana communities. Based on the work they had done, we knew they would be a good fit for us.”mayor staci mitchell
The Retail Strategies team started by evaluating a 55-acre property, Pointe West, that the city has owned for several years. There had been talk in the city for the last decade that the property would be prime for retail development.
“That was really the first goal for Mayor Mitchell, she wanted to understand the viability of this land. In the first year of our partnership, the Retail Strategies team was able to validate that retail development was the best use for this land, so we could move forward with planning for retail,” said Courtney Hornsby, chief of staff for the Mayor’s office.
After hiring Retail Strategies, the team quickly became the economic development arm for the city of West Monroe.
“We give them any tools they need, so they can tell the story of West Monroe. We are part of the calls and weigh in on discussions, but ultimately we trust our team at Retail Strategies to put the best foot forward and represent West Monroe,” continued Hornsby.
In just one year, city leaders have seen an increased level of interest, awareness and engagement from potential developers.
“Retail Strategies is so diligent about accessing all of our properties – they know about properties before we do. There is an intimate knowledge of our real estate assets and the market, so far it has been worth the money in the first year,” finished Hornsby.
There is continuous, open dialogue with the Mayor’s office and the team in Birmingham. When a business closes in West Monroe there is a real-time update to the Strategies team so that there are always boots on the ground.
Beyond Retail Recruitment
There has been interest from big box stores relocating to West Monroe, so beyond just retail attraction, Retail Strategies has helped the city understand what kind of incentive packages make the most sense for the city. There is guidance for city leaders in what part the city should play in incentives and best practices.
“We have learned that retail isn’t dead, and that brick and mortar is still completely viable. We knew there was a lot of relationship-building in the first year, and we are excited to see where that takes us in the future,” finished Mayor Mitchell.