What’s the future for retail in Martinsville?
MARTINSVILLE – The Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce is making progress on recruiting new stores and restaurants to the area. Those projects can’t be shared, however, according to one chamber official, because negotiations are ongoing.
“I can assure you there are projects that are in the works, but I can’t give you a timeframe, because it’s unpredictable,” said Lisa Fultz, president of the chamber and executive director of the Chamber’s Partnership for Economic Growth (C-PEG). “I can’t talk about specific projects that haven’t been announced. There are multiple activities in progress.”
Last year, the group hired Retail Strategies of Birmingham, Alabama to help recruit companies, signing a three-year deal with the firm.
During the first year of the contract, Retail Strategies provided direct contact with more than 65 retailers, restaurants or developers that would be potential fits for Martinsville-Henry County, Fultz said. That number is double the minimum 30 contacts Retail Strategies is required to provide each year under the contract, she added.
“If you pick up and talk to major commercial realtors, sometimes it’s difficult to get the right person to take your call or call back. Their [Retail Strategies’] strength is their relationship with retailers, brokers and developers,” Fultz said.
“Their strength is their relationship with retailers, brokers and developers.”
Also, marketing materials have been developed as part of the retail recruitment initiative.
“I don’t think our community has ever tried this approach,” Fultz said. “I personally think, and the partners think, this is the right mix to get us moving in the right direction. Once we start gaining traction, it will be easier to recruit.”
Recruiting more retailers to the community will increase tax revenues for local government, help pay for services provided by governments, create jobs and provide more variety in shopping and restaurants, Fultz said.
She added: “There’s an army of people working diligently every day to bring good things to our community, and please be patient with all of us. It’s going to take time. It’s a long-term initiative.”
Since beginning the relationship with Martinsville, VA we are thrilled at the reception our inquiries have received. We are proud to be working with a forward looking community who is actively investing in a long-term growth plan. Often, from initial contact to doors opening, a retail deal can take up to 36 months, and we are grateful the city recognizes the complexities of the process.