Our fragile economic recovery shows ability for growth in a variety of consumer areas that could serve the Hilltop well. While consumer confidence is finally on the rise, spending patterns may have changed forever. In recognizing this, retailers are adjusting their inventories and commercial real estate is adjusting its tenants. These adjustments include many areas that suit the Hilltop’s ability to bring in new life. Our supply of suitable small business locations along a major traffic corridor supports this opportunity for growth.
Is the Hilltop market Stable or Stagnant? Likely stable. In the Greater Hilltop Area we saw only 4 retail business losses in 08-09. One of these vacancies has been replaced by a nonprofit agency providing social services for the area. The retail market in the Westland area is likely stagnant. However change may be on the horizon. With the recent news of a major development at the Delphi site, area real estate listing agents are reporting an increase in activity.
The Delphi site revitalization offers the Greater Hilltop Area (GHA) potential for growth due to the increase in consumer traffic. Should the Delphi redevelopment include “family fun”, or any draw to a creative use of the extra 90 acres, it is surely helpful to peripheral businesses. Westland Mall plans per Plaza Properties could materialize.
What’s Hot and What is Not: These consumer trends fit the Hilltop well. Our economically minded shoppers engage in home grown produce and dine at modestly priced restaurants or tasty food trucks. Bargain shopping is king. Pets though, are still a welcome sign in the Hilltop as we see many residents walking their dogs.
Start Ups!! The GHA Potential for Retail Resurgence. The highest rate of new business startups are opened by individuals between ages 55- to 64 because those over age 45 find it twice as hard to find a job. This is an entrepreneurial talent market that could come our way. A whopping 80% of the job growth in the USA today comes from small business growth. City of Columbus, area banks and credit unions are offering attractive small business loans. This entrepreneurial talent is an area where the GHA should surely market itself. What’s holding us back?
What’s holding us back indeed- the key issues for small retailers. Parking Parking Parking and rising debit card fees. Marketing commercial areas along our stretch of a high volume traffic major highway, yet lacking sufficient parking in some areas to support small business needs, is going to be a key issue in the GHA.
A comprehensive Greater Hilltop Marketing Study in conjunction with current retail trends paves the way for successful economic development in the Hilltop. Community activity is strong and supportive. With our unique fabric of diversity, a diversity of opportunities abound. Reasonably priced buildings ready for small business growth, range from the very small to warehouse in size. Neighborhood housing is quality in structure ranging from ready to move in, to a renovator’s dream home. DOWNLOAD Hilltop Market Study »
The Greater Hilltop Area opens its arms with welcome to these new ventures.
Nancy Rhynard, Economic Development Chair
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DOWNLOAD Top 10 Retail Trends and Issues to Watch for in 2010 »
Prepared By: Chris Boring, Boulevard Strategies, Columbus, Ohio