6 Signs Your Area Is Ripe for Retail

February 28, 2024

Ever wondered what would make a perfect location for your next retail development? With so much innovation today in the design-build industry, it’s an exciting time to be scouting out retail locales. However, going through the complex process of determining a place has sufficient potential can be quite a challenge. That’s because this kind of calculation typically boils down to numerous positive conditions, a well-planned strategy, and an experienced construction team guaranteed to produce a high-quality, attractive structure.

Next time you’re seeking out that ideal location that is ripe for retail, it will help to first figure out what specific combination of elements are most likely to drive traffic to your location.

1. Organic Foot Traffic

Retail has proven surprisingly resilient in recent years, showing there is still ample opportunity for growth and development. The National Retail Federation estimated that “72 percent of U.S. retail sales will still occur in bricks-and-mortar stores in 2024,” contrary to what naysayers had predicted. And since certain environments attract retailers, one of the main predictors of success is the ability to attract organic foot traffic.

There isn’t one formula for this. Every project is going to have its unique conditions, but some of the most important features that developers look for include:

  1. Well-designed streets
  2. Neighborhood safety
  3. Densely developed surroundings
  4. Residential growth
  5. A strong local market

2. Available Labor and Staffing

Assessing whether there is sufficient manpower for a project to move forward is yet another area that can predict the success of a new retail property. The right kind of labor needs to be available locally to fill positions. What are the staffing conditions in your area of choice? If there is a shortage, that doesn’t necessarily mean an idea doesn’t have promise. Newer technology has proven adept at supplementing staffing needs for years. Just be sure staffing considerations figure into your larger plans.

3. A Retail Development Strategy That Forecasts Success

The good news is that retail has proved resilient in the face of recent challenges. However, it’s clear that not all towns and neighborhoods follow the same patterns when it comes to what works and what doesn’t in a given time and place. That’s why there should be an overall strategy to your plan, supported by retail location analytics and other recent data, to boost your odds of a positive outcome.

4. Reliable Transportation System & Residential Space for Workers

Once you know that finding interested workers won’t be a problem, it will help to know the infrastructure exists to support all of the people who will be working at this new commercial property. The presence of nearby residential housing or mixed-use properties where people can live is generally a good sign. If folks will need to commute, a high-functioning and reliable transportation system is yet another plus when it comes to addressing staffing questions.

5. Even Competitors Can Drive Traffic to a Proposed Location

It may take a bit of research, but find out which types of businesses and organizations will produce foot traffic and boost the retailers in question. Don’t be dissuaded by the presence of competitors in the same area. That can be a good thing. Sometimes similar businesses make good neighbors and increase your traffic, too. Still, retail developers should take their time to investigate how surrounding businesses are doing – and then make sure they can build on that existing traffic.

6. A Commercial Contractor with a History of Success Nationally

One of the biggest predictors a project will succeed is having a construction partner that can demonstrate a history of success. At W. A. RANDOLPH, INC., we create all kinds of retail projects, providing each client with a unique space that meets their customers’ needs and reflects their individual brand. With a strong history of retail experience, our past projects have taken on many forms:

  • Mixed Use Facilities
  • Urban Infill Projects
  • Grocery Stores
  • Tenant Build-Out
  • Structured Parking
  • Ground Up Big Box
  • Inline Retail Centers
  • Mall Redevelopment
  • Façade Renovations

Contact W. A. RANDOLPH, INC. online, or call us at 847-856-0123 for more on finding great retail locations.