Posted on 02 November 2011.
A recent study of the retail climate in north Mecklenburg found our region is losing money to surrounding markets in some retail categories as residents here spend outside Huntersville, Davidson and Cornelius. On Friday, Nov. 4, the Lake Norman Chamber’s monthly Focus Friday issues forum will examine the issue.
FRIDAY FOCUS: RETAIL LEAKAGE
A recent study of the retail climate in north Mecklenburg found our region is losing money to surrounding markets in some retail categories as residents here spend outside Huntersville, Davidson and Cornelius. In other categories, there’s a surplus of retailers, according to the new research. The Lake Norman Chamber’s monthly Focus Friday issues forum this Friday, Nov. 4, will examine the situation with the study’s author, Jim Stella.
The program is Friday from 8-9:30 a.m. at the chamber, 19900 W. Catawba Ave., Cornelius.
Mr. Stella is a retail development specialist with Electricities, a statewide membership organization of power companies. The group conducted the study of what’s called “retail leakage” at no charge to the north Meck towns, working with the Lake Norman Regional Economic Development Corp., the area’s business recruiting agency.
The study found, for example, that the region is well-served by gasoline stations, grocery stores, electronics and appliance stores, home furnishings retailers and “general merchandise” stores. But, our area loses out on consumer spending at auto dealers and auto parts stores, clothing stores, building materials and home and garden suppliers, and even restaurants.
On Friday, Mr. Stella will discuss the study and its implications for our market. He’ll talk about how the data was collected, and how it can be interpreted as recruiters work to attract retailers.
Last month, Lake Norman Regional EDC officials said the retail studies originated in part with requests from Cornelius “stakeholders” concerned about filling vacant retail spaces in town. “Although LNREDC’s primary focus is working with small to large new and existing companies versus retailers, our organization saw a good opportunity to share valuable information our stakeholders expressed a major interest in having,” Mike Griffin, chairman of the EDC, said in a Sept. 22 press release.
Charity Barbee, the EDC’s associate director, said Electricities offered to conduct studies free for all three area towns. “So it made sense to collaborate, to get the data and share it with the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce and three towns we serve so they can decide what to do with the information from here,” she said in the press release.
In addition to providing the studies for the three area towns, ElectriCities also shared a suggested list of retail categories the Town of Cornelius might consider along with sample retailers in each category.
The monthly Focus Friday sessions are free, and are sponsored by DavidsonNews.net and CorneliusNews.net. For more information, contact the Chamber at 704-892-1922.
Sept. 22, 2011, Lake Norman Economic Development Corp. press release announcing the study results. (PDF)
Download copies of the studies for Davidson, Cornelius and Huntersville on the website of the Lake Norman Economic Development Corp., LakeNormanRegion.com
Lake Norman Chamber website, lakenormanchamber.org