Economic development is Steve Hallam’s business. So the city’s economic development director was gleaming last week when the Ceres City Council approved an addition to an agreement with The Retail Coach to help Ceres entice more retailers.
Last July, the city hired the retail consulting, market research, and development firm to begin the first phase of a high-impact retail recruitment and development plan for Ceres. City Manager Toby Wells said the firm has done “an outstanding job” in generating a number of key socio-economic demographic reports. The study found the average household income of the profile area is $76,143, with a corresponding population of over 200,000 – information which Wells said strongly supports recruitment and marketing efforts.
The study also revealed that Ceres suffers from a total retail leakage – in other words, shopping dollars from Ceres that were spent elsewhere – of $1.16 billion. While the loss is staggering, the firm suggests that it “means that there is a high level of opportunity for retailers in the community.”
The firm also analyzed the types of businesses Ceres is lacking and identified of a target list of more than 25 retailers and/or restaurants that may be particularly suited and attracted to Ceres. The Retail Coach also developed a retail market flyer.
“Based on new information we have assembled that more accurately identifies the Ceres retail market profile, we believe the city is in an excellent position to move to the next level in successfully attracting new regional and national retailers to our community,” said Hallam.
Last week the council stepped up the city’s economic development efforts by approving the second phase at a cost not to exceed $20,000 to actively recruit retail companies and commercial developers. The two phases of work are costing the city $40,000.
“I believe this level of council support to focus specifically on retail recruitment and marketing is unprecedented in the city’s history,” commented Hallam.
The Retail Coach will create a “Developer Opportunity Package” for each targeted retailer of 25 specific restaurant/retailers that will be the initial focus of marketing efforts. The firm will be actively recruiting retailers, as well as commercial developers, on Ceres’ behalf. Additionally, TRC will be assisting marketing efforts to retailers, developers, and brokers at retail industry conference and trade shows; as well as provide ongoing coaching and support for a six-month period.
“With new development opportunities in the southern gateway to the city, including development pads around the new Super Walmart, along with some vacant commercial building space on Hatch Road, we believe Ceres is poised to achieve significant new retail opportunities over the next two to three years,” said Hallam.
In 2014, the City Council approved an Economic Development Strategic Plan to define appropriate, realistic and implementable strategies to help the Ceres achieve meaningful economic development goals and objectives. Despite that the city could not find the significant amount of General Fund dollars to fund the plan, over the past six years, 97 out of the 123 specific strategies or actions identified in the plan have been implemented by staff.
List of Retailers Identified as "Best Fitting" to be Recruited to Ceres:
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse
Buffalo Wild Wings
California Pizza Kitchen
Einstein Bros Bagels
Pet Supplies Plus
Sprouts Farmers Market
Studio Movie Grill
TJX Companies Brands
Top Golf / Drive Shack