Retail as a Catalyst for Economic Development

Illinois Municipal League Review, February 2022

One common thread among all communities is that we want our communities to grow, thrive and prosper. Each community has its own vision for community and economic development goals. No matter how the vision might vary from community to community, enhancing quality of life of citizens is typically a common theme. Offering new retail and restaurant businesses to your citizens can play a big role in enhancing that quality of living. Retail development and business recruitment are critical pieces of the puzzle to achieve this vision in every community.


  • One in four jobs in America are retail related.
  • 50% of consumers prefer to shop in-store.
  • A typical quick service restaurant (QSR) brings 15 jobs to a community.

As a company that works solely with municipalities on community and economic development efforts, this article will outline the importance of the mind shift from traditional economic development to incorporating retail into a city’s strategy.


Beyond improving quality of life, retail development plays a critical component in creating a sense of place. It adds vitality and vibrancy to downtowns and commercial corridors.

No other effort made by the city can truly pay you back through sales and property taxes and fees. Retail real estate is a critical revenue source for local communities generating in excess of $68.8 billion annually in local property taxes and $321.8 billion annually in sales tax.


It is crucial to have an organization or team that can prioritize and implement a retail recruitment strategy that has been developed and prioritized by and for the community. Some of the key steps include: appointing a well-rounded team that can build bridges between the public and private sectors; surveying the community before launching retail recruitment efforts; and, identifying funding sources for your initiatives.

Read the full article here.

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My relationship with the Retail Strategies team has been extremely valuable over the last couple of years as I’ve searched for sites in the Southeast. They have been persistent and provided any information they could gather for available properties that fit my criteria. If they received news that a space was coming available they made sure to immediately give me a call and connect with the owners. I would recommend using this service to any of my colleagues looking in their client cities.

Walter Kelly, Broker

Arc Realty

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Retail Strategies has been a tremendous asset to Cypress. They have access to industry and business intelligence in an immensely competitive retail environment. The relationships they develop with commercial/retail property owners delivers results for the city because Retail Strategies excels at marketing their clients.

Peter Grant, City Manager

Cypress, CA

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