With a population of 28,000 Slidell has brought in three retailers in three years with the aid of Retail Strategies, and invigorated the retail corridor.
The city of Slidell, Louisiana has a proactive Mayor that understands the city is a target-rich environment for new businesses. The Mayor knew hiring an outside partner would help narrow the focus, bringing the right types of retail businesses and restaurants to the community.
“We’ve had a focus on economic development through my Administration,” said Mayor Greg Cromer. “The city of Slidell is an attractive market and we knew retailers considered our community for potential new locations. By partnering with Retail Strategies, they’ve been a big help in filling in empty commercial spaces and helping with eye sore along our major corridor.”
Turning around a Rundown Corridor
On Gause Boulevard (US Highway 90) in Slidell, an old Schlotzsky’s restaurant, that had previously been two other restaurants, did not last long-term. The restaurant site was located in front of a shopping center that did not allow vehicles to easily access it from the highway. Mayor Cromer and the Retail Strategies team got creative on a solution. The City worked with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development to modify the intersection with better access, utilities and traffic signal improvements.
Retail Strategies stayed in communication with the property owner on the updates and a developer interested in the site. With this location in a key retail area of the city, once progress was being made to improve the site’s access, Retail Strategies contacted a specific restaurant brand about choosing this site for their second location in Louisiana.
Chicken Salad Chick, the nation’s only Southern inspired fast casual chicken salad restaurant concept, was interested in Slidell, but required the site to be ready within a specific time frame. Retail Strategies managed the communication with Chicken Salad Chick and the developer about the ongoing progress and between the City, Chicken Salad Chick and the developer during leasing. The former Schlotzsky’s site opened as Chicken Salad Chick in the summer of 2021 with a crowded grand opening celebration.
“Chicken Salad Chick loves being in Slidell,” said Mayor Cromer.
The Chicken Salad Chick Slidell franchise owner added, “Slidell has such a vibrant food culture and our team is excited to join the ranks and share the brand with the community that has eagerly awaited our arrival.”
Also in Slidell was an old Pizza Hut that never reopened after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “The operator left everything in the Pizza Hut, locked the doors, and never came back. It had honestly become a shelter. It was such an eyesore for so long. Retail Strategies contacted Banfield Pet Hospital and thankfully they opened there.
The Mayor gives credit to Retail Strategies for leveraging retail and real estate connections to make deals happen.
“The Retail Strategies team is progressive and aggressive and will bring businesses to the marketplace that aren’t on your radar. They’ll figure out what they can capitalize on and bring in complimentary businesses to grow your commerce space. They brought in Banfield Pet Hospital that we hadn’t even thought of. Retail Strategies brought Chicken Salad Chick to the table, and we were able to lock it down.”
In the same corridor was an old Shoney’s on prime real estate. Retail Strategies successfully presented the real estate to Aspen Dental. Aspen Dental tore the former Shoney’s down and started fresh with a new building.
“That commercial corridor is so much nicer now, really turned that area around for the city,” explained Mayor Cromer. “It’s invigorated that entire area. Slider’s Smalls is a new concept and picked that area for one of their first stores.”
Return on Investment
When asked how Slidell was introduced to Retail Strategies and its services, the Mayor explained that City Council had learned of the company at conferences.
“The Council brought the idea to me and I created money for the initiative. We have definitely got our money’s worth out of the investment. Retail Strategies has connections that we don’t have and can bring new retail development to a community.”