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Virginia Gateway Region puts pieces of area retail puzzle together

virginia gateway region

A seminar last week taught local officials tips on improving their business-seeking outreach.

by Sean Jones, Progressive Index Staff, November 1, 2019 [link]

Petersburg, Colonial Heights, and Hopewell  – Localities across the Tri-City area are trying to bolster their numbers of retail businesses. Each city or county has its own separate set of challenges and strengths to get those businesses interested.

virginias gateway

The Virginia Gateway Region brought retail-specialist group Retail Strategies to work one-on-one with the localities it serves. A meeting was held last Wednesday night for all of the involved parties at McIlwaine house in Petersburg.

“Everybody would like to have a Chick-fil-A. If you’ve ever been to Chick-fil-A, there’s lines around the place. But how can you get one, it’s very difficult,” Keith Boswell, President and CEO of Virginia Gateway Region, said. “This kind of event helps you to say what you have, what you aspire to.”

Consultants talked to localities across the two-day event about things like demographics and psychographic analysis.

Understanding who that consumer is, what is their buying power, what they’re wanting to spend their money on.”


A huge piece of that equation for bringing retail to a location involves commercial real estate – how to prepare properties for a retailer, the buying and selling process and who to contact.

“Right now commercial real estate is booming,” Thornton said. “Everyone says it’s retracting and retail is dying but it’s really just evolving. It’s finding the right retailer for a piece of real estate.”

Helping communities learn to attract retail, 
teaching how data provides options, 
and real estate drives decisions.

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