Study indicates 100-plus businesses would fit local business community
Bring more retail outlets into the Grand Valley.
That is the mission of a recently released report by the Buxton Co. of Texas, commissioned by the city of Grand Junction, Mesa County, the Downtown Development Authority and the Grand Junction Economic Partnership.
The report is intended to be used as a tool by the city and the county to entice retailers into the area, or assist established businesses in finding secondary locations.
“These bigger retailers, they won’t even listen to you unless you have a professional study done,” Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland said.
Buxton supplied a list of more than 100 national retailers and restaurants that fit the demographics of its report. That has been pared down by those who commissioned the study to 19 companies — 19 potential targets for recruitment to build a store in northwest Colorado.
Neither the county nor the city is willing to say who the 19 are until city and county economic development staff have had a chance to contact the companies.
“We spent taxpayer dollars for a purpose, and it would be a waste of taxpayer dollars to do this study to help Grand Junction and Clifton and then have someone take it and develop the area along 24 Road,” Rowland said. “We can’t go off half cocked. We need to make sure we have our ducks in
a row before these retailers are approached.”
She said nearly half of the businesses on the list are restaurants. And, as indicated by the report, there is a demand for more eating and drinking establishments in the Grand Valley.
“I don’t think it is any surprise that we need more restaurants on the east end of the valley,” Rowland said.
The remaining stores are a variety of retailers, mostly clothing stores, she said.
On Oct. 24, a roundtable discussion with real estate and others businesses dealing with commercial development will be held about the report and to devise strategy to recruit some of the retailers and restaurants to the valley, she said.
“The primary goal is really to work together to get retail growth within infill and redevelopment boundaries,” said Debbie Kovalik, director of economic, convention and visitor services for the city of Grand Junction.
But with the nation’s economy on the ropes, she realizes convincing any business to expand these days will be a tough sell.
“In recent months the retail industry has really pulled back,” Kovalik said. “We are looking at this really as a long-term investment.”