Colliers International Consulting has successfully identified promising retail market opportunities in the retail sector for Hope. This respected third party objectively assessed the current business opportunities in Hope using a combination of local field work and statistical analysis. The study decodes economic terms such as Potential Market Recapture, Primary Trade Area, Demand Analysis, and Market Gaps to clearly describe our business potential.
Satisfied – and excited. This would well describe the AdvantageHOPE board when the final product was unveiled. The importance of Hope’s strategic location, the additional retail businesses that can thrive in our area, and the potential to claw back dollars currently leaving our community are all well-articulated in a way that can be presented to local, regional, or international entrepreneurs.
From the beginning, James Smerdon and David Bell from Colliers International Consulting were made aware of the need not just for another study, but a document that drew from recent research and that could be actively used by the entire community. We wanted a marketing tool that local real estate offices, local business people, societies such as the Chamber of Commerce, local and regional governments, media, and simply interested citizens could all use to entice their clients, partners, and friends to Hope.
Smerdon’s and Bell’s research strategy embraced this requirement, and rather than starting with a Google search, data review, or traffic count document, Smerdon and Bell started with a trip.
Driving them around town I was able to watch them take pictures, make comments and notes, and keenly observe everything from store fronts to traffic patterns and customer attitudes. More like investigative journalism than economic research, their commitment to uncovering patterns and opportunities was invigorating – and a lot more fun.
The follow up was equally impressive. After their trip, Smerdon and Bell dove into recent land analyses and demand forecasts (2008), the economic development strategy (2009), the Official Community Plan (2004), and the research that compiles Hope’s economic profile (2011). Then personal phone calls to specific local businesses rounded out the raw data to again bring faces and down-to-earth experience into the final product.
Our community has already benefited from this exercise. Armed with this objective analysis, AdvantageHOPE was able to strategically market opportunities in Hope to prospective developers, retailers, and franchisees at the International Council of Shopping Centres conference in Whistler in January. Rather than saying “if you don’t believe me, just ask me,” we could instead point to the conference co-chair, James Smerdon, and say, “if you don’t believe me, ask him – he’s seen the opportunity in Hope and here’s the data to back it up.”
All research documents are not created equally – some are far more useful than others. Our community has already received excellent value from this exercise and is poised to continue to see value over the next few years.
This is one study that won’t have time to get dusty on the shelf. Check out AdvantageHOPE.ca to download a copy for yourself. You can find it in the “Blog,” under “Retail” or on the “Publications” page under “Business Resources.”
Tyler Mattheis is executive director of AdvantageHOPE. He can be reached at 604-860-0930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.