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Lockport’s economic revitalization plan ‘ahead of schedule’

Streit

Streit

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Updated: September 11, 2014 6:30AM



Lockport Mayor Steven Streit is hoping to make good on a campaign promise to attract more retailers to the city.

He said one of the reasons he ran in the April 2013 election was because he and others believed that Lockport was not developing economically as it should.

Lockport economic development director Pamela Hirth on Wednesday updated the city council on Lockport’s plans with Mississippi-based retail consultant The Retail Coach. The city hired The Retail Coach shortly after Streit was elected, paying it $40,000 to help the city attract more retailers.

Streit said he had noticed how communities around Lockport were developing its retail areas.

“We have a lot of catching up to do,” he said.

The first phase for The Retail Coach was to create a “retail trade area” report showing the demographics and potential spending power of consumers in and around Lockport.

“They’re excited because they feel they’re ahead of schedule,” Hirth said.

The company has nearly completed its information-gathering phase, Hirth said, and within a couple of weeks — armed with its “retail trade area” analysis — can start to focus on targeting certain retailers for recruitment into Lockport.

“(The analysis) will be helpful for potential retailers looking to come into the community,” Hirth said. “We have (The Retail Coach) until next April, so we feel there’s a lot we can accomplish.”

Along with showing detailed census-like demographic information, the report shows the buying-power potential for each retail sector.

For example, it shows that an estimated $67 million in potential annual sales for home center stores can be made from the Lockport retail trade area, which extends beyond city limits to include those expected to come into Lockport to shop at such stores. And it shows that an estimated $43.3 million in potential sales at clothing stores could be made.

“You would think all the retailers know this stuff, but they don’t,” Streit said.

Streit said the report also considers nuances of the driving habits of people in the Lockport area.

Although a Home Depot store is about seven miles from Lockport, it’s across the Ninth Street bridge, and Streit said many drivers generally would like not to have to travel over the bridge for quick shopping needs because it tends to become congested during rush hour.

“(The report) shifts the trade area to what people actually do,” Streit said.

The report is available online by visiting cityoflockport.net and clicking on the “Business & Development” link.



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