Retail study shares ideas, information with community

Jessica  Rodrigo By Jessica Rodrigo

March 19, 2014 at 6:04 p.m.
Updated March 18, 2014 at 10:19 p.m.

Crossroads residents are big spenders - but they're not spending their money here.

More than $1.5 billion is projected to be spent in the area in a span of 12 months, according to The Retail Coach, but the potential is more than $2.6 billion.

"There's a lot of opportunity," said Aaron Farmer, vice president of The Retail Coach.

Research collected by the group was presented to the City Council on Tuesday and to the community Wednesday. It showed the largest gaps in the retail market are in the larger categories of food and beverage stores, food service and drinking places and general merchandise stores. Under each category, depending on how a business is classified, there are small subcategories, he explained.

As a part of the study, Farmer's job is to help current businesses focus on marketing to the right demographics and recruiting businesses to enter the Victoria retail market.

"It doesn't happen overnight," he said. "We don't just hand you the research. We'll stay with you and work with you."

The study is incomplete, Farmer said, noting that it is three-quarters of the way done. He anticipates adding more information to the presentation, which is available on the city of Victoria's websire, during the next few months.

Robert Schmidt, 68, of Victoria, said he believes the city and area businesses would benefit from the information collected by the group.

"You have to do your homework bringing in businesses," he said.

Schmidt, who moved to Victoria from Phoenix after he retired, said Victoria is a great city to live in but needs more variety.

Schmidt frequents many of the chain and area restaurants including Olive Garden, Texas Roadhouse and Ramsey's but said P.F. Chang's, China Bistro or Pappasito's Cantina would be great additions to dining options.

According to the study, more than $100 million is spent outside the region in full-service restaurants.

He said spreading out those restaurants probably wouldn't hurt either.

"Everything is on one street - Navarro," he said. "What's wrong with Main Street?"

Schmidt said the idea of bringing in a few more grocery stores would be great, too. When his is out of town, he takes the opportunity to shop at Whole Foods to pick up items the area grocers don't offer.

Farmer said during the presentation that he's had conversations with different restaurants and retail businesses that are interested in moving into the area.

"I'm excited that we may get a new grocery store or new chain restaurants," Schmidt said.

Randy Vivian, Victoria Chamber of Commerce president/CEO, said he hopes area businesses will take advantage of the information presented by Farmer.

He saw the information for the first time during the chamber luncheon and said it wasn't a surprise.

"We know there's been a lot of growth in the area," Vivian said. "The retail has just taken longer to catch up."

If business owners can use the information to refocus their marketing to the right demographics, he said it can help the retail market close the gaps revealed by the study.

"It was very accurate, and there is a great deal of research done by the group," he said.



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