The Community Land Use and Economics Group is a small, specialized, consulting firm that helps community leaders create vibrant downtowns and neighborhood commercial centers. Our work focuses on developing forward-looking economic transformation strategies, with particular emphasis on cultivating locally owned businesses, removing regulatory and financial barriers, creating effective incentives to stimulate new investment, reusing older and historic commercial buildings, and outlining practical implementation plans. Our clients include local and state governments, nonprofit organizations, business improvement districts, developers, and planning firms in the US and abroad.
Shopping center developer Westfield has identified five trends that it believes will shape retail in the coming years. And, we agree! The five trends are:
1. Rental retail: Shoppers - particularly Millennials - are interested in renting more things, rather than owning them (for example, renting a high-end handbag for a special event rather than buying one).
2. Retail "classrooms": Shoppers want to learn things from the stores they patronize.
3. Enhanced reality: Shoppers (again, particularly younger ones) like using Augmented Reality to learn more about the products they're considering buying.
4. Good-choice loyalty programs: Shoppers increasingly gravitate towards loyalty programs that not only reward them for repeat purchases but also for good lifestyle choices, like recycling, volunteering for nonprofit organizations, and walking.
5. Sensory retail: Being able to see and touch a product is good, but shoppers prefer shopping environments that engage all their senses - not just sight and touch, but also sound and smell.
Working World is helping a small, organic grocery store in Brooklyn transition to a worker-owned cooperative. Working World finances the buy-in on behalf of current employees, taking a piece of each worker’s share of profits until they’re paid back with interest.
The City of New York has invested $1.2 million to grow the number of worker cooperatives in the city. It's part of an effort to reduce income disparity and create wealth. In the first year, the program reports establishing or converting (from conventional format small businesses) 21 new worker-owned coops. Here's the annual report.
We've been recommending condominium-izing ground-floor retail space for a long time as a way to help locally owned businesses stay where they are when rent escalates. It looks like the idea is catching on.
According to research by MarketLive, an e-commerce technology platform, 78 percent of shoppers say they're likely to visit stores that text them. 48 percent also say that the quality of a retailer's website influences their likelihood of visiting the bricks-and-mortar store.