vanessa-newVanessa Remmers covers Stafford County government and schools for and The Free Lance-Star.

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Stafford studies retail

Stafford County is focusing on developing and maintaining a “vital and sustainable retail base.” Supervisors last fall said that the Economic Development program was a top priority in the county.

Recently, the Riddle Company was hired to do a market assessment and develop a strategy, the first step of a long-term retail attraction initiative, according to the draft report presented to the Community & Economic Development Committee last week.

There is much good news in the county that would encourage more diverse and high end retail. Here are some of the numbers:

  • Average household income: $96,975
  • Residential growth rate (2000-10): 39.5 percent
  • Median age of residents: 34.6
  • Percent of family households: 79.8 percent
  • Households with kids under 18: 46.2 percent
  • Average family size: 3.34
  • Homeownership: 79.4 percent
  • Households with income over $100,000: 42 percent
  • Population in the workforce: 93.2 percent
  • Residents in white collar jobs: 67.1 percent
  • Residents with at least a BA: 35.4 percent

However, there are several market constraints that may deter retail from coming to the county:

  • Lack of density
  • Limited road network
  • Available product
  • Market awareness

The Riddle Company gave its top three recommendations on how the county can improve its profile in the retail industry:

  • Join ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers), and attend local meetings
  • Be proactive about retail marketing and recruitment: develop a retail mailing list, contact target retailers
  • Focus on identifying sites and opportunities for assemblage to create parcels suitably sized for retail development

Check back soon for a more in-depth story about these findings, here and in the paper.