Rodgers began by first addressing local businessman David
Lanterman and congratulating him on the council’s support of a new
theater complex in town. He noted these types of developments in
small communities are outstanding. He concluded by saying that he
knew there were several communities that would love to see a complex
such as Lanterman’s come into their town.
Rodgers then turned back to the council and began discussing his
progress report. He told the group, “The easy work is about done,
and now it is time to start the project.”
Rodgers explained that his firm has completed the steps of tracking
the local consumer and identifying purchasing trends. From this
information, the firm conducted what is called a gap analysis that
will tell them what retail businesses to target in the search to
bring new business to Lincoln.
He introduced the council to the website specific to Lincoln
referring to it as their 'basecamp.' On the website, information is
compiled about the city of Lincoln, the demographics,
psychographics, and other information that would be of interest to a
He explained psychographics is the study the population and its
purchasing trends. He said in his work there are 65 segments in the
psychographic study, and Lincoln has populations that fall within
all the segments. He pointed out just couple of those.
In this community, 23.8 percent of the population falls under the
category of ‘midlife.' He said his firm has gathered information
about where these people shop, what they buy, whether or not they
use cell phones, and more.
Another segment in Lincoln is called the ‘Salt of the Earth.'
Rodgers said 23.5 percent of the population falls in this category.
These are the people who buy insurance, have investments in
annuities, and certificates of deposite.
Rodgers said all the information gathered on the local population
would be included on the basecamp website and accessible through a
pass code. He said Mayor Keith Snyder already has access to the
website and can share access with members of city government as
Rodgers explained that with the information gathered, his firm has
been able to identify the retail gaps in Lincoln, and now have put
together a list of the types of retail businesses the city should
Through a power point presentation, he shared that there is a
$96,892,284 gap in retail sales versus population purchases. He said
these are the dollars that are being spent outside of Lincoln, by
In looking at the purchasing trends, his firm has determined there
is room for 16 more retail businesses in the city, which would help
close this gap, and keep the community shopping local.
Among the businesses needed, Rodgers’ slide indicated there is a
need for one more building materials store, such as Menards or
Lowes. There is room for two more general retail businesses, one
supermarket, three full-service restaurants, three limited-service
restaurants, one pharmacy or drug store, one electronics and
appliance store, one home furnishings business, one family clothing
store, one sporting goods store, and one women’s clothing store.
Rodgers then gave the council an idea of the franchise businesses
his firm works with that could be targeted to come to Lincoln. A
partial list of those retailers includes Menards, Lowes, Tractor
Supply, Big Lots, Tuesday Morning, Chili’s, Longhorn Steakhouse,
Applebee’s, TJ Max and Maurice’s.
Rodgers told the council, though they were probably not aware, he
has had a team in Lincoln investigating available properties. He
identified through his slides a large number of opportunities along
Woodlawn Road from approximately Palmer Avenue (four blocks west of
Union) to the I-55 ramps. He identified the strip of Woodlawn
between Lincoln Parkway and I-55 as the location to develop ‘big
box’ retail. East of the parkway, back toward Union he identified as
a prime location for smaller businesses.
Rodgers said the firm will be discussing downtown, but promoting a
downtown business area requires a different tactic. “It takes a
different way to approach downtown, it takes entrepreneurs to come
in and do projects, Rodgers said. “We have provided information, and
will make sure we address that. These (Woodlawn Road area) are the
larger boxes that probably won’t make sense to come to downtown, but
as we recruit them, we are going to make sure they don’t hurt the
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He went on to say that not every retailer he works with is going to
want to come to Lincoln, and there may be businesses Lincoln doesn’t
want. But with a large number of prospects, the city will increase
its odds of attracting at least some of these.
He said Retail Strategies will also be looking at retailers
who may have considered Lincoln in the past but did not come. He
told the council, “We are experts at what we do and are very,
very good at bringing them back to the table.”
The firm will do the marketing and recruitment and will
represent the city in large venues such as the conferences and
shows held by the International Council of Shopping Centers. He
mentioned specifically there will be a Chicago 'deal making
conference' coming up in the fall. He said it’s called deal
making because that is what it is. Retailers come prepared to
make deals and create projects in communities.
Retail Strategies will be there talking to retailers and
businesses about Lincoln. He said part of the agreement he has
with the city, is that he and his firm will represent Lincoln at
these types of conferences and will promote the city as a new
retail market to interested companies.
Rodgers shared one of the advantages in the city using his firm.
“We represent roughly 100 communities across the country.
Because of that we can leverage our relationships to get
meetings, whereas an individual community may not get that
chance. If you go visit the Applebee’s folks, they will tell you
they probably get three to five requests from cities across the
country every week. Unfortunately most of those letters from
elected officials and city administrators are tossed. They don’t
get a lot of attention. We can leverage because we’re working
with multiples. We can say, "We’re working in 100 communities
Applebee’s’," and that you have opportunities and specific sites
that are a fit (for that chain)."
Rodgers began wrapping up by showing the council a marketing
handout his firm will use as it promotes Lincoln. The handout
highlights the assets of the city and gives information that
will help to draw prospective retailers to the area.
During the discussion, Michelle Bauer asked about the handout,
noting there didn’t appear to be a lot of information about
She explained that the tourism bureau and city are working to
promote Lincoln as a destination, and wondered if that should be
part of the marketing guide handout. Rogers confirmed
information about attractions that bring out-of-towners into
town and into local retail establishments does have value.
Melody Anderson asked about the basecamp, and it was confirmed
the council will have access to the basecamp through the mayor.
Rodgers said another component of the basecamp is a running
report of what Retail Strategies is doing for Lincoln. He said
the council, if they choose, can log on daily and see a report
of who is working for Lincoln, who they have talked to and what
kind of progress is being made.
During the course of his presentation, Rodgers also told the
group that the city will have the final say on everything. He
said Retail Strategies would not be signing contracts on behalf
of Lincoln, and that the city would be able to say “go" or "no
go” on any project.
He also indicated that when it comes to site selection and
property, the local real estate agencies will be involved in
those processes. He said his firm did have real estate experts,
but they will not take opportunities away from local realtors.
Snyder wrapped up this part of the council meeting saying the
primary reason Retail Strategies stood out for the city is
because the firm does the work. Retail Strategies will represent
the city in recruiting new business, whereas other firms do the
research, then leave it to the city to go out and recruit new
[By NILA SMITH]