Questions I hear repeatedly…….Why don’t we have a Target or a Trader Joe’s?

In case you ever asked yourself that same question, I am going to help you understand why we don’t have a Target or Whole Foods Presence in our region…….Yet.

Companies are looking to make money, they know their clientele, and they know what metrics to look for when building new locations. Recently I came across a lead email that one of our area realtors turned me on to. I expressed some frustration with always having to answer this question, and lo and behold, the requests of our region for one of these operations came through.

Image result for target trader joe's

Here is the request as it was submitted.

Looking for:

Large facility, 18,000 to 40,000 square feet, with 30,000 being preferred.

Within a 5 Mile Radius of the location the community should have/be:
30% College Educated
70,000 Population
$50,000 Median income

Some additional factors in our decision will include the following attributes:
Large Field for parking (preferably 2.5/4 acres to allow 5 spaces per 1,000 square feet)
Large Presence and High Visibility – easily visible from street with easy access to major roadways of consistent traffic in excess of 50,000 cars per day

Existing space preferred,  with positioning on lighted intersection. Desire a building that is stand alone and not complimentary or part of a subdivided shopping center. Requires dual loading dock area in rear and highly desires a unique locale that has a natural community feel or vibe. Seeking an imbedded location that doesn’t conform to typical strip mall development.

When I read asks like this I see where ultimately we need to be in order to meet corporate requirements and satisfy citizen needs. I can’t tell you about the Vienna/Parkersburg market as in depth as I can about ours in Washington County (That’s a Lindsey Kerr-Piersol/Rickie Yaeger question). I can however give you a read on how we stack up.

  • College education attainment rate in county=18%
  • Population in whole county 64,000 (within five mile radius of major shopping centers closer to 22,000/25,000)
  • Median income in radius (City of Marietta) 35,000 annually (roughly)

From an economic developer perspective, we opt not to waste our time and chase some of these, because we know the metrics don’t fit. We do spend time trying to work on those metrics, encouraging college educational attainment, driving increased population density around high traffic areas, and slowly but surely helping bring new jobs that raise median income levels. It is a slow process, and I wish we had more ability to command the businesses that our citizens want, but sadly the metrics are the drivers.

We are the Port and all of the other economic development organizations in the area are working toward the same goal…..believe me I would love to have the option to grab a lunch from the bar at Whole Foods.