Wanted: A distinctive destination

Despite the current state of the economy, the city is expected to receive a proposal next month that includes “several hundred retail prospects.”

Mark Lohbauer, a principal with Community Insights, the Merchantville-based firm that handled the first phase of the Rahway Survey, believes that ideally, targeted retailers will have had success with multiple locations but not necessarily be regional chains. Rahway “wants to be a distinctive destination,” he said, more along the lines of Mom-and-Pop stores with a higher level of retail savvy, “not hobbyists.”

As part of a report expected in January, Lohbauer said the city will receive a list of “several hundred retail prospects,” which could be matched up with potential space opportunities, and help developers determine what to pursue. Despite some retail that’s expected to go out of business after the holidays, he said his firm still sees listings for businesses looking to expand. With new construction, Lohbauer said it typically can take anywhere from 18 to 24 months between the time a tenant is identified, leases negotiated and space finally occupied, all of which ideally occurs during construction.

Though the survey was conducted about a year ago, before the serious downturn in the economy, the housing market had begun its decline, Lohbauer said, but the consumer demand captured in the results is still relevant.

Previous Rahway Survey posts:
Joint advertising, co-op marketing

Retail recruitment, retention recommendations