How community leaders attract your favorite brands to town
Brian Gerau said he is keenly aware of the stores people would like to see located in the city of Jackson and the rest of Cape Girardeau County. The process of getting these stores, however, is much more complicated.
“We talk about businesses like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Home Depot or whatever it may be that we don’t have here,” said Gerau, executive director of Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce since 2008.
“The biggest challenge is when people say, ‘Hey, you need to get this in here.’ Folks need to ask first whether the desired business is a franchise or corporate-owned. If it’s a franchise, you need an investor or investors, plural. If you want to look at a fast-food franchise, for example, the [prospective] franchise owner has to be $1 million liquid. Sometimes people just want us to snap our fingers and get a Red Robin [restaurant] or whatever,” Gerau said.
James Stapleton, chairman of SE MO Redi (Southeast Missouri Regional Economic Development) and co-founder of Cape Girardeau’s Codefi, agreed such undertakings are “expensive” and “higher risk than they’ve been in the past,” adding his thoughts about today’s ability to do virtual shopping.
“For a long time, I feel like you could kind of measure and predict what retail was going to do. A lot of it was data driven. You asked questions such as ‘Are there enough people?’ ‘Is there enough spending?’ ‘Is there enough nearness to other brands to make sense?’ But with the online component becoming such a big part of people’s options now, there’s been a lot of disruption lately in the retail sector. Retail, I think, is much more of a high-risk proposition [now]. Add to that the expense and the uncertainty about how the latest set of trends all shakes out in retail,” Stapleton said.
In a July 6, 2020, Harvard Business Review article, “Rewriting the Rules of Retail,” writer Denise Lee Yohn said thanks to the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, the retail landscape has changed.
Note the following HBR excerpt.
“Retailers need to stop expecting business to return to ‘normal.’ There’s no going back to how it was anytime soon. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, brick-and-mortar retailers had been fighting a fierce battle against Amazon and other e-commerce players. Those challenges have now accelerated at staggering speed,” Yohn wrote.
“The latest data from McKinsey shows consumers are likely to keep the behaviors they’ve adopted amid stay-at-home orders, such as more online shopping and fewer mall visits. Retailers can’t afford to be in a wait-and-see mode. First, they need to reimagine their baseline requirements and then turn their attention to taking their customer experience to the next level.”
This Facebook poll conducted in January 2023 by B Magazine yielded the following unscientific results from about 460 respondents who identified more than 40 specific retailers they would like to see in Cape Girardeau and the rest of the county.
The top 10
1. 30.8%: Trader Joe’s
2. 10.2%: Ulta Beauty
3. 10%: HomeGoods
4. 3.7%: Dillard’s
5. 3.3%: Michaels
6. 3%: Marshalls
7. 2.8%: Ross Dress for Less
8. 2.6%: Kroger
9. 2.4%: JOANN Fabrics
10. (tie) 2.1% Nordstrom
Others in descending order of mentions (25% total): Whole Foods; HyVee; World Market; Bed Bath & Beyond; Crumbl Cookies; Big Lots; Bass Pro Shops; Publix; Fresh Thyme; Chipotle; Meijer; DSW; Whataburger; Buc-ees; H&M; Ikea; Torrid; Home Depot; Loft; Dick’s Sporting Goods; Nordstrom Rack; Incredible Pizza; Melting Pot; FooSackly’s; QuikTrip; In-N-Out Burger; Portillo’s; Express; Container Store; Total Wine; Dewey’s Pizza; Coldstone Creamery; Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers; Sprouts; Crate & Barrel.
COMPETING FOR BRANDS
Tom Kelsey, of Cape Girardeau’s Lorimont Commercial Real Estate, said people must remember most of the national companies they would like to see have outsourced their real estate services.
“In the old days, [brands] had their own in-house people. Some still do, but a lot of the work has been farmed out,” Kelsey said.
“What [brands] do is put the word out that, for example, they’re interested in this market or that market. The broker, then, reaches out usually to a [local] broker and gets as much information as possible to feed back to the interested company. In the old days, frankly, we did a lot of cold calling. We’d say to that company, or that brand, ‘We think we need you in our community.’ A lot of that activity led to dead ends,” Kelsey said. “It’s not that we still don’t reach out to companies to a certain extent. … If we see somebody came to Sikeston or to Poplar Bluff, that would be a trigger for us to say, ‘Hey, if you’re going to Bluff or to Sikeston or somewhere else, you need to be in the Cape market too.’ We find out the brokerage representing that brand and try to network to see if we can’t show them the advantages of being here.”
“A lot of times, we’ll hear, ‘We’re sorry, we did that deal down there [in Sikeston or Poplar Bluff] but Cape’s not on our radar right now.’ For instance, Home Depot has looked at this market several times. Over a period of years, it’s been a different broker for them,” Kelsey said.
Kelsey said brokers may reach out looking for specific acreage and send what their parameters are to see if anything is available. He said what brokers working for specific brands usually need are site plans, a marketing brochure and economic data for the Cape Girardeau area, which Kelsey said they “are very proud of.”
Kelsey said when brands used to have in-house marketing and brokerage folks, he would try to pinpoint specific brands and companies to come to Cape.
“I remember one guy said, ‘We got your beautiful presentation, but when I come back off the road, I’ll have a stack of these waiting for me. A lot of times I’ll just pick them up and throw them in the can because I’m only working on what my client tells me to do at that moment,’” Kelsey said.
Adrienne Henry, manager of real estate leasing and development for Drury Southwest, said her process is pretty straightforward for trying to attract a national brand to Southeast Missouri.
“It’s a long process, typically, and usually starts with cold calls. We identify companies we want to work with in the market, as well as properties or land we have that we feel would be a good fit to attract them. We start calling constantly trying to make a connection,” Henry said.
Henry said Drury Southwest will also attend a lot of real estate conferences, such as the annual International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) event in Las Vegas, which is a larger real estate network.
“We go and tell attendees why they should come to Cape and what Drury Southwest can do for them in terms of property management and construction capability. We also try to educate them on Cape as a market,” Henry said.
The professionals interviewed for this piece all note how important certain data points are to national brands.
“A lot of companies look at population before they’re interested in learning about the community. On the face of it, our population may be under whatever target number they want before going into a market. However, if you go beyond the static Census figures for a city or a county, you’ll see our population swells to 100,000, plus or minus, because of the people who come here on a daily basis to work, to shop or to go to the university. They come here for medical, for retail, for lots of different reasons. We stress we’re a regional hub and the traffic counts support that thesis. It’s not simply the residential population figures that matter,” Henry said.
Rob Gilligan, president & CEO of Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce since April 2022, suggested it’s important to interpret the data accurately.
“We’ve got 40,000 people living in the city of Cape Girardeau. Add to that figure the fast-growing Jackson community. We’ve got anywhere from 80,000 to 100,000 in our metropolitan statistical area (MSA). When you’re putting together an effort to recruit, we need to work with our messaging,” Gilligan said.
The Cape Girardeau MSA is comprised of Cape Girardeau and Bollinger counties in Missouri and Alexander County in Illinois with a July 1, 2021, total population estimate of 97,699, according to the most recently available data.
“Your no. 1 anchor is Walmart and everybody wants to be right beside that brand because they’re the top driver of traffic. Places like Menards, Lowe’s, Target, Best Buy — all of which we already have in our community — can also help us recruit secondary and tertiary retailers. We should be looking to identify and fill gaps we see in our area,” Gilligan added.
Kelsey said there are growth areas today in retail, with the biggest two successes being specialty stores and discounters.
“The greatest discounter in the world is Costco. We’d love to have that store here. I don’t know if Costco would come into our market because of our size [and] because we’ve already got a Sam’s Club. If Costco would consider us, the old Sears building on Siemers Drive in Cape would be a perfect fit because of its immense size and its location. The challenge is to convince a retailer that we are truly regional here in Cape. If you’re only looking at the population of Cape Girardeau, you’re missing a huge part of the picture. Just stand out on William Street, on Route K, some morning, and [you’ll] see the inflow of cars coming from outside our region. That’s what it was like for us, years ago, when Red Lobster was recruited. That restaurant doesn’t have to depend, therefore, just on the population base of the city of Cape. The message is we are a true regional hub, the largest city between St. Louis and Memphis.”
Henry agrees with her commercial real estate colleague on Cape Girardeau serving as a hub for Southeast Missouri.
“Educating people on the regional hub status is vital because a lot of companies look purely at population. You need a population of 75,000 before some retailers are interested in coming here. Our daily population, Monday through Friday, is nearly 100,000. Getting this information out is the biggest challenge I run into,” she said.
Gerau’s Jackson chamber, along with the city of Jackson, invests in paying a full-time retail and membership director staff position.
“This person can be dedicated to reach out to whatever industry we’re trying to get here. My biggest goal is to try and recruit something we don’t already have. Again, if we’re talking about a restaurant franchise, we need investors and an owner who meets franchise requirements. This can be a bit of a challenge, not impossible, and often kind of exciting,” he said.
Limbaugh, Sr., Kohlfeld, Horrell honored at annual Cape Chamber dinner2This story is updated. Retired Senior U.S. District Court Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Sr. was recognized Friday, March 31, with the 2022 Rush H. Limbaugh Award, named for the jurist's late father, at the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce annual...
Jackson man among nine killed in Army helicopter crash in Kentucky3LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The nine service members who died in a crash involving two U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopters ranged in age from 23 to 36 and were from seven states, the military said Friday, as it released the identities of the soldiers and an...
Five run for Jackson school board4A quintet of candidates hopes to fill three, three-year terms on the Jackson Board of Education in the Tuesday, April 4, election. The ballot will have the hopefuls listed in the following order: n Brandon Parker Pylate n Christine Warren n Gregory...
Capaha Park restroom vandalized with paint7A property damage incident was reported for one of the restrooms on Cherry Hill in Capaha Park in Cape Girardeau. Doug Gannon, director of Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation, said the damage was caused by paint splattered on the interior of the...
Traffic signal at Siemers, Lambert in Cape Girardeau causes longer wait times7Motorists experiencing long wait times at the traffic signals located at the Siemers and Lambert drives intersection in Cape Girardeau can blame periodic malfunctions. According to a Facebook post from the Cape Girardeau Public Works Department, the...
Friday night's 'The Little Mermaid' performance at Notre Dame rescheduled to MondayBecause of severe weather, the 7 p.m. Friday, March 31, performance of "The Little Mermaid", Notre Dame Regional High School's spring musical, has been postponed and rescheduled to 7 p.m. Monday, April 3, in Cape Girardeau. The school apologizes for...
Cape Girardeau City Council agenda for 4/3/23 meetingCape Girardeau City Council 5 p.m. Monday, April 3, City Hall Presentations n Child Abuse Prevention Month Proclamation n Arbor Day Proclamation Items for discussion n Appearances by Advisory Board applicants n Discussion of Casino Funding Policy —...
Jackson Board of Aldermen agenda for 4/3/23 meetingCity of Jackson mayor and Board of Aldermen Regular meeting 6 p.m. Monday, April 3 Introduction of guests/visitors n Mayor Dwain Hahs to present a proclamation in recognition of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month to Alix Gasser, development...
Cape Girardeau County Commission agenda for 4/3/23 meetingCape Girardeau County Commission 9 a.m. Monday, April 3, 1 Barton Square, Jackson Approval of minutes n Approval of minutes of the Monday, March 27, meeting Communications/reports — other selected officials/department heads n Updates on new jail and...
Kimbel, Williams compete in Jackson's Ward 41Incumbent Fourth Ward Jackson City Alderman Tom Kimbel is seeking reelection to a seventh two-year term and is opposed by challenger Shana Williams in the Tuesday, April 4 election. The Southeast Missourian posed questions to the two hopefuls in the...
‘Addams Family’ comes to Cape Central High; Friday night's performance rescheduled for Sunday afternoon3Kinder Performance Hall audience members will take a trip to visit the kooky and creepy Addams family, while watching Cape Central High School students perform their adaptation of the musical comedy "The Addams Family". Central had its opening...
National Weather Service: 'Stay vigilant' this afternoon with severe weather threatThe National Weather Service in Paducah, Kentucky, announced most of the region has been upgraded to a moderate, level 4 of 5, risk of severe thunderstorms today, Friday, March 31. "Be vigilant, have your tornado plan ready, and be ready to act if...
Hotshots Bar and Grill's liquor license suspension upheld, but shortened1Cape Girardeau Liquor License Review Board members voted unanimously Thursday, March 30, to uphold, but shorten, the suspension of Hotshots Bar and Grill's liquor license. The downtown Cape Girardeau business' license was suspended following a March...
Local senior chosen for Missouri Scholars 100High school senior Sadie Middleton of Jackson High School in Jackson has been selected for the 2023 Missouri Scholars 100, a statewide program that honors 100 of Missouri's top academic students in the graduating class of 2023. Students will be...
Jehovah's Witnesses program coming to CapeThe Jackson and Cape Girardeau Jehovah's Witnesses congregations will present a program featuring the theme "You Can Face the Future With Confidence" on Sunday, April 2. The free 30-minute presentation will be hosted at 10 a.m. at the Jackson and...
Cape Girardeau’s Joy Brooker tries out on ‘America’s Got Talent’Cape Girardeau singing telegram extraordinaire and social media sensation Joy Brooker is stepping onto America’s TV stage. Brooker recently performed in front of the judges and crowd on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”...
Perry County law enforcement detain student in bomb threat1The Perryville (Missouri) Police Department was notified Wednesday night, March 29, of a possible bomb threat by a Perry County School District middle school student. The juvenile allegedly told several students Wednesday not to come to school...
Jefferson pool set to open next week11The Jefferson Elementary Aquatic Center in Cape Girardeau will open to the public Monday, April 3, with a ribbon-cutting to follow later in the week. The grand opening event for the pool will take place at 1 p.m. Thursday, April 6. The ceremony will...
Ruth Knote recalled for cooking, the arts and family2The long life of 1945 Cape Girardeau Central graduate Ruth Rueseler Knote, who died Monday, March 27, at age 95, seems to fit Merriam-Webster Dictionary's definition of a "renaissance woman." To wit: a woman interested in and knowledgeable about...
Cape Girardeau County health board hopefuls tout views5A quartet of candidates seek to fill two four-year terms on the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center (PHC) Board of Trustees in the Tuesday, April 4, election. n Diane Howard, attorney (incumbent) n Nancy Johnson, semi- retired nurse...
Church in Gordonville votes to leave United Methodist denomination22Zion United Methodist Church in Gordonville voted to disaffiliate from the United Methodist denomination March 19 adding to the droves of churches leaving the second largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. The congregation of the rural church...
Cape Girardeau school board authorizes contract negotiations on athletic complex15At a regular meeting, Monday, March 27, the Cape Girardeau Public Schools Board of Education authorized negotiations with multiple contractors in the construction of the first phase of an athletic complex to be built on the Central High School...
Habitat for Humanity house dedicated to family in Marble Hill2MARBLE HILL, Mo. -- Kelsey Johnson received the key to her new home at a dedication ceremony Sunday, March 26, in Marble Hill. This is the 62nd home Habitat for Humanity -- Cape Area has dedicated in the 36 years it has been in operation. The...
Chaffee teacher faces sexual misconduct charges4CHAFFEE, Mo. -- A Chaffee school teacher faces two felonies and one misdemeanor charge for allegedly attempting to arrange a sexual encounter with a 16-year-old girl. Mitchell John Dirnberger, an industrial technology shop teacher at Chaffee Junior...
Most read 3/27/23Lowndes woman found dead in water recovery incident in Bollinger County2A Lowndes, Missouri, woman was found dead in a water recovery incident Saturday night, March 25, in Bollinger County. Debbie Barks, 70, was driving home on Route H, north of Zalma, Missouri, and did not see the road was covered with water,...
Most read 3/27/23Local bankers react to latest Fed move2Cape Girardeau banking leaders are weighing in on the Federal Reserve Board's decision Wednesday, March 22, to raise its key interest rate for the ninth time since March 2022. The latest hike, 0.25%, like the others before it, is designed to...
Most read 3/25/23Cape Girardeau physician gives rationale for settling case with feds14Cape Girardeau neurosurgeon Sonjay Fonn and Deborah Seeger, also of Cape, have released a statement via their attorney detailing why they settled a years-long lawsuit with federal officials. On Wednesday, March 22, U.S. Justice Department announced...
Respond to this story
Posting a comment requires a subscription.