To provide actionable data to support new business and business expansion, the Rushford Economic Development Authority recently partnered with the University of MN Extension and the Chamber to update a Retail Gap Analysis, last completed in 2009. The trade area included a 15-minute drive time from Rushford and included a population of 6,230 people. The inputs into the analysis included “Demand” estimates calculated from the 2007 U.S. Economic Census (based on sales per capita spending) and “Supply” listings (existing businesses) provided by the Rushford Peterson Valley and Houston chambers of commerce. The analysis’ output is the business gap—where demand exceeds supply.
As a sample of the report, here are the business categories where the gap is greater than 1.0:
- Limited-service eating places (food services where patrons generally order and pay before eating; most do not have wait-staff service)
- Cosmetics, beauty supplies, perfume stores
- Jewelry stores
- Other health and personal care stores
- Appliance, television, & other electronics stores
- Women’s clothing stores
Bruce Schwartau from the UMN-Extension noted the Retail Gap Analysis should help inform, not replace, local knowledge of what may or may not be missing from retail options. For instance, each business gap should not necessarily be looked at as a new store-front as much as a product line.
Also, each indicated gap should be further analyzed as to whether an existing business is already providing that good or service. Consider that for this study each existing business was given one NAICS code, and we know several businesses provide goods that are shown as a “gap” under a different NAICS. For example, take “Limited-service eating places,” which shows a business gap of 3.4 (6.4 businesses in demand and 3 in supply). Of the supply using that NAICS code, 2 businesses are in Houston and 1 in Rushford. Using our local knowledge, however, one could also say a few other businesses offer limited service eating, such as Rushford Foods, Pam’s Corner and Kwik Trip, which are included under different NAICS codes (Grocery stores or Gasoline stations).
The analysis should, therefore, be used as a starting point for considering possible business opportunities for the area. “We realize that while the information is insightful, the data needs to be scrutinized further by business savvy realists that may see opportunities. If those opportunities can be realized the community benefits when more can be purchased locally and when business can prosper doing so,” remarked Tony Chladek, Rushford’s City Administrator and EDA Executive Director. “We are focused on providing actionable business information and finding the folks that want and can take advantage of it.”
The City of Rushford, EDA and Chamber representatives plan to continue to consider and follow-up on the analysis’ findings, including meeting with business owners for input. Please take a look at the report, and consider the following:
- Are you aware of (other) existing businesses already providing the goods identified as gaps?
- Are there opportunities for expanding the inventory of goods a current business supplies in order to fill these gaps and capture the sales that may be leaving our area?
- Are there opportunities to start a business to capture these sales?
- Are there other retail gaps that were missed? (Are people leaving the area for retail needs not identified in the report?)
- The analysis does not touch on what service professions may be missing from our trade area’s mix of businesses. Are residents leaving the trade area to find a certain service, whether a construction-related trade to pet grooming to attorney services—what has your experience been?
Email your input or questions to the Chamber or contact the EDA’s Donna Mack (651-380-1618) to set-up a time to meet regarding the gap analysis or business opportunities.