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Study: Build on existing retail in downtown Raleigh

Posted March 11, 2009

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— City officials should focus on building on existing retail instead of trying to attract brand-name stores downtown, according to a consultant.

The Downtown Raleigh Alliance hired Michael Berne of MJB Consulting to devise a plan for developing retail traffic downtown. In a report released Wednesday, Berne said efforts should initially focus on serving people who live and work downtown and those who attend events downtown.

Downtown Raleigh Existing customers build downtown retail traffic

"It is fitting with who's already here. In marketing terms, it's always easier and less costly to get more from existing customers than trying to attract a whole new one," Berne said. "There is more to be had from those existing customers. Let's get that right, and the rest will follow if that's successful."

Local specialty stores and minority-owned businesses could serve as gathering places to build a sense of community, the report said. The odds of a supermarket succeeding downtown are slim, but niche stores that attract certain demographic groups could eventually make the area a shopping destination, the report said.

Downtown Raleigh Alliance continue to recruit stores and restaurants to the central business district, and organization officials said they plan to meet with local merchants in the coming months to develop a plan to market the area better to shoppers.

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  • angora2 Mar 12, 2009

    Downtown is the best place in Raleigh. Don't tell the N. Raleigh crowd, though. We're trying to keep the class of people high by keeping N. Raleigh out.

  • nowon_yuno Mar 12, 2009

    Retail downtown? Where? All I have ever seen are "Urban" clothing type establishments with things only a rapper would wear and there are a few skeezy bodegas.

  • Realthoughts Mar 12, 2009

    I would like to see them attract a House of Blues Restaurant or Hard Rock Cafe. Both these restaurants would attract more people downtown and also attract business such as retail. These types of businesses will make downtown Raleigh more of a destination.

    Imagine how many people from our state drive to Myrtle Beach just to see a show at the House of Blues. Now imagine those people driving to Raleigh instead.

  • districtcadvocate Mar 11, 2009

    Fine's Men Shop, all the clothing stores that were on S. Wilmington St., all of the mom and pop businesses we have pushed out of downtown especially in downtown east.

    I am amazed how intellectually stupid this city has become. On one hand we want downtown to be an economic engine while now we have affirmed that the historic niche market that was established after the shopping center era took root is our destiny yet now we have priced that venue out of downtown.

  • atc2 Mar 11, 2009

    What existing downtown retail? Shopping downtown is pathetic.

  • Mr. Middle of the Road Mar 11, 2009

    Wake up tarheel. The burbs are dying. People and money are moving downtown. Better sell that tract shack now, if you can. In 10 years your burb will be a ghetto. Its a fact, jack.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Mar 11, 2009

    Yes, continue to spend money on the downtown that nobody goes to. Spend the money in North Raleigh where people want to go to. Meeker's wasted spending to revitalize the downtown is money being flushed down the toilet. The city needs to follow the markets lead and the market is spending money in North Raleigh and other suburbs. The downtown is dead. Only, nobody has told Meeker and his Socialist allies.

  • dmccall Mar 11, 2009

    The problem with the R-Line is that it is a one-way loop. If I park 5 minutes away from my destination on the line, it will be a 15-20 minute ride back to my car. In a lunch hour, I don't have that kind of time, so I'll just hit the drive through at a strip shopping center.

    At night? That's a different story. There is plenty of free parking downtown at night.

  • valleyind2 Mar 11, 2009

    Learn to park like a person of average intelligence and you have no problems downtown. People will do anything short of murder to not have to walk farther than 100 feet once they leave their cars. It's hilarious to watch people circle the block five times to save themselves a short walk. Plus, with the R-Line, you can park and ride for free.

  • OhYea Mar 11, 2009

    Shopping downtown is expensive once you figure in the cost of having your car towed.