Raleigh, N.C. — It’s no secret Raleigh is growing. The most recent statistics show that our city expands by 64 residents each day, with 21 births adding the equivalent of a kindergarten class. Every. Single. Day.
Downtown Raleigh’s population increased more than 53% since 2000, and it’s poised for an increase of over 40% with current residential projects being built. By 2019, the population is predicted to be 18,000 residents within a one-mile radius around the city’s center.
All of that expansion should be fertile ground to grow a new retail business, but getting a brick and mortar store up and running in the era of same-day internet shopping delivery, fickle consumer tastes and the extensive knowledge running a store requires makes it more like crossing the Sahara without any water.
Based on that analogy, Grow Raleigh Retail is the oasis wannabe retailers so desperately need.
“It is daunting to start a business or open a business in a new location; every city has its own neighborhoods, local regulations, and opportunities. The biggest issue for those seriously beginning the process is the cliché of ‘not knowing what you don’t know,’” said Jeanne Eury, director of member services for the NC Retail Merchants Association (NCRMA).
Fully aware of those challenges, the Grow Raleigh Retail effort is hosting a workshop the morning of Sept. 28 in downtown Raleigh to cover all common pitfalls and opportunities surrounding opening a retail store.
“This event will do a great job at exposing prospective Raleigh retailers to what they need to research and consider that they may not have thought about yet. It will also (hopefully) bolster their confidence and resolve to know there are so many organizations eager to help them succeed,” Eury said.
“It is designed primarily for those in the ‘forming’ stages,” she added.
“The workshop should answer most if not all of the questions for them regarding what resources are available and where to find them. It will also give them a full picture of what pieces they will need to assemble as they plan, such as insurances, sign ordinances, etc.”
Here’s the packed agenda:
- 8:30 – 9:00 Coffee & Networking
- 9:00 – 9:15 Welcome & Introductions
- 9:15 – 9:45 Business Plan 101
- 9:45 – 10:15 Finance & Local Funding Sources
- 10:15 – 10:45 Raleigh Retail Site Selection
- 10:45 – 11:00 Networking Break
- 11:00 – 11:30 City Requirements & Resources
- 11:30 – 11:45 Retail Marketing Basics
- 11:45 – 12:30 Legal Framework
- 12:30 – 12:45 Contacts for Moving Forward
- 12:45 – 1:30 Enjoy lunch with local experts to answer your questions
Lunchtime will be an opportunity to meet with other attendees and network with speakers and supporting organizations. Each participant will also receive a folder of information with checklists and next steps with their registration packet.
The registration deadline is noon Sept. 21 or as the event fills to capacity, whichever happens first. While the organizers are “eager to grow downtown retail, it’s important to know that this is to support retail growth throughout Raleigh,” Eury said.
For those further along in the process, NCRMA is hosting an all-day event, TAP Talks, Oct. 5.
Grow Raleigh Retail is a partnership between City of Raleigh and the Greater Raleigh Retail Task Force members with a goal as a combined group to “help support and grow retail within our City.” Several are existing store owners ready and willing to pay it forward as mentors.
“The City is excited to participate in the Grow Raleigh Retail event,” said James Sauls, economic development manager for the City of Raleigh. “The program is a perfect example of how the public sector and private sector partner to move our city forward.”
Jen is a Sustainability Analyst for the City of Raleigh by day who writes about Raleigh life by night. This blogpost was first published on Raleigh & Company.