Retail market analysis sees room to grow for Dowagiac

DOWAGIAC — Dowagiac’s retail market is far from done growing, according to a recently released study.

The city of Dowagiac recently released its most recent retail market study prepared by Gibbs Planning Group. The study, which analyzes market trends and the current state of the city’s retail market, revealed that the Dowagiac market has room to grow.

The most recent study concluded that Dowagiac’s market currently has 56,200 square feet of potential additional retail and restaurant space, which could generate nearly $20.3 million in gross sales by 2023.

Kevin Anderson

“This new retail and restaurant development could be absorbed by existing businesses and/or with the opening of 15 to 25 new stores and restaurants. If constructed as a new single-site center, the development would be classified as a neighborhood center by industry standards and could include one to two grocery stores, one to two pharmacies, one to two department stores, and an assortment of other retail and restaurant offerings,” according to the study.

The study is conducted every few years, this time to a cost of $3,800. City Manager Kevin Anderson said the study was well worth the investment.

“This analysis looks at a trade area and uses national demographics to estimate what opportunities they believe will become available,” he said. “It’s always good to look and see what is available and what the market can support. … This is hard evidence to take to business owners or potential business owners to say, ‘you have a high chance of success in these areas.’”

Anderson said he was pleased with the results of this year’s report, and that he hopes the city’s retail market will continue to grow at the rate predicted in the report.

“I always find interesting is that there is still room in the market place for economic opportunity,” he said. “The economic viability of Dowagiac helps our real estate segment stay strong. It helps those who have businesses have storefronts and many other things that create a vibrant community.”

As both a city council member and the owner of a local business, Bakeman Barbers, Patrick Bakeman said he believes the study is a good investment for the city, as it is a useful tool for business owners.

“I think if you have a business or if you are looking to open a business, the Gibbs report is useful because it tells you about the area and it tells you about spending habits and what might be available,” he said. “It lays everything out for you. It really gives you a good snapshot for the Dowagiac economy.”

In addition to showing where there is space for new businesses and expansion, the report looks at market demographics. The report showed that the median age in the study area is 42.5 years old, and the median income is $44,600, which is expected to rise to $53,000 by 2023.

For Bakeman, this is the part of the report was what surprised him most.

“People tend to think of us as a retirement community, but this shows that isn’t true,” he said. “We are a strong, diverse community, which is good for both business and the community.”

Both Bakeman and Anderson said they have high hopes for the retail market in Dowagiac going forward.

“We are growing,” Bakeman said. “We will continue to be a community that is welcoming to new business.”

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