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Retail is a fundamental part of the everyday experience for people and their communities, fulfilling the needs of daily life and driving economic activity. Residents and planners alike dream of stores, coffee shops, and restaurants that flank vibrant commercial corridors and line shopping centers. However, new realities are threatening this dream. The lingering effects of the Great Recession, a national overbuilding of commercial space, and the explosion of e-commerce have challenged brick-and-mortar retailers across the country. How can planners help their communities develop a thriving retail sector?
This PAS Memo provides insights into changing trends to help planners understand the forces at play in their communities and offers strategies to help planners deploy tools to support and sustain resilient local retail landscapes.
About the Authors
Bobby Boone, AICP
Bobby Boone is a retail strategist who has built a career helping over 100 public and private sector clients reposition and grow their retail real estate assets. Bobby brings these sustainable, data-based strategies to &Access’s clients, focusing on supporting underserved entrepreneurial and geographic communities in creating retail real estate strategies. Prior to launching &Access, Bobby served as the Small Business + Retail Attraction Manager at the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC). He joined the DEGC, to implement the strategies he co-created as a consultant, strategies aimed to increase retail opportunities in the City’s underserved neighborhoods, including proactively recruiting small businesses, tackling issues related to accessibility, incentives, and stakeholder coordination, and engaging brokers, property owners, and developers. Bobby’s expertise in economic analyses, urban planning, and design, and retail real estate is bolstered by his professional and educational experience while employed at Streetsense and Smart Growth America, and architecture and planning degrees from Florida A&M University and the University of Cincinnati. He holds American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) credentials. Passionate about sharing his knowledge, time and skills with others, he serves as an adjunct professor and volunteer.
Rick Liu, AICP
Rick Liu, AICP, LEED AP is an Economic & Development Specialist at the Montgomery County Planning Department in Montgomery County, MD. He currently serves as the agency’s authority on topics related to economic trends and development economics, and frequently prepares studies related to economic development, market trends, and feasibility analysis in support of the Department’s master planning process. Recently, he served as project manager for a Countywide Retail Study that comprehensively looked at the new forces and trends reshaping brick-and-mortar retail, in efforts to assess the health and future opportunities of the retail market in Montgomery County. Along with the APA, Rick is actively involved in various committees with the Urban Land Institute and the U.S. Green Building Council focused on creating better environments and regional cooperation. He has a Masters of City Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Urban Studies from Tufts University.