What happens in Vegas, hopefully doesn’t stay there.
At least that’s the philosophy of Community Development Director Joseph Graves who will attend the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) convention in Las Vegas May 17-21.
He said the goal will be to make properties in Union much more visible to retailers and developers.
“It’s an opportunity for me to meet with retailers face to face to sell available commercial retailer properties throughout the city,” he said. “It’s also where developers from throughout the St. Louis area and beyond will be available to meet all under one roof.”
Graves said there is great potential to attract new retail to Union.
“We’re starting to get a lot of inquires from retailers and it’s important to meet with them, and be more proactive, instead of reactive, to assist them up-front,” he said.
This is not the first ICSC convention Graves has attended, and previous conventions have helped land new businesses in Union.
Representatives from Tractor Supply Store, Dollar Tree, Arby’s and Jack in the Box all met with Graves during past conventions.
He also has spoken with Wal-Mart representatives each time he’s attended a conference.
“It’s important for me to meet with retailers who are already here to say, ‘thank you’ and ask if there is anything the city can assist with,” Graves said.
He noted that there are many opportunities to meet with company representatives at the convention.
“I could meet with anybody from CVS (pharmacy) to a developer looking to do a large development,” Graves said.
This year, the convention is all digital, he said, and he has been seeking marketing fliers from local developers to show retailers.
Graves added that he will use an iPad to show the fliers, and then look at the city.
“We can use Google Earth to highlight different sites that are available,” he said. “If we have the fliers than we can talk more in depth about the site.”
Fliers and retail information can be viewed at Unionmissouri.org by clicking in the economic development tab and then the “ICSC & Retail Attraction Information” tab at the bottom of the page.
Graves said that he will meet with hotel chain representatives while in Las Vegas.
“I’ve had local developers approach me and ask to meet with some hotel chains,” he said.
When meeting with retailers, Graves said he will tell them that the daytime population increases by 2,500 people per day, there are 4,000 students at East Central College, and there were 123 dwelling permits issued last year.
“Usually rooftops equal commercial development,” Graves said, “and the city of Union still is the fastest growing community in Franklin County.”