A retail capital stands apart in national list by research firm
Appeal Staff Writer
Carson City may not be brimming with fashionable boutiques or tempting a Kohl’s or Macy’s, but the small capital city is still one of the top metro areas for retail growth.
This ranking was determined by comparing the number of retail businesses in 2006 over 2003. It puts the historic Western city in the same league as San Francisco and San Jose, according to a retail research firm.
“Carson City added 371 retail businesses over three years,” said Tim White, senior vice president of client services for Buxton, a retail research firm in Fort Worth, Texas. “It’s not San Jose, but still it’s relative growth.”
Buxton conducted the nationwide survey of retail business growth rates for Women’s Wear Daily, a top publication for the retail sector. The list appeared in the March 22 issue of the newspaper.
“It’s surprising, but it’s great,” said Sue Jones, co-owner of the Purple Avocado, on Curry Street. “Compared to those big places it doesn’t sound like Carson City has all that retail growth going on, but then when you consider the Wal-Mart area, that’s a good number.”
She was surprised that Carson trumped the behemoth to the south that has been attracting big-box national retailers to its acres of sagebrush and desert.
The Gardnerville area, labeled as a “micropolitan community,” grew 27.71 percent to reach 47,063 retail businesses in 2006. Urban areas based around a core city or town with a population of 10,000 to 49,999 were not included in the Women’s Wear Daily list.
Joe McCarthy, city economic development and redevelopment manager, said Carson City stands apart because of its downtown revitalization plan. The city has a lot of potential, he said.
McCarthy said Eagle Station shopping center owner Kimco Realty Corp. is considering redeveloping the South Carson Street center into a more contemporary design.
“It’s nice once in awhile to be on a good list,” said Ronni Hannaman, executive director of the Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce. “The people who are moving in from major cities and that brings with it higher-end clothing stores. Either that or they (Women’s Wear Daily) love our cowboy look.”
Buxton counted new retailers built from the ground up and those that moved into existing places. Banks and retail services were counted, but no restaurants. The fourth quarter of 2003 was compared to Q4 2006.
Carson City gained 371 retail businesses, from 1,260 to 1,630, according to White. The gain of 29.4 percent put the city – the smallest in population on the top 10 list – into fourth place, tied with Austin-Round Rock, Texas.
Smaller retail is expected to come in, Hannaman said.
“There’s a lot of money here,” she said. “And people like to spend money in their little communities.”
Top retail growth areas
1. Naples-Marco Island, Fla.
2. San Jose-Sunnyvale, Calif.
3. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn.
4. Carson City
5. Austin-Round Rock, Texas
6. Ann Arbor, Mich.
7. Boulder, Colo.
8. Salt Lake City
9. San Francisco-Oakland, Calif.
10. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wis.
• Buxton, a retail research firm, counted new retailers built from the ground up and those that moved into existing places. Banks and retail services were counted, but no restaurants. The fourth quarter of 2003 was compared to Q4 2006. Carson City gained 371 retail businesses, from 1,260 to 1,630, according to White. The gain of 29.4 percent put the city – the smallest in population on the top 10 list – into fourth place, tied with Austin-Round Rock, Texas.
• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at email@example.com or 881-1212.