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​The mix of retail options in a city or town has a profound impact on that community’s vitality, ability to attract new residents and businesses, and ability to retain the people and enterprises already there. A dedicated effort to bring in retailers can be an invaluable part of an economic development strategy, but it can also be complicated. The process can involve market analyses, the creation of recruitment packets to explain the market’s potential, and personal outreach efforts.

2023 Application Deadline: December 16, 2022

To help cities and towns navigate this world, the Municipal Association of SC is hosting a Retail Recruitment Training course, led by The Retail Coach, a national market research and development firm. The course will include three days of training, in Columbia from January to March, all ahead of the attendees using the training at the International Council of Shopping Centers's RECon convention in May.

Training sessions will cover the principles of retail recruitment, such as market conditions in a defined area and current commercial development trends, as well as how retailers evaluate a market and search for growth opportunities.

Later training sessions will move into the methodologies and tools of the recruitment process, including communication and developing leads, site identification, creating site inventories and managing public expectations. Retail recruitment makes heavy use of reports on everything from demographics to attitudes and interests, as well as traffic patterns and "leakage" of customers to other communities. In addition to the training sessions, participants will receive a professional market analysis profiling their community's critical economic attributes.

Finally, participants will learn how to prepare for retail trade shows and network effectively when attending them. They will get a chance to put these lessons into action soon afterward, when they attend RECon in May, a convention featuring retailers, commercial real estate firms and contractors.  

2023 Schedule

January 26 Session 1 Retail Trends
Session 2 What Retailers/Restaurants/Developers Look For
February 23 Session 3 Retail Trade Area Analysis
Session 4 Retail Site Identification
March 23 Session 5 Marketing & Branding
Session 6 ICSC Conference & RECon Preparation
April  Community One-On-One Check-In (Phone / Zoom) ​
May 21 - 23 ​ICSC ReCon


Training Investment

The training investment is $5,000. This cost includes a professional market analysis of the participating municipality as well as the registration for one participant. Additional participants from the municipality may take part in the training for an additional $1,000.