Kerrville has the potential to be a destination for retailers.
That’s according to Aaron Farmer, senior vice president of The Retail Coach, who presented the findings of a retail study to the Kerrville City Council on Tuesday.
The study was commissioned by the city to help develop a better blueprint for the future — aligned with the Kerrville 2050 plan — said Mark McDaniel, city manager.
“Very quickly, we had our consultant produce some very good information,” he said.
It cost $7,500 and took about two months to complete.
“There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity in Kerrville,” Farmer said. “It’s been overlooked in the past.”
No action was taken on the study, but councilmembers and the public were given the chance to ask questions.
Some strengths the city has to entice retail chains to the area include the average income, no competition to the west and the Interstate 10 corridor, Farmer said.
“You’re already a retail destination. You have Belk, Lowe’s, Home Depot and a number of stores that are here,” he said. “That’s obviously going to continue to be in your favor, you being a regional destination.”
As part of the study, it was determined that people are making money in Kerrville, but turning around and spending it in other cities that may offer more options, Farmer said.
The phenomenon is called leakage.
“Maybe it’s something you can’t find here or doesn’t have a store for here,” Farmer said.
When looking at retail opportunities, it’s important to take leakage into consideration, Farmer said.
For example, if there is a large amount of money being spent outside a city on clothes, that’s an indicator that a clothing store would benefit the community.
In order to determine what the leakages specific to Kerrville are, Farmer looked at 75 categories, from sporting goods stores to casual sit-down restaurants.
There is a total leakage of $832 billion in the city, Farmer said.
“That’s a tremendous amount of money that is leaving on a yearly basis,” Farmer said.
But the council shouldn’t focus its efforts on recovering that money, he said.
“There’s always going to be leakage. I think we can set some realistic goals — let’s reduce it by 10 percent, 20 percent over time.”
The study also broke the city of Kerrville down into five retail submarkets, including downtown, the I-10 corridor, Sidney Baker Street South, Sidney Baker Street North and Junction Highway.
Moving forward, Farmer made recommendations for what the city can do, including focusing on marketing efforts to bring retail to the area, keeping an updated database on available retail space and highlighting the rest of Kerrville to people who are driving through the area on I-10.
“To many potential consumers, the only view they have of Kerrville is the interstate corridor,” Farmer said. “We encourage you to continue finding and marketing efforts to drive customers to other areas in Kerrville.”