Retail in Lombard

Introduction
retail

“From Groundbreaking to Grand Opening: Retail in Lombard” is an information series that will cover the “how’s and why’s” of retail businesses in Lombard, and the Village’s role in business attraction and retention. The series will focus on the Economic Development efforts of the Village and factors that a business may consider before locating in Lombard.

The Village’s role in shaping development is to ensure that proposed businesses fit within specified zoning districts, meet building and zoning requirements, have adequate accommodations for parking and transportation, and meet other requirements that will make them a good neighbor and part of the community.  

Getting Started – Available Resources

A new business may find it helpful to have a business plan which can help guide them in certain decisions.  Businesses without a business plan can meet with the College of DuPage Small Business Development Center for assistance.  The Helen Plum Memorial Library is another resource where you can conduct research and view business and customer databases.  Businesses interested in locating in downtown Lombard may reach out to Lombard Town Centre, which is dedicated to economic development efforts in downtown Lombard.  Businesses may want to engage the services of an attorney, real estate agent/broker, and/or an accountant to help throughout the process.  An architect may be required for an interior build-out and if site improvements will be done (grading, parking lot improvements, new construction) an engineer may be required as well.

The Village is another resource.  As the series continues we hope you’ll learn how the Village attracts and retains businesses, but also how the Village helps.  Zoning, parking, signage, and building codes are just a few topics from our most frequently asked questions list.  

  1. Step 1: Location
  2. Step 2: Zoning/Costs
  3. Step 3: Village's Role
  4. Step 4: Reviews
  5. Step 5: Retention

Step 1 - Site Location Factors: Demographics, Access, Visibility, and Traffic

location

Demographics provide an understanding of the potential customer, for example, do they have income to support the price point of the goods sold, or does the area have a sufficiently trained workforce to hire employees from.  When a business is considering locating in a community, they conduct extensive research on the market area before making a final decision. They will obtain demographic information on household income, daytime population and consumer spending patterns. Depending on the business and target market, the business may look for a minimum income levels or specific age groups. The goal is to understand where their potential customers live, work and shop before making a location decision.

For example, an established retail store may know that their customer’s median income is $75,000 a year, they are highly educated, and that they attract most customers from roads that have over 40,000 average daily trips per day.  If a particular location does not meet these criteria, the site will not be evaluated for further consideration.

Businesses want to offer a product in an area where there is demand by the consumer at a certain price that the consumer is willing to spend for the product. 

Some of the questions considered may be:

  • How far away is the nearest competitor?
  • In the trade area, is there consumer demand or are there already too many similar products offered?
  • Will locating a store in this area hurt existing store sales?

Factors relating to accessibility, visibility, and traffic include the ability of delivery trucks to access the location, the ease in which customers can travel to the business, and other accommodations related to conducting business.  Large corporate businesses may be bound to internal regulations as well, such as a minimum distance between existing stores.  Some businesses may desire to be close to their competitors, and other may not. 

Retailers want to be located where there are many shoppers, but only if that shopper meets the definition of their target market –which may differ amongst different businesses.  Generally, businesses examine:

  • How many people walk or drive past the location?
  • Is the area served by public transportation?
  • Can customers and delivery trucks easily get in and out of the parking lot?
  • Is there adequate parking?

When considering visibility, businesses look at the location from the customer's view point.  Can the store be seen from the flow of traffic? Will their sign be easily seen? In many cases, greater visibility reduces the need for advertising.

There are several factors a business weighs before deciding whether to locate in a community or market area.  Many factors are beyond the Village’s control, but the Village can maintain a good understanding of market demands for retailers and promote locations that best fit their criteria. The Village has Census data online and can provide anecdotal information.  However, the Village cannot promote one Lombard site over an another.