Grocery Store Search Project
The town is undertaking a formal process aimed at bringing a grocery store to Poolesville. The town is leveraging the relationship with the town's marketing firm, Van Eperen & Company, to take the lead on much of the preliminary process including preparation of marketing collateral, researching prospective grocery stores, and facilitating conversations between town and industry/government resources.
Van Eperen, with the aid of town staff and the commissioners, is preparing a list of prospective grocery stores including the direct contact information for the prospects. Prospects are being limited to those stores that have a reasonable chance of fitting with the demographics, particularly population, of Poolesville and the 3-5 mile surrounding area. Prospects have been identified by researching small-to-medium sized towns in western, central, and eastern Maryland as well as southern Pennsylvania. Van Eperen has also purchased the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Grocery Industry Directory in order to help refine the search.
Jim Brown, commission president, has reached out to the major property owners in town in order to involve them in the grocery store search process. A fact sheet for each of the properties in town where a grocery store could be located will be included in the information packet indented for the prospects.
Van Eperen has prepared a demographic and market profile of Poolesville as well as an introduction letter for prospective grocery stores. The demographic and market profile will also be included on the new town web site.
The town has met with Thomas Flynn of Thomas Point Associates to discuss the grocery store search process and Commercial Development Study previously prepared by Thomas Point Associates in 2012. Mr. Flynn understands the changes that have occurred in and around Poolesville (development, demographic, schools, etc.) and how those changes can best be reflected in an updated Commercial Development Study that will help entice a grocery store to town. The town will contract with Thomas Point to have the study brought up to date in terms of facts and figrues as well as to focus on information that will be of interest to a grocery store. The updated study will also be available on the new town web site.
Van Eperen facilitated a meeting between town representatives and Patrick Donoho, President of Maryland Retailers Association. Mr Donoho reviewed the town's demographic information as well as the overall search process the town is pursuing. He validated the direction that we are taking and validated many of our assumptions about what types of stores would and would not be interested in Poolesville. He also provided the town with the names of grocery stores that he thought would be a good fit for Poolesville based on his professional expertise and experience. In addition, Mr Donoho was able to provide insight and guidance on the grocery store search process including:
- background on how grocery stores identify locations for new stores
- guidance on which individuals/departments to contact at medium and larger chains
- information on state-level financial assistance programs available to retailers
Van Eperen in conjunction with the town is preparing an information packet for the prospective grocery stores. The information packet will contain an introduction letter customized to each prospect, fact sheets on the properties in town, a demographic and market profile of Poolesville, a copy of or a pointer to the Poolesville market study, the "Poolesville, Wide Open For Business!" pamphlet previously prepared by Van Eperen, and additional information on Poolesville and the surrounding area.
Once the Economic Development Study has been updated and the final information packet has been assembled, Van Eperen and town representatives will begin reaching out to prospective grocery stores.