In May, I spent a day and a half at the ICSC conference in Las Vegas. EDCUtah had a booth at the show, and 14 participating cities shared the space with us.
ICSC is a retail-focused event that attracts tens of thousands of developers, brokers, franchise operators, and big- and medium-box companies. Retail is not an area of focus for EDCUtah, but it is for our public-sector investors. Cities and counties can boost their tax revenues when a new retail operation comes to town. The right addition in the retail arena can improve a community’s quality of life and reduce drive times for residents.
EDCUtah coordinates a “Team Utah” booth at the show to offer our partners a cost-effective and hassle-free way to meet with key retail players. We do the behind-the-scenes booth organizing, so our partners can focus on their business attraction goals.
In addition to offering meeting space at the booth, EDCUtah provides in-depth “Retail Profiles” for participating communities to use when promoting themselves. Developed by EDCUtah’s community strategist Elvon Farrell, these profiles provide econometric and demographic information that retail companies and brokers find valuable when weighing where to expand next.
EDCUtah’s director of community strategy, Alan Rindlisbacher, described the activity in the booth in the following way: “Cooperation and competition. Common goals.” In other words, the cities there might be all chasing the next Trader Joe’s in Utah, but there was a lot of best-practice sharing taking place in the booth throughout the show.
Along those same lines, EDCUtah and our partners at the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity (Go Utah) use the show as a listening post. When you gather that many mayors, councilpersons, and economic development staff in one place, you have an opportunity for in-depth conversations on the challenges and opportunities our communities face (above and beyond retail operations), and how EDCUtah and Go Utah can help.
Go Utah’s deputy director Ben Hart and I are grateful for the discussions we had with Mayors Kaufusi (Provo), Tran (Kaysville), Green (Cedar City), Weichers (Cottonwood Heights), Overson (Taylorsville), Hales (Murray), and Lundberg (Lindon). As always, old economic pros like Brian Preece (South Jordan), State Senator Wayne Harper (Taylorsville), Doug Meldrum (Saratoga Springs), Grant Crowell (Bluffdale), and others shared invaluable insights.
In all, it was a valuable exercise and we’re happy to help our communities in their pursuit of expanded retail.
As our friend and colleague Danny Stewart of Cedar City remarked, “Thank you EDCUtah for providing booth space and resources at the ICSC convention. We appreciate our partnership with you!”
President & Chief Executive Officertfoxley@edcutah.org