Downtown Lindsay expects major upgrades
LINDSAY – After major retailers abandoned Lindsay in the ’90s, followed by a small recession, then a Great Recession and then COVID-19, the city can use all the help they can get to rejuvenate their downtown. In the first step of many the city of Lindsay partnered with the consulting firm Retail Strategies to update the downtown area. Retail Strategies approaches projects from a commercial development side and a downtown strategies side. The commercial development portfolio director Brookley Valencia presented Retail Strategie’s’ findings from their discovery phase. After conducting some research, the firm presented its more general findings and plans for Lindsay’s downtown at the July 26 city council meeting.
The discovery phase found gaps in four main categories: clothing stores, restaurants, general merchandise and furniture stores. These are areas where people are shopping outside of Lindsay and the goal is to bring that money back into Lindsay by filling those gaps in the market. “Our goal is to open the doors for Lindsay to recover and support the community after COVID-19 and create new businesses, new jobs and improve quality of life,” Valencia said. The information collected during the discovery phase will be used to help connect Lindsay with retailers in order to bring in stores and restaurants that are a good fit for the town. The discovery phase is ongoing, but Retail Strategies will now begin its implementation phase of actually reaching out to retailers to bring them to Lindsay.
On the downtown side, Jeremy Murdock gave a presentation of Retail Strategies’s five-year plan for Lindsay’s downtown, including both aesthetic and retail updates. The plan focuses on creating a positive image that showcases the community’s unique characteristics as well as improving the economy. “A livable, walkable, viable, economically-sustainable downtown is the ultimate goal,” city manager Joe Tanner said. The city reached out to Retail Strategies with the goal of updating their downtown for two reasons: increasing overall quality of life for residents and generating tax revenue for the city. The tax revenue generated from new businesses will help the city fund public services such as parks and recreation, police and fire.
Retail Strategies has developed what they call a property catalog, which is a list of all the available properties including plots of land to be developed as well as empty storefronts and quick-service restaurants. The next step will be connecting those properties with interested retailers. “Our task is to really push Lindsay in front of retail prospects and if they’re expanding into the area, help them find a site and facilitate the conversation to hopefully get a deal going,” said Valencia. Deals between cities and retailers can take between 18 and 36 months, so it will take a few years before residents see major changes to the stores and restaurants in Lindsay. Retail Strategies will stay on as a consultant throughout the project as a liaison between the city and retailers.