Jaclyn Trop reports at the The Detroit News that more than a dozen national companies, from AutoZone to Wal-Mart, are expanding in Michigan, tapping the growing number of consumers looking for lower-priced food, goods and services.
Some companies are building new stores, while others are taking advantage of vacant storefronts, leasing space in shopping centers previously at capacity, and working with landlords formerly reluctant to partner with them.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation’s largest retailer, intends to open 13 new stores in Michigan. Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., Chase Bank, ALDI and Tim Hortons also have plans to expand in the Great Lakes State in 2010. While most companies declined to discuss the cost of building new stores, their expansion plans represent tens of millions of dollars in new investment.
“In terms of the Michigan malaise, everyone is concerned, but some (retailers) have stores that are still holding up and they are willing to cautiously take some home run locations,” said Cynthia Kratchman, a broker with Landmark Commercial Real Estate in Services in Farmington Hills. “No one is taking risky locations.”
Other chains looking for opportunities in Michigan include Dollar General, Dots and LA Fitness. Burlington Coat Factory, McDonald’s, AutoZone and Advanced Auto Parts have either just opened new locations or have stores under construction.
The interest in Michigan seems counterintuitive given the state’s rocky economy, soaring unemployment levels, and the woes of two of its largest corporations, General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC. But a solid demand for affordable, quality products and services makes Michigan a viable market for retailers who can provide them.
Retailers here, long weighed down by myriad challenges including a shrinking population, wage stagnation, and uncertainty over various legislative issues, are wooing a penny-pinching population with a magic word: value.
“Value is a mysterious concept,” said Jim Hallan, president of the Michigan Retailers Association. “It’s not just a price component, but also includes convenience, service, comfort and quality.”
Read More at: Detriot News