Bermuda Run eyes retail growth

Published 8:37 am Thursday, December 8, 2016

BERMUDA RUN – As the town council looks forward to modifications to the next phase of its comprehensive plan, the retail component has been one area under review.

Town manager Lee Rollins recently traveled to Atlanta for the International Council of Shopping Centers Southeast Conference to learn more about “The Changing Face of Retail.”

Bermuda Run adopted its comprehensive plan in 2012 and is reviewing the items that are in place and any new information, such as retail strategies.

Davie County Economic Development contracted this year with TheRetailCoach, a national consulting firm, and that deal included looking at overall retail trends and at local communities in the county such as Bermuda Run.

Rollins noted that average household income ($101,775) and a percentage of just over 70 percent for some level of college education or higher in Bermuda Run’s retail trade area stood out in North Carolina.

However, Rollins gave examples of retailers such as Starbucks, Chipotle and Sprouts, an up-and-coming grocery chain, that need a larger trade area.

For example, he said that Chipolte is interested in Clemmons, but not Bermuda Run, because it needs 15,000 to 25,000 daytime employees in a two-mile radius to make it work.

“We’re so close to Clemmons that we play into their trade area but don’t get the benefit from it,” Rollins said. “They get the benefit from us. Clemmons is getting pretty close to build out. It may come this way.”

Rollins told the council in its Nov. 15 meeting that this is an update that solidifies retail development in the next three to five years within the Bermuda Run trade area will really be driven by developers and not be the retailers.

Other noteworthy points from “The Changing Face of Retail” included:

• Major lenders are looking for 25 percent to 30 percent equity in projects versus 10 percent equity before 2008.

• Most typical “old school” shopping center development is becoming more cost prohibitive.

• Most retail cycles are four years from “trough” to “peak,” and although 2017 looks steady, is 2018 the next “trough?”

Councilman Ed Coley said that the findings “really didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. It’s just a matter of supply and demand. That’s what’s going to drive it. Being unique and finding niche markets and products is going to be key to retail in our area.”

Mayor Ken Rethmeier said that the information “reiterates what we’ve heard and complements and supports other studies done in the last year.”

He added that as Bermuda Run kicks off updating the comprehensive plan in January that “perhaps some of the zoning areas we have that we targeted for potential retail may not ever happen.”

Ultimately, the evolving market will dictate what transpires with retail in Bermuda Run, but Rollins said whether it’s branded retail or not, he looks forward to the public input sessions and wants to know what strategies need to be implemented for that sector to grow in the future.

Besides retail, councilman John Guglielmi said he thought when addressing the five-year plan that the town should discuss what is wanted and demanded by the residents as far as police.

Councilman Jerry West said that prior to the January planning session, he would like to bring in business owners in Bermuda Run to ask what the town can do to better serve them.