Small Towns to Chain Stores: Let Us Shop!

Little places lure big retailers at annual shopping convention
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Apr 4, 2007 4:24 PM CDT
Communities compete for big-box stores   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Small towns and exurbs are bending over backwards to woo national retail chains, Governing magazine reports from the International Council of Shopping Centers' convention. Phalanxes of city reps descend on the dizzingly massive—and cutthroat—annual spring conference in Vegas, attempting to raise their profile and land a Pottery Barn or Trader Joe's.

"If you don’t have retail and restaurant choices, people look at that as the city not having such a great quality of life,” laments an Indiana mayor who penetrated the ICSC's baffling deal-making culture to appease his constituents.  After mining sophisticated spending  data and ingratiating himself with developers, he secured his town's first Starbucks—and likely his reelection with it.