Taco Bell has been named multiple times in retail reports as a restaurant that locals have wanted. In the most recent retail market analysis found that the city could support 500,000 sq. ft. of new retail space by 2032. (Photo by Jesse Boily)Jesse Boily

More than $5 billion in spending was recorded at local retail outlets in 2023, according to a city report completed at the end of December.

The report, completed by FBM, includes tabulating the city’s existing retail outlets, consumer surveys, and quantifying the city’s supply and demand of supportable retail space.

“This report confirms that Grande Prairie continues to have a steady economy and serves as a significant retail hub for Alberta’s northwest,” said Mayor Jackie Clayton. 

The report says the city has about 4.15 million sq. ft. of retail space and could support an additional 500,000 sq. ft. of new retail space by 2032.

“As a validated regional shopping destination for northwestern Alberta and northeastern British Columbia, the city’s trade area attributes for population growth, demographic diversity, income and retail spending are consistently among the highest in the province,” said Kieron Hunt, FBM spokesperson. 

The top spending categories in the report include grocery and specialty foods ($1.2 billion), auto/rv/motorsports ($973 million), fashion and accessories ($393 million), restaurants and pubs ($326 million), and home improvement and gardening ($273 million).

Respondents to the survey wanted additional full-service restaurants, clothing and footwear, sporting goods, and entertainment options at a value-to-mid price point.

Outlets requested by local shoppers in the survey and repeated from previous reports included Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Indigo Books and Sport Chek.

The report notes the city is a “compatible market” for the retailers mentioned above, primarily due to the city’s location and being a large trade area. It also includes additional retailers, such as Uniqlo, H&M, and T&T Supermarket, which match the city’s demographic profile and active space listings.

“The city continues to seek opportunities to attract retailers and businesses that support a high quality of life for residents and a strong economy,” said Clayton.

In a news release, the city said “Invest GP will take a targeted approach to attract new investment in our commercial and retail sectors and ensure a progressive retail environment continues to thrive in the city.”

The report also notes the vacant retail spaces in the city come from larger retail spaces such as the former Canadian Tire, Sears, Freson’s, Windsor Ford, Nor-Lan Chrysler/Dodge and Nevada Bob’s on the west end. 

“While most of these are the result of the business relocating and expanding in the community,

which is a positive, the likelihood of these spaces being occupied by single retail users is limited, requiring redemising of the space or creative adaptive re-use,” says the report. 

It notes buildings such as the former Canadian Tire could be adapted as an indoor recreation facility such as an indoor bike park, roller rink, or pickleball facility.

Some of the wants from previous surveys have come to fruition including Montana’s BBQ & Bar in 2019 and Taco Bell this month.

By Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jan 11, 2024 at 10:06

This item reprinted with permission from   Town & Country News   Beaverlodge, Alberta

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