Recent retail vacancies already being filled

KEY TAKEAWAYS

» The "Amazon Effect" continues to shake up West Michigan’s retail industry, with a number of big box stores and West Michigan-based retailers closing their doors. Despite closures, this creates an opportunity for the next generation of retail to enter the West Michigan market.

» Grocery stores continue to adapt in West Michigan. While some are closing, others are opening and shifting their strategies to accommodate the push for online sales.

» Local neighborhood shopping districts are thriving as new restaurants plant their roots and attract additional retailers to the area.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 

This year will be remembered as the year of the "Amazon Effect." West Michigan-based retailers like MC Sports and Family Christian Stores, and big box retailers like K-Mart and Sears, have closed their doors due to bankruptcy as the retail industry continues to shift to e-commerce.

Amazon announced this fall their search for a second headquarters location, which will be a $5 billion investment and could create as many as 50,000 new jobs. Grand Rapids and Detroit both put their hats in the ring for the project in October alongside more than 200 cities around the United States. Amazon also has plans to open a one million-square foot warehouse and distribution facility in Livonia this year, creating up to 1,500 jobs.

Growing demand for increased warehousing space could offset what is no longer used for retail. Local companies like Speedrack Midwest, a Michigan storage rack manufacturer, are benefitting from the growth of online retailers because of increased production demands. Speedrack’s main suppliers include Amazon, Hobby Lobby, Meijer, Ralph Lauren, American Eagle, Ford and others.

Despite the growth of online retail, bricks-and-mortar remains strong throughout West Michigan. According to our research, retail sales are slightly up over the past year. We have seen this as several locally owned small businesses moved into larger locations. Additionally, a number of restaurants have opened in local neighborhoods while others have relocated to new spaces.

Click here for the full Q3 2017 West Michigan Retail Market Report