2017 R ena i s s anc e P l an U pdat e | T own of W ak e F or e s t
5 Retail Strategies
5.1 Market Considerations
(in its previous location) suggests that the predominance of “in-front” convenient parking spaces is in no way a necessity for the business district as a whole. Even for those who know where it is and how to get there, downtown Wake Forest cannot offer the same level of convenience as the afore mentioned corridors. Convenience is a critical factor for most consumers, especially for those in northern Wake County, who typically lead busy and harried lives, with long commutes and young children. As a result, Capital Boulevard/US 1 exerts a very strong gravitational pull to these consumers, with big-box draws like Wal- Mart Supercenter, SuperTarget and now, Sam’s Club, as well as power centers such as Wake Forest Crossing (at Stadium Drive). Meanwhile, secondary locations along South Main Street/US 1A and Rogers Road have managed to attract market-disruptive grocers like Aldi, Publix and now, Lidl. These corridors appeal not only to large national and regional chains, but smaller independents and “niche” concepts can be intrigued by, afford the rents and ultimately opt for second-tier centers such as The Factory (South Main Street and Rogers Road), the Market of Wake Forest (Capital Boulevard and Durham Road) and Wakefield Commons (Capital Boulevard and Falls of Neuse Road).
Consumers and retailers typically do not pay much attention to the boundaries drawn by political jurisdictions. Many do not seem fully aware of what falls within the Town of Wake Forest versus the City of Raleigh or unincorporated Wake County, and so on. Thus, the effective “trade area” or “catchment area” for downtown Wake Forest as a retail location depends to a far greater degree on visibility and access (correctly understood) as well as nearby competition. Based on conventional understandings of visibility and access, downtown Wake Forest is lacking both. It is not located along nor is it in close proximity to a freeway like I–540 or a major arterial road such as Capital Boulevard/US 1. Additionally, is it not easy for metro-wide residents or out-of- town visitors to find, with little high-quality directional signage provided for those who are not already driving or walking in its immediate vicinity. Allegedly, some of the town’s own residents still do not even know that Downtown exists.
5.1.1 Parking in Downtown
Downtown Wake Forest is perceived as challenged on parking, as consumers in the Raleigh–Durham metro, especially Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers, have been conditioned to expect the kinds of visible, in-front spaces that are typically in short supply in such settings. For certain “in-and- out” conveniences, this might indeed be an issue. However, the popularity and success of White Street Brewing and Over The Falls
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