Wake Forest Renaissance Plan - September 2017


C h a p t e r 5 R e ta i l S t r at eg i e s

With a number of existing draws and outstanding merchants, the tenant mix in downtown Wake Forest already reflects these attributes to a certain extent; it simply needs to add more: one or two new restaurants that draw long lines and citywide media attention; a few more boutiques to browse; a couple more magnets for students; and further experimentation with mobile retailing. There is an underlying tension in all of this, though. Downtown Wake Forest is still a fledgling sub-market, and while the population in its trade area might be significant (and growing), its “capture rate” — that is, the percentage of total resident expenditures that it attracts — will likely be low. Furthermore, the value orientation of its primary sub-markets will place limits on pricing and thus, profit margin.

While the positioning outlined above moves in the direction of specialization, both of these factors will work to pull merchants back towards the middle, away from small niches and towards concepts with broad appeal, which can generate the higher volumes necessary to compensate for the lower capture and margin. The successful businesses will be the ones that find just the right balance. This also implies concepts that can draw from across ethnic lines, given that non- whites constitute more than a quarter of the Main Street trade area and African- Americans, nearly 17%, and that Up and Coming Families represents its second- largest psychographic segment. Generally speaking, such cross-over is most common with food and restaurants.

S S The considerable number of residents in the Main Street trade area who were teenagers during the golden age of arcade games in the late ‘70s and ‘80s offer a ready market for a modern “barcade” concept, just one example of how evening entertainment in downtown Wake Forest might be diversified. Charlotte’s Abari Game Bar is an example. (Image: abarigamebar Instagram)

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