Business Recruitment

This section explains how market analysis data can be used in the various steps of a business recruitment program. 

Building and Space Usage

Successful downtown revitalization efforts often focus on creating synergy that results from the optimal mix of building and space uses.  In considering this purpose, your market analysis will likely have identified a number of market opportunities in different business sectors.  However, the market analysis process does not end with a list of businesses for recruitment […]

Supporting Entrepreneurship

This section outlines ways to use your market analysis to support entrepreneurship in your downtown or business district.  Entrepreneurship represents the capacity and willingness of an individual(s) to undertake a venture, with its risks, in an effort to achieve a profit. Entrepreneurship has always been important to downtowns and business districts, serving as a catalyst for business formation and its positive ripple-effect in the local economy.

Office Space

Downtown office space is connected to the success of service businesses, housing, entertainment, and plays an important role in promoting a healthy community where people can live, work, and play. Office space is a significant component of a healthy downtown because it generates employment and daytime activity, which supports other downtown businesses such as restaurants, […]

Retail & Service

This section provides techniques for identifying market opportunities for selected retail and service retail business categories. It examines business opportunities in terms of number of businesses the market could bear, total sales, and square feet of occupied business space. Other more qualitative and equally important market considerations are also discussed in this section. A selection […]

Niche Development

A niche is a specialization that allows a downtown to gain dominance in certain categories of retail and service businesses.  Market analysis recommendations should include possible niche opportunities based on the data collected and analyzed throughout this study. Successful communities often have two or three successful niches. These communities also benefit from an expanded trade […]

Business Retention & Expansion

Organizing business retention and expansion (BRE) activities is a common application of or prelude to market analysis findings. These activities include mobilizing a BRE team, identifying issues, and helping existing businesses expand or, if they are at risk of closing or relocating, stay open and stay downtown.


Restaurants and culinary experiences can be extremely valuable additions to a downtown area. They serve downtown workers and residents as well as attract visitors to the center of the community. They serve both an economic and social role in the community, helping downtowns maintain their role as an important gathering place. Restaurants can include a […]


Housing is an essential element in the revitalization of downtown districts. Demographic and lifestyle changes create new opportunities for specific residential segments and housing categories. This section provides an abbreviated method for assessing general market opportunities using a simple demand and supply analysis for a community. A more focused assessment of downtown housing opportunities is […]

Demographics & Lifestyle Analysis

This section explains how demographic data can be used to better understand the current and potential residents of your downtown. Demographic and lifestyle data can give you a starting point for an in-depth analysis of specific business and real estate development opportunities. This data also can help the broader community understand how it is changing.

Shaping Downtown After COVID-19 (Issue 194, June 2021)

This topic in Downtown Economics summarizes key points or “takeaways” from the recent webinar titled Shaping Downtown after COVID 19. The well-attended webinar highlighted examples of successful initiatives in four cities: Ithaca, New York, and Appleton, Eau Claire, and La Crosse Wisconsin. The following takeaways are presented without significant editing.  You may watch the entire […]

Latinx Immigration, Entrepreneurship, and Downtown Development (Issue 193, January 2021)

Small towns and rural communities across Wisconsin have markedly different experiences when it comes to their downtowns and main streets. Over the last decade, some Wisconsin communities have seen their downtown district become a lifeline to a rural renewal, while others have experienced decline defined by an exodus of businesses and disinvestment from the core […]

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