With the closing of two longtime Beloit retail anchors - Elder-Beerman and Shopko - the Beloit Daily News set out to take an in-depth look at the city and its place in the market.
We call it "The Retail Revolution."
A series of articles will run this week. There are several takeaways. Beloit has lost its share of major national and regional retail brands. Retail spending for big-box stores is leaking to larger regional markets. Demographic considerations largely are not in Beloit's favor, things such as housing and household income. And it's all made more difficult because retailing in general is in the midst of a revolution, with more products being purchased online.
Notwithstanding all that, Beloit has positioned itself better than most for what's next by pursuing industrial and tech investors and job creation, redeveloping its core and drawing consumers with specialty shops, activities, restaurant and entertainment venues, service businesses and marketing itself as a "10-Mile City" to take advantage of higher regional demographics.
Today kicks off with an overview of the leading losses in retailing, with government officials explaining trends and strategies, along with a look at city demographic figures.
Tuesday: Commercial developers discuss the challenge. Efforts continue to improve housing options to attract residents.
Wednesday: Shoppers talk about how they are impacted and where their dollars go. Smaller-market Delavan's success illustrates the importance of demographics.
Thursday: Beloit's unique strategies are transforming the market, growing businesses and jobs. Certain areas, such as the redeveloped downtown, are leading the way.
- William Barth, Editor