Lindsay seeking new businesses for a new-and-improved downtown

Consulting services were enlisted to assess the retail market in Lindsay, devise a strategy on how to improve it

LINDSAY – Lindsay has partnered with retail recruitment firm Retail Strategies in an effort to bring more businesses to the city, revitalize its downtown area and provide free consulting to existing businesses. 

At Lindsay’s city council meeting on Mar. 8, planning manager Curtis Cannon provided an update on the city’s process with the firm. 

“The firm is in what they call their discovery phase right now,” Cannon said. 

This phase involves conducting research such as a real estate market analysis as well as data and demographics studies. Cannon said, representatives from the firm visited Lindsay to identify potential real estate assets on March 11.. 

The city’s downtown area–currently home to many empty and boarded-up storefronts–will be a focus of the partnership. 

“To say our downtown struggles would be an understatement,” said Joe Tanner, Lindsay city manager. “We have a lot of vacancies. We have a lot of abandoned properties.”

According to Cannon, preliminary talks with businesses have focused on retail spaces in the Olivewood Plaza shopping mall off Highway 65–what he calls “low-hanging fruit.” 

“It’s all about space availability and where the location is,” Cannon said. 

One challenge with this location, Cannon noted, is finding space for amenities like drive-thrus, as a large chunk of the businesses interested are fast-food restaurant chains such as Panda Express and El Pollo Loco. 

The partnership is being funded through American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. It also includes free consulting and support for Lindsay’s small businesses. 

“Let’s say we have a business downtown, and they want to get into online sales, for example,” Tanner said. “Retail Strategies can help them do that, and can guide them along the way to figure out the ins and outs of that segment of their business.”

After the firm’s assessment on Mar. 11 and a workshop between city officials, stakeholders and Retail Strategies representatives on Mar. 30, potential retail properties will be prepared, then a retail recruitment plan can be set in place. 

“Recruitment can be a slow dance, as they call it, to make deals happen,” Cannon said. 

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