Economic Development News

Retail Survey Results
Published: Monday, March 4, 2019 8:00 am
By: Missy Bonnot

Early in 2018, Chairman Bill Plank saw a need to grow and enhance retail within Jefferson City and assembled a Retail Attraction Committee.  The mission of the committee was to focus on new approaches to both identify and attract new retail opportunities to Cole County including: 

  • Increasing the number of new retail attraction projects
  • Maintaining tenant occupancy in existing commercial properties
  • Identifying “franchise” business opportunities
  • Surveying Cole County residents on what new retailers they would like to have in our area

He sought committee members that had both an interest and expertise in the world of retail.  The committee members are:

  • Holly Nunn, Chairman, Central Bank
  • Adam Addison, Capital Mall
  • Amber Brondel, United Way of Central Missouri
  • Austin Craddock, Bandana’s Bar-B-Q
  • Audrey Kauffman, Transworld Business Advisors
  • Kim Slaughter, Riverbend Dentistry, LLC
  • Crystal Tellman, Downtown Association
  • Michael Baxa, The UPS Store

The committee met for most of the year and accomplished hosting a Franchise 101 fair in conjunction with the Business Expo.  During Franchise 101, individuals were able to receive information on what purchasing a franchise entails.  In addition, the committee completed a retail survey of Cole County residents on
what new retailers they would like to have in our area.

The committee solicited input through many different avenues including email, social media, newspaper and distributing flyers to retail establishments.  The committee was happy to receive several hundred responses and I would like to highlight a few of the responses we received. 

The top three desired retailers were:

  • Trader Joe’s
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Costco

The top four desired restaurants were:

  • Olive Garden
  • HuHot Mongolian Grill
  • Golden Corral
  • Cracker Barrel

Other services desired that Jefferson City does not offer were:

  • Family-friendly activities for children/teenagers
  • Better dog park
  • Mobile pet grooming

As Shaun Sappenfield mentions in his article, digital and mobile shopping options continue to take their toll on brick-and-mortar retailers and evolving technologies seem to work to the advantage of online retailers. In fact, shopper and retailer perceptions and expectations are not aligned—and many retail stores lack the essential technology to measure and apply shopper data across all channels, according to new research. 

Jefferson City is like other communities, you win some you lose some.  Recently we have new retailers, IHOP, Dunhams and a soon-to-open stand-alone Starbucks have located to our community. But of course, we have been in the crossfire of National retailers that have closed hundreds of stores around the country such as Sears, K-Mart and Barnes & Noble. 

Jefferson City continues to be the hub of shopping for our area with a Pull Factor of 1.22. Pull factors estimate the number of customers and retail sales that a county attracts, typically from neighboring counties. A retail trade pull factor greater than one indicates either a gain in customers from other counties or that residents or travelers spent more on retail goods than the state average. Other surrounding counties are Boone -1.06, Callaway - 0.41 and Camden- 1.39.

We will continue to work on retail as sales tax revenue is very important to city and county residents.  Retail trade, including restaurants, is one of the key economic indicators of an economy. The retail strength of a county is a function of a customer base, the buying power of the customer base, the quality of the retail environment, and the pull that county has as a regional employment or tourism destination.

To see the results of the retail survey, go to  

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