Food Market Feasibility Guide

Snapshot of Selected Public Market and Supermarket Feasibility Considerations

The following elements should be confirmed or reassessed as preliminary tasks to be undertaken by project proponents for permanent market facilities:

  • Determine conceptual approaches, mission statement and intended outcomes
  • Assess potential “healthy food” market benefits to target area
  • Review planning documents and prior studies of the target area
  • Evaluate predevelopment planning with respect to scale, location, access issues and proposed developer’s capacity
  • In reviewing market analyses, consider- in addition to per capita consumer expenditures- demographic trends, market service area characteristics and data concerning household income and composition, spending power, housing tenure, owner percentage versus renters, age distribution, race, gender and educational attainment as well as prospects for future residential growth
    • Determine per square foot and aggregate earning potential and float
    • Analyze pulling power beyond primary and secondary markets and contrast with draw anticipated within the three-mile radius
    • Assess implications of electronic benefit transfer (EBT) availability and “Bonus Bucks” initiatives
  • Further establish market demand
    • Survey residents within a three mile/two mile radius
    • Survey downtown employees
    • Survey potential vendors
    • Analyze food retail trends and shopping patterns
  • Using conventional analyses as well as “drill downs”, document purchasing power by census tracts/zip codes
  • Contrast demand (consumer expenditures) versus supply (retail sales) and determine leakage (opportunity gap/surplus) while projecting anticipated capture ratio
  • Survey current food shopping patterns including farmers market patronage and potential interest in a daily market facility
    • In addition to competitive analyses of farmers markets and supermarkets, evaluate ethnic and specialty food retailers
    • Consider factors impacting the more successful competitors such as proximity to residential areas, convenience to public transportation, parking considerations and access to major roadways (as well as any topographic constraints impacting ingress and egress and/or visibility affecting the target site)
  • For public market projects, establish appropriate vendor mix (variety of products as well as established and new retailers, producers versus non-producers, prepared food versus produce, baked goods, fish, meat/poultry; vendor tenure- permanent, weekly and day stalls)
  • Consider tenant leasing criteria and restrictions
    • Recruitment plan
  • Evaluate management team stability, experience and operational approach
  • Review projected development/operating pro formas and capitalization strategies
  • Determine merchandising and branding strategies
  • Analyze linkages to community and city-wide economic development initiatives
  • Contemplate internal and/or adjacent property complementary uses (e.g. commercial kitchen, cooking demonstrations, entertainment and special event settings, public health amenities, governmental services, financial institution information/facilities, educational opportunities)
  • Construction considerations
    • Architectural design
    • Parking
    • Lighting
    • Utilities/upgrades required
    • Signage
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