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Communities to take active role in attracting new retailers

Communities to take active role in attracting new retailers

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Communities looking to attract new business will highlight the opportunities available here with the help of the Kenosha County Retail Strategy Group.

The city of Kenosha and Downtown Kenosha Inc., and the villages of Pleasant Prairie, Somers, Bristol and Salem Lakes are part of the group, which works to attract new retailers and businesses to their communities.

“In 2018, the group traveled to networking events in Las Vegas and Chicago,” Andy Buehler, director of planning and development for Kenosha County, said. “In 2019, the group has chosen to focus their efforts on more local events.”

Somers president George Stoner said Tuesday that last year’s effort played a role in attracting new businesses, such as Starbucks, to Somers.

“This really helped us last year,” Stoner said. “It gets our name out there. Being caught in between Kenosha and Racine, we are sometimes overlooked.”

Stoner said participating in the events is key to establishing relationships with retailers and developers that are a good fit for the area.

Developing these relationships is “not a one-and-done type of thing,” Buehler told Salem Lakes officials during an update on the initiative last week. “It’s going to be an ongoing effort.”

On April 2, the group will attend an event in Milwaukee. This summer and fall members will attend several networking events hosted by the International Council of Shopping Centers in the Chicago area, Buehler said.

As a part of this effort, the group is asking each municipality to cover the cost of updating its marketing materials. The Kenosha Area Business Alliance, a partner in the Strategy Group, and the county, have contracted with Dooley and Associates of Kenosha to design the materials.

The firm quoted a cost of between $1,680 to $2,800 for the city of Kenosha and Pleasant Prairie and between $1,120 to $1,680 for Somers, Bristol and Salem Lakes for the work. Somers approved spending the money to update its brochures on Tuesday.

Life Balanced website

Heather Wessling Grosz, vice president of economic development for KABA, said the materials will all carry a new “Life Balanced” theme.

Wessling Grosz said each community already has a presence on a new website created to highlight the benefits of living and working in Kenosha County.

The goal of the website, www.lifebalancedkenosha.com, launched March 13, is to get people to stop saying Kenosha is just “somewhere between Milwaukee and Chicago,” she said.

The second phase of the website will include a customized job board. A template will be available for employers to include critical positions for which they are hiring.

Wessling Grosz said corporate contributions will sustain the website.

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