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Retail future of the EUP is the topic of analysis

November 1, 2017

CHIPPEWA COUNTY — Seven communities across the Eastern Upper Peninsula have been under the microscope in recent weeks, but for a very good reason. A Retail Target Market Analysis is under way as regional planners strive for a better understanding of the future development each community can support.


Birmingham-based Gibbs Planning Group is performing the analysis. GPG has been working in the arena of urban retail planning for more than 20 years. Funding for their services is provided by the 2017 Regional Prosperity Initiative and is administered by the EUP Regional Planning & Development Commission.


“Through this very thorough process, community leaders and developers near and far will have detailed information with which they can make informed decisions about future retail development opportunities in the Eastern U.P.,” explained Jeff Hagan, CEO of EUPRPDC.


Just what kind of information will be gathered? During this study, GPG representatives will visit each community and tour the larger region as well. They will collect third party demographic data, including household income and consumer expenditure potential by retail category, for the estimated trade areas of the city. Utilizing GIS mapping, GPG will estimate the study area’s trade areas and potential market boundaries.


GPG will also analyze 25 retail types including apparel, books, department merchandise, electronics, gifts, grocery, hardware, home furnishings, pharmacies, sporting goods and restaurants.


“When the analysis is complete, we will receive a qualitative opinion from experts in this arena as to whether or not retail development is supportable in the community and what size retailers would most likely be supportable,” Hagan explained.


Dave Mangum, an urban planning professional from GPG, said solid, sustainable development begins with this kind of analysis.


“Assessing the market potential is a necessary first step towards making towns and villages more relevant for the communities they serve,” Mangum said. “Through our market research, we will be targeting the spending potential and purchasing patterns of the consumer base in the eastern Upper Peninsula to find the types and amounts of restaurants and retailers that would thrive in these communities and improve the quality of life for residents, workers and tourists.”


GPG will conduct the retail market studies for Newberry, St. Ignace, Clark Township, Mackinac Island, Paradise, Brimley and Soo Township. Public meetings to share findings are expected in early 2018.


For more information about the Regional Prosperity Initiative, visit the EUP Regional Planning & Development Commission website at

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