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Michigan Retail Review

Written by Tony Schmitt, Principal

I have been struggling on what area to highlight in the Michigan retail climate report. Should I focus on new retailers, new developments, the millennial effect, why I wish I was a millennial, omnichannel, dark boxes, all or none of the above? As I debated… and debated, I opened the brochure for the upcoming ICSC Michigan Idea Exchange. I am honored to be the current Michigan State Chair which places me in most of the event planning discussions. As we start planning for each program, we all look at each other and try to figure out how this event will be interesting. How can we have meetings with a purpose? Luckily, we have an incredible collection of people on our various committees that created a diverse Idea Exchange program touching on many of the retail happenings in our state.

The good news is we have some great stories to tell. State unemployment is below the national mark, the auto industry is once again on pace for record sales and the City of Detroit is getting positive press for its continued transformation. At the Idea Exchange, we are building on these story lines. I look at the breakout topics pertinent to our area: retailers, developments, Medtail, financing, new arenas, grocery trends, site selection, municipality and marijuana. In addition, we have a keynote address about the “Post Department Store Era” and expanding retailers including Art Van Furniture, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, Kroger, Meijer, Shinola and more discussing their real estate goals.

For the first time ever, we have the sitting Michigan Governor, Rick Snyder, as a morning keynote speaker. No governor has ever taken the time to speak to our members, but as a result of our industry’s accelerated efforts we have brought awareness to our sizable and influential community both locally and on Capitol Hill. Specifically in Michigan, we have 1,100 ICSC members (ICSC’s total membership is 70,000+). Our industry contributes over $4.2 billion in Michigan State taxes and creates over 380,000 jobs which is 9% of the total non-farm population. Nationally, our retail industry contributes over $100 billion in state sales tax revenue. Certainly, these are numbers that shouldn’t be discounted.

But back to the program… no ICSC event is complete without networking and deal making. If I took a poll, I bet 50% (maybe more) only come for the networking. The great part of our “job” is the amazing people that we meet along the way. From clients to co-workers, it’s the relationships that are the cornerstone of our business. 

I am proud to report the Michigan retail story is a great one as we continue to see exciting new shopping, dining, hospitality and entertainment destinations flourish in our state.

Anthony Schmitt | Principal
Mid-America Real Estate - Michigan, Inc.
38500 Woodward Avenue, Suite 100 | Bloomfield Hills, MI  48304
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