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    As Millennials Move In, Which Retailers Are Following?
    May 3, 2016

    GlobeSt.com
     

    San Bernardino, CA—Much has been made about business growth in San Bernardino County, but there’s another shift that’s having a major impact: demographic. Lured by an achievable quality of life, millennials are moving and bringing retailers looking to tap into those changing tastes for the region of two million residents and 24 cities. To get a better idea of the changes happening on the eve of ICSC’s RECon conference in Las Vegas, GlobeSt.com spoke Erik Westedt, SVP at JLL, about the state of retail expansion, development and opportunities.

    GlobeSt.com: The West End of the Inland Empire that includes cities such as Chino Hills, Fontana, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga and Upland among others is performing well with decreasing retail vacancy and new development. What is driving the opportunity in this area – and what types of tenants are succeeding here?

    Erik Westedt
    : The cities of Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga are seeing a lot of activity.  Their attraction is driven by the lifestyle center Victoria Gardens and Ontario Mills, which are strategically located by three major freeways (210, 10 and 15) which means you can easily get there from anywhere in the region. Success at these centers is due to location and demographics which have resulted in strong sales from retailers of every kind.

    GlobeSt.com: New grocery stores, including Aldi and Whole Foods, are entering the County – what is driving their interest – especially for a retailer such as Whole Foods? What do you see for future grocery expansion?

    Westedt: Whole Foods 365 is a new smaller store concept offering healthy foods at great prices. They announced a new store will be opening at Baseline and the 210 freeway. Their interest is being driven by the income and education level of the population along the 210. Discount grocery chain Aldi has been expanding into Southern California. They are moving to a number of locations in the County where they can expect good sales.  Overall the grocery industry is reshaping from stores of 50,000 square feet plus to stores in the 20,000 to 30,000-square-foot range. They are still full service, but providing a more focused selection.

    GlobeSt.com: What is the greatest area of opportunity for the High Desert market? What should retailers and investors be looking at when considering this market?

    Westedt: The greatest opportunity in the High Desert is by the Victor Valley Mall. This is due to the success of this mall but also the success of recent restaurant expansions such as BJ’s. The intersection of Main and the 15 freeway in Hesperia keeps building momentum with several new tenants (including Aldi) and the intersection of Bear Valley and Apple Valley Road in the Town of Apple Valley is a desired location for tenants entering the market.

    GlobeSt.com: What other niche opportunities should retailers and developers consider?

    Westedt:
    I think there are two areas of opportunity. There is great potential for more entertainment-related retailers such as iFly Indoor Skydiving which is located by Ontario Mills. The population is growing and the demographic on average is younger and looking for more lifestyle options. Restaurants are also much needed, especially those offering an elevated menu.

    GlobeSt.com: What should retailers considering the County know about the future?

    Westedt: In his recent report, San Bernardino County’s Pivotal Moment, futurist Joel Kotkin cited that migration patterns for the County are changing and as housing prices have risen to astronomical levels along the coast, more educated workers have been heading towards inland Southern California to San Bernardino County. This pattern of millennial migration to affordable areas bodes well for the County, including more growth for residential and retail development and expansion.

    Visit San Bernardino County at ICSC at Booth S353S.
     

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