Facebook

$1 billion. Greer retail sales growing at a 22 percent annual clip

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Monday, October 5, 2015

Enlarge photo

The vacancy rate in downtown Greer has fallen from 30 percent to 15 percent.
 

File Photo

The vacancy rate in downtown Greer has fallen from 30 percent to 15 percent.

 



Enlarge photo

Brian Martin and is his wife, Betsy Potter, are investing in five new apartments that will double the residential units in downtown Greer.
 

Jim Fair

Brian Martin and is his wife, Betsy Potter, are investing in five new apartments that will double the residential units in downtown Greer.

 



Enlarge photo

The $120 million expansion at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport in Greer, has opened its expanded passenger concourse featuring two new dining concepts and expanded shop.
 

File Photo

The $120 million expansion at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport in Greer, has opened its expanded passenger concourse featuring two new dining concepts and expanded shop.

 

$1 billion.

“Don’t you love it when a plan comes together,” City Administrator Ed Driggers gushed.

Greer Development Executive Director Reno Deaton’s announcement that retail sales in Greer was $1.035 billion the past year was electric for community leaders. It’s the first time Greer has pushed past the billion-dollar mark.

The total is nearly a 93 percent increase over the pre-recession high in 2008. The South Carolina Department of Revenue provides the annual figures.

“In our world it is a huge announcement. A year ago we said, that’s our next hurdle. When we get to the B, we know that we are succeeding in this effort,” Driggers said. “Look at the growth, the trend line is a 45 degree trend line.”

Greer’s retail sales growth is 23 percent more than last year, announced at $800,000. 

The announcement was staged at the end of Deaton’s economic presentation to the Greer Chamber of Commerce on Friday. It marked a record sales report for the fifth consecutive year.

“It’s certainly a big mark for us,” Mayor Rick Danner said. “That number for Charleston, Columbia and Greenville, they passed a long time ago. But for us it is big, and I think for a town our size it is significant as well. I think I would be willing to bet there are very few towns our size that can post as big a number.”

Driggers said the retail sales figure sends a clear message to companies and people wanting to be part of the Greer synergy. “What is happening is the people who are (in Greer) saying, ‘yes, I like what I’m doing, I’m doing well, I am doing better and I see it getting better,’” Driggers said.

As stunning as the retail sales growth figures, Deaton also said the vacancy rate in downtown Greer has dropped from 30 percent to 15 percent.

Driggers said Greer has become more of a destination. “There is a pubic with disposable income that is looking to shop here, not somewhere else,” Driggers said. “It is why the Kohl’s of the world, the Targets, Walmart and Smith and James are doing well.”

“There is as much interest in downtown right now as I have seen in years,” Danner said. “This is as busy as I have been between the bank and the city in fifteen years in this chair the last few months.” Danner was re-elected unopposed for his fifth term as mayor.

“Not many communities have both residential and commercial growth at the same time, but we’re very fortunate to have that in Greer," Mark Owens, President of the Greer Chamber of Commerce, said. "As residents find the City of Greer a great place to live, more businesses are wanting to locate near those neighborhoods."

“Retail sales are a great figure for the pulse of our economy. It reflects both the growth and vibrancy we have in the community," Owens said. "I think it’s a huge justification of the time and commitment that goes into economic development – not only recruiting new businesses but also helping those that are already here grow.”

Brian Martin is adding to the daily growth by developing five apartments that will double the residential units downtown in 2016.

“Brian’s been a great pioneer,” Driggers said. “He has demonstrated there is a demand. The next folks are saying, well, 3, 6, 10 … what if I do 15 or 30 or 60, and I’m looking at doing it here, or here, or here.”

Two upstairs apartments above Martin’s law practice has been occupied virtually 100 percent since they became available three years ago. “I’ve already received calls on the others and we haven’t marketed them yet,” Martin said.

With growth comes additional concerns, primarily parking downtown, but also safety, security, access.

Deaton touched on the growing parking dilemma, warning growth means more business, more shoppers downtown and less convenient storefront parking. “We are going to have to address parking,” Deaton said. “Do we park for free or pay, or do we build a parking garage and where will it be?”

“(Parking) requires a tipping point Reno is talking about,” Danner said. “You address those issues, I don’t mean you shouldn’t be proactive but we should look at it.

“It’s all part of the bigger puzzle. As downtown continues development and continues to grow, parking will become an issue. We are already at the point that we tell people to park on the other side of the courthouse. You have to walk to your destination, but there is a limit to what people will want to do,” Danner said.

Driggers just returned from a conference in Seattle featuring nearly 3,800 of his colleagues from the U.S. and the world. He said the retail sales announcement was specifically timed to coincide with the chamber’s First Friday.

“What it means to me is it’s bragging rights,” Driggers said with a hearty laugh. “People asked, ‘Where you from?’ I say I’m from South Carolina, from Greer, the upstate. I say BMW, Inland Port, GSP Airport and I-85. And people are saying, ‘Yeah, you guys have got some stuff going on over there. In the business, you watch trends in the industry, and you know when things are happening. It’s exciting to be a part of that.”

Danner has been welcomed by upstate economic groups on two trips to China, hosting delegations in Greer and is on the advisory board for Smart Growth America.

“I’ve always thought and always will that what sold Greer is its confidence … confidence in our economy, our leadership, and where we’re headed with our master plan,” Danner said. “ If you have any questions about the (Greer) economy this answers it.

Danner cited Greer’s retail growth the past four years, 13, 14, 15 and 22 percent. “Maybe it’s not sustainable at that level but it shows an upward trend and I think we’re quite capable of maintaining growth for a long time.”

“I don’t know where we go from here but, 23 percent increase compared to last year ($843,000), I think we’re on the money,” Driggers said.

City of Greer Gross Retail Sales 

FY 2015         $1,034,016,761

FY 2014         $   843,576,165

FY 2013         $   742,090,943

FY 2012         $   684,430,596

FY 2011         $   604,288,690

FY 2010         $   452,268,000

 

 

 

 

Share



Leave a Comment



Trending: Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, Obituaries, Chon Restaurant, Allen Bennett Hospital