We get asked often “why won't X, Y or Z business open on the Upper West Side?” We put together a 6 week "Wednesday Why" educational series on our social media pages, breaking down some of the concerns we hear when recruiting businesses to the area. Below you can find the entire seriees. We have simplified the issues as much as possible for the purpose of social media. We hope this helps you learn more about the process of bringing in businesses to our area and dispels some myths, as well. We are confident that our Upper West Side demographics, buying power, and strong community support will allow businesses to overcome any of these challenges and be profitable when they open in our community.
WEDNESDAY WHY SERIES Week 1: Density
We’ve often heard that the #uwsphx population density is too low to support a business coming to this area. While that may have been the case over a decade ago, the NW Valley has grown exponentially in the last decade. There are 1.7 million people living in the West Valley, over 200,000 residents on the Upper West Side alone, and an estimated 4 million visitors to “Four Corners” (Lake Pleasant Pkwy. & Happy Valley Rd.) shopping centers each year. Zip code 85383 has 55,000+ people (and is continually ranked in the top 10 wealthiest zip codes in Maricopa County), almost all of whom live in the southern half of the zip code, close to Happy Valley Rd. Thousands of homes are currently being built in zip codes 85383 and 85373. Anyone that thinks the Upper West Side doesn’t have the density to support more restaurants and retail needs to make a trip up this way to see the growth that has happened in recent years!
WEDNESDAY WHY SERIES Week 2: Commercial Rent Prices
We’ve often heard that the cost of rent on the #uwsphx is too high. Businesses argue that they could open in Scottsdale for less, which is true. What they are missing, however, is that Scottsdale is an already saturated market whereas the #upperwestsidephx has a pent up demand for restaurants/retail so the potential for a huge ROI makes the rent worth paying. Four Corners has approximately 4 MILLION visitors per year and the area is still growing. Chipotle at Four Corners, for example, is rumored to do 4 times the sales volume of an average Chipotle. We are fortunate that we have not seen very many businesses close as the result of the pandemic in this area, and in fact, it is not uncommon to wait 45 minutes to an hour for a table at a restaurant. Rent may be high, but the potential income will offset it, especially as the area continues to grow and needs more businesses and services to meet the demands of residents.
WEDNESDAY WHY SERIES Week 3: Lunch Crowd
In a post-pandemic world, with tons of people working from home (and no plans to return to an office), the #upperwestsidephx has an increased daytime population and demand for lunch options. The increase in density and population, plus the increase in working from home, has made the suburbs more desirable as less residents commute. Workers are looking to get out of the house and conduct meetings over lunch, rather than in an office. With TSMC and other large employers coming to the West Valley, the daytime population is expected to continue to increase. In addition, the NW Valley is home to a huge entrepreneurial community, affluent and active retirees with disposable income, and stay-at-home parents all looking for a great spot for a lunch!
WEDNESDAY WHY SERIES Week 4: Staffing
This is something we heard was an issue pre-pandemic in our area, but now it is an issue EVERYWHERE, and definitely not unique to the #upperwestsidephx. We won’t even attempt to tackle this huge problems, as it is currently a global issue across all industries. The West Valley has strong workforce development programs and we are optimistic that as our community grows, so will our workforce. In the meantime, let's all be patient with local businesses as they struggle to stay fully staffed to serve our community!
WEDNESDAY WHY SERIES Week 5: Not a Proven Market
We’ve previously been told that upscale businesses are hesitant to come to our area because it is “not a proven market.” We would like to cite the success of Life Time Happy Valley Peoria and Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers, both of which are always packed and not inexpensive, as proof of success in this market. Life Time has the resources to perform extensive market research and they told us they “put a bullseye on North Peoria.” Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers went in a location where multiple restaurants had previously failed, they sell $15+ burgers, and they are doing so well that they are now bringing Bourbon & Bones to the #upperwestsidephx. Our community CAN and WILL support more upscale businesses! We’re ready for you Whole Foods Market, Postino WineCafe, Flower Child, and Drybar (just to name a few)!
WEDNESDAY WHY SERIES Week 6: Available Commercial Spaces
In the current market there are not a lot of vacant commercial spaces, so it’s can be difficult for businesses to find a location to go into on the upperwestsidephx. Many shopping centers that do have vacant spaces have restrictions related to parking. For example, restaurants legally require more parking spaces than something like a dental office. Another issue is that many tenants have non-compete clauses in their contracts, so something like Whole Foods would be blocked from going in the same center as Sprouts, even if there was a space. As more commercial centers are built, this may help alleviate some of the problem, however, many tenants can’t or don’t want to build from the ground up because of the cost associated with it. The same thing goes for some older buildings. Depending on the condition, they may need to be completely gutted to be useable, and that is an expensive undertaking. In other cases, businesses want to own the land and/or building, rather than lease, and there are not a lot of available commercial businesses for sale. Land is expensive in this area to buy and build on, as well.