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Commercial Attraction Retention Strategy

As part of our mission to foster and promote revitalization of the community by designing and implementing programs that improve the community's socio-economic viability the Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation (GADC) various methods and programs to find the right balance between retention and attraction strategies to sustain a healthy and diverse local business community across all neighborhoods. Our business retention strategies help existing local businesses keep their doors open. Business attraction strategies encourage or promote business growth in blocks that as they are today, are not considered viable options for many investors. With the changing, yet perceived stable nature of the greater Auburn Gresham community, this is an ongoing process. We continue to work towards putting best practices in place to improve our business landscape.

Business Retention

The SSA and NBDC resources work to daily to help retain local businesses in their original location by referring owners to incentives to both the business and property owners. Most of the businesses affected in our community are mom-and-pop restaurants, stores, and other small retailers that have been in business some, in excess of 30 years. The past few years unfortunately have lost many of them, for various reasons.

Providing business owners with site relocation assistance. For existing businesses that can no longer afford their leases, the choices are either to close up shop or relocate to a different neighborhood. Using the site selector tools and other resources, we will work with several business owners to choose a new, more affordable site for their business, versus just closing, and work with property owners as a business advisory council to address commercial rents as a community campaign.

Access to affordable capital and the use of nontraditional ways to fund businesses. Many local businesses also decide to close up shop because there simply is not enough business to sustain them. We will work aggressively to help market the businesses in the community. A key strategy will be for businesses to commit to a local resident job program. We believe one of the best forms of marketing is word of mouth, commitment and trust. Many business owners do not live in our communities. Because if this it is perceived that they could be taking advantage of underserved population. Having business owners committed to the health of a community, by agreeing to hire local first or even a % of local residents. We’d use this as a newsworthy strategy to promote a business retention (and attraction),

Business Attraction Strategies

Partnering with local developers, realtors, (including SomerCor and other City of Chicago Resources) has helped us work to peak the interest of local residents and business owners to see the value in investing in the business district and reducing vacancies. One way we will continue this, is to have organized trolley tours to show off the properties for sale. This is a repeatable strategy we are suing to aggressively work to drive down vacancies, especially in some of the difficult blocks, along the commercial corridors that have had a long history of blight. Our vision/strategy includes providing better more timely access to information on available sites, around the vision of a higher quality of life, so that businesses feel they are contributing to a community where local residents are employable and potential increase of consumers contributing healthier business district and community.

Using vacant space for pop-up retail. Temporarily filling vacant commercial corridors with pop-up retail businesses benefits the local economy in two ways. First, it reinvigorates the neighborhood by attracting visitors and customers, and can help reestablish the neighborhood as a “hot spot” for new businesses or development. Other city of Chicago communities have used this very successfully and it is a strategy that we plan to use. Additionally, pop-up spaces provide local entrepreneurs the chance to test their products and skills in a low-risk environment.

Including in this strategy is to recruit and work with local business owners who have larger spaces that might be potential sites for a local community market. This way new businesses and entrepreneurs who can’t afford a storefront can lease space and run a high quality business in a shared space.

Use Local Taskforces to drive strategy. We will continue to work with our newly formed business development and economic development taskforces for new ideas to retain and attract businesses.

A mix of these types of retention and attraction strategies will help ensure that all businesses have the chance to be successful, and that our neighborhood(s) have affordable goods and high quality services available for residents, all contributing to a strong and vibrant business district.


To foster and promote revitalization of the community by designing and implementing programs that improve the community’s economic viability; increase availability of quality housing to people of different income levels, while maintaining and improving existing affordable housing; and enhance delivery of social services, particularly to senior citizens.

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