Retail Market Study & Opportunities

In 2015, Pulaski County had an estimated 157 retail establishments, which employed over 2,700 workers and
generated $122 million in sales. The top sales sectors, each with over $10 million in sales, included limitedservice
restaurants, supermarkets, full-service restaurants, and pharmacies. Other major retailers included auto parts stores, home centers, gas stations, hotels, and car dealers. Many of these establishments are located in the Fairlawn area of the county, near Radford.

The Town of Pulaski had 68 retail establishments in 2015, with top sectors including auto dealers, supermarkets,
gas stations, restaurants, and general merchandise stores. Many of these retail establishments are located in the
shopping centers along the Route 99 corridor to the east of downtown. Based on retail leakage calculations,
several other types of retailers have an opportunity to meet demand of local residents that currently shop
outside the community, including home furnishing stores, clothing/shoe stores, and electronics stores.

Additionally, an opportunity exists to create ‘destination’ businesses to attract visitors to the downtown area
from around the region. An estimated 398,430 people live within an hour drive of the town. Each year, these
households collectively spend an estimated:
  • $212 million at furniture and home furnishing stores
  • $188 million at restaurants
  • $139 million at clothing and shoe stores
  • $44 million at sporting goods and hobby stores

Although most households meet their everyday shopping needs in their hometown, destination businesses that
provide a unique shopping or dining experience could attract visitors from around the region. The market data
indicates that target business sectors include full-service restaurants, breweries and wine stores, print shops,
bookstores, and outdoor recreation outfitters.

Retail Leakage Estimates

Attracting visitors and tourists is key to supporting new retail businesses in the downtown area, as their dollars
will supplement the limited buying power of local residents. The town has the opportunity to develop retail
sector businesses that can serve tourists who come to explore the outdoor recreation and natural attractions
located in the county. Pulaski County has seen significant growth in tourism in recent years, with estimated
tourist expenditures of nearly $55 million in 2015, a 2.4 percent increase over the last five years.

Tourism Expenditures

With attractions such as Claytor Lake, Gatewood Park and the New River Trail, outdoor recreation tourism
represents a large potential market for Pulaski County. According to the 2013 findings of the Outdoor Industry
Association, over 57 percent of adults in the United States participate in outdoor recreation activities annually,
with 29.2 percent participating in bicycling, 27.9 percent participating in trail sports, 18.7 percent participating
in camping, 12.8 percent participating in watersports, and 12.1 percent participating in motorized boating.
Moreover, according to the Virginia Tourism Corporation, over 22 percent of visitors to Virginia, and 30 to 40
percent of visitors to Southwest Virginia, report that outdoor recreation was part of the purpose of their trip.
Visitors who pursued outdoor recreation tend to stay an average of 3 to 4 days on their trip, spending an
average of $683. As these visitors are likely to pursue other activities in addition to outdoor recreation during
their trip, they represent an important target market for downtown businesses.

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