I've posted this before but its so far back in the blog now its lost. I often get asked for a few of the same restaurants over and over. Cheesecake Factory and P.F. Changs are at the top of the list. Then there are the high end grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joes and Wegmans
Why don't they come? What stops them from opening up here? Well here are the requirements they look for:
Population - The biggest factor. The entire population for Charles County is estimated around 159,700 Calvert 91,502, St. Mary's 112,667 (all as of 2017). And for reference Prince Georges County has a population estimate of over 900,000. Places like the above mentioned restaurants want a daytime population of somewhere in the area of 300,000 within a 3-5 mile radius of the location. Currently the estimated daytime population of the mall within 5 miles is estimated at around 92,000. They want the restaurant packed at lunch and dinner which is why they go to dense urban areas. On a regular lunch day you can walk into almost any restaurant in Waldorf with no wait time and that's not good.
Wegmans Grocery says they want high daytime population because they depend on the lunchtime crowd to use their food bars. The issue in our area is that 65+ percent of our workforce leaves the county for work. Which means our daytime population is lower than what they want to see.
Demographics - workforce, high school and college graduates, number of households, average household incomes, retired or working, age, race, sex. Our average household incomes are great but not enough houses. Also mentioned by some that we didn't have enough college graduates. Did you know you needed a diploma to buy food?
Roads and transportation - Is the site on a major road? How many vehicles per day pass the site? Does the site meet parking requirements? Does the company have a distribution site within a certain radius of the proposed location?
Government - Are they easy to work with? Do they want growth? Are they business friendly? Any incentives to come to the area? How long will the process take to get our site approved?
Attractions - What pulls people to the area? Historic sites, large venues, sporting arenas, tourism, casinos, amusement parks.
Land - They want high profile corner sites with traffic lights and ease of access for their patrons. They want sites along Crain Highway and we are running out of them. Many that are out there have wetlands running thru them and you can't build near that. Storm water and environmental regulations are constantly changing and take up more of the land so you either build a smaller space or have to buy a larger site which comes at a higher price.
So we either have to build houses and apartment and become a densely populated area which is not going to happen because nobody wants that, or stay a little country, a little city and be happy.