If necessity is the mother of invention, as the saying goes, then the tough economy is providing plenty of reasons to innovate.
As an example, retail space in Phase Two of the Baxter Village is now available at no cost for one year. That's free rent for 12 months for space along Highway 371 North.
"In today's environment we need to get creative and getting warm bodies in there is better than sitting empty," said Andy Anderson, Baxter Village owner/developer.
Baxter Village's Phase One, including anchor Famous Dave's, opened in 2005. Other tenants include Big Stone Therapy, Morey's Seafood Market, Among the Pines, The Woodland Meadows, Tumbleroos and Gumdrop Tree.
Phase Two, which is without tenants, was completed in late 2007 and is listed by Close-Converse.
Anderson, founder and chief executive officer of Anderson Financial Group, said he can see the economic recession continuing for some time so coming up with a way to attract tenants now was worth offering a discount.
"It's a great incentive," Anderson said, adding a year rent free gives a new business the opportunity to become established. "I never have had to do that before but I don't know if anyone has ever experienced a time like this before. It's a very unique time in the U.S. economy and a unique time in American history. It's going to be interesting to see how we pull out of this and what direction we go in the future."
Anderson says he thinks it's just a matter of time before the economy rebounds but when is anybody's guess. Several predictions point to a tough 2009. Anderson said he'd be glad to see a glimmer of hope by the end of 2009, signaling a better outlook for 2010.
He remains optimistic and said the marketing move has already generated serious discussions for potential retail leases in the Baxter Village's Phase Two.
"It's been a good catalyst to get people thinking and that's what we need in today's environment to get creative as you try to fill space."
Anderson quoted a saying "Tough times end, tough people don't."
"We will get through this. It's just a matter of being creative and proactive and looking for the right opportunities."
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.
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