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Study Shows the Hilltop is Ripe for Business Growth

Hilltop Market Analysis

[COLUMBUS, OH] “Where are the jobs in the Hilltop?” It’s a question many have asked and Columbus City Council has taken the charge to answer. In 2018, Council commissioned the “Hilltop Retail Market Analysis and Small Business Opportunity Study” to create a tool for local business leaders and the Department of Development to advocate for small business, retail, and commercial development in the area.

“We were witnessing major housing and retail investment in Franklinton, but it seems to stop there,” said former President Pro Tem Michael Stinziano. “Council and the community are wondering the same thing. Why hasn’t small business and retail development expanded to the Hilltop?”

The study, which was funded by Council and the Department of Development in early 2018, gathered data around key indicators that businesses use to evaluate expansion and relocation opportunities, such as spending power, workforce and market saturation.

“Our residents’ lives are better when they don’t have to cross town to get what they need, and what we’re seeing is that our Hilltop residents are doing just that,” said Councilmember Elizabeth Brown. “This study makes it easier to sell businesses on why the Hilltop is just the place for them—to their benefit and to our residents’, too.”

Key findings:

  • There is $413 million in local spending power but only 14%-18% of that is being spent in the Hilltop itself. Specific opportunities for growth are in local restaurants, hardware stores, personal care, and medical services.
  • Hilltop homeowners are projected to outnumber renters by 2024 which provides local small businesses with a reliable base of customers that are invested in the community. The Hilltop is well positioned to be marketed and re-established as a desirable affordable place for working and middle-class owner-occupied housing.
  • About nine in ten workers are currently commuting into the area from elsewhere in the region for their jobs, adding to the market potential that can be tapped in the Hilltop if these workers move locally to be closer to their jobs.
  • West Broad Street has several redevelopment sites that could attract national retailers to the area and that Sullivant Avenue has the potential to develop into a unique business district based around international foods and products.

“With its tight-knit neighbors, longtime residents, and rich history, we didn’t need a study to tell us the Hilltop is a place of promise. We needed this study to enable a more powerful kind of advocacy that speaks the same language as the businesses we’d like to see come to the neighborhood,” said Councilmember Brown.

Read the full report here

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