As I watch the ever-expanding Villages, I am amazed by the layout of the areas, the designs of the homes and the public buildings such as the recreation centers. I like that each recreation center has a theme that makes them unique. I find the growth to be exciting. The demand for homes in The Villages provides evidence of a continued interest in living here. For all the same reasons we all moved here, others see what we saw and like it.
I am also amazed and pleased to see the commercial development with the new spaces filling almost as soon and they are built. Yes, I still look forward to the day when a Costco and Trader Joe’s come to this area, probably not right in The Villages, but close by.
I have heard many times how businesses don’t locate here because the cost of retail space in The Villages is too high. But after almost nine years of living here and watching multiple branches of the same business occupy spaces in multiple Villages locations, I think that the information I received was incorrect.
A while back the Daily Sun had a very good article that put to rest some of the myths we have all probably heard:
- One myth is that the businesses pay to the developer a percentage of every dollar they take in – NOT TRUE. While some (only about 6%) do pay a percentage of sales, but only after exceeding a certain threshold, this is a common practice in retail leases.
- Another is that The Villages charges higher average market rates for the retail spaces – NOT TRUE. Every business understands the costs and there are no surprises. Also, some other properties not owned by The Villages charge more. I am sure that The Villages review the finances and business plans of all potential businesses who want to locate here and choose those who are likely to succeed. Everyone wants to see businesses succeed. No one wants frequent turnover.
The bottom line is that whatever they are doing is working pretty well since The Villages averages a commercial occupancy rate of 97%. In addition, the national failure rate for restaurants ranges from 26% to 80% closing within their first three years, depending on the information sources. In The Villages, over 90% of the new restaurants that have opened in recent years are still in business today. Only about 1% of the businesses located in The Villages turn over each year. So, after a review of the facts and busting the myths, I have drawn a few conclusions:
- Don’t believe rumors and gossip.
- Commercial businesses are locating here.
- Retail businesses are doing well here.
While I think the commercial leasing process is handling things well and providing us with a good variety of goods and services, you, the residents should also take credit for success of these businesses. After all, without the support of customers, businesses cannot succeed. Give yourself a pat on the back.
Stay safe and healthy,