CUSHING TERRELL IN THE NEWS: City of Grande Prairie positioned for retail growth

By: Travis Estvold
18 August 2016


Grande Prairie [Alberta, Canada] could easily support more big-name businesses such as IKEA, Chapters and Red Lobster, according to a 2016 retail market analysis released this week. The study, conducted between December and April for the City of Grande Prairie by Cushing Terrell Architecture, concluded that “the Grande Prairie market is well-positioned for growth,” given the city’s large, fast-growing demographic of young, high-income earners who like to spend.

“A young, family-oriented market with disposable incomes is a core prerequisite many retailers look for when selecting a market,” the study said. Further, it also found that Grande Prairie serves a broad regional population that far exceeds the city’s 70,000 residents. The upshot, according to the 124-page study, is that local consumer demand for retailers far outstrips what the city currently supplies. Residents in the Swan City and surrounding area – including many communities to the north and west across the B.C. border to Dawson Creek and Fort St. John – would support nearly one million additional square feet of retail floor space in Grande Prairie, the study said. Currently there is 4.06 million square feet of commercial space.

“The city is the beneficiary of a location that is far enough from the City of Edmonton and close enough to urban centres in Northeastern British Columbia that it can provide the shops and services for a wide area,” the study said. Grande Prairie serves a total area of about 280,000 people, and it’s expected to grow by 12,000 people over the next 10 years, according to the study.

The study also includes a consumer survey, conducted in February by Keyfax Market Research. A majority of respondents said they wanted more clothing and footwear stores, restaurants, sporting goods, toys and entertainment. The retailers and restaurants most often cited were Red Lobster, Olive Garden, IKEA, Chapters/Indigo Books and SportChek. The survey included responses from 200 people at Prairie Mall and Eastlink Centre and is statistically valid with a confidence level of 95%. The study found that respondents put their money where their mouths are when it came to entertainment, full-service restaurants and clothing and footwear; people cited these as highly important, but also spent a lot of money on them. Based on such results, the survey says there continues to be a high demand for variety, particularly in restaurants.


“Cushing Terrell is always pleased to work with existing clients such as the City of Grande Prairie and its business community to identify changes in the retail market over the past few years. Resulting opportunities that local and regional retailers, franchisees, developers, and brokers could pursue efficiently round out and fill in missing gaps in the City’s retail inventory, which serves a very wide trading region extending into northeastern British Columbia.”

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