What sort of shops are we short on?


City officials returned this week to the perennial topic of what kind of businesses they should try to attract to Evanston. Here's a look at what the real estate industry thinks we're light and heavy on in the retail space.

Howard Handler of the Illinois Association of Realtors shared data from Realtors Property Resource that indicates what types of retail businesses a community has "too many" or "not enough" of.

We looked at data for Evanston, and compared it to the same data for two nearby communities — Skokie and Glenview.




The charts, the report explains, show the types of businesses that consumers are leaving an area to find. The business types represented by blue bars are relatively scarce in the area, so consumers go elsewhere to have their needs met. The orange business types are relatively plentiful in the area, meaning, for people considering starting a new business of those types, that there are existing competitors in the community for the dollars that consumers spend in these categories.

One caveat: The data is the latest available, but it's from 2012, so a few things may have changed in the interim.

At a glance you can see that Evanston is under-supplied with 19 of the 31 categories of businesses, while Skokie has shortfalls in only 16. But Glenview is short on 23 of those categories.

And the data suggests that while we have somewhat more than our share of full-service restaurants, we're undersupplied with fast food ones, while Skokie has a surplus of both types and Glenview is notably short on fast-food joints.

Evanston — perhaps as a result of being a college town — is top of the stack in the book/periodical/music stores, while Skokie is somewhat less heavy on them and Glenview is way short on such shops.

If you can read the small print, you can probably find other interesting comparisons yourself

Related story

Too many restaurants in Evanston? (2/26/15)

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