• Project
  • Northeast
  • Business Attraction
  • Business Retention & Expansion (BRE)

Retail Market Analysis and Business Retention and Recruitment Plan in Essex, MD

April 25, 2024

Essex, MarylandThe Challenge

A waterfront community in Eastern Baltimore County, Essex is home to many small business owners and partners with a vision to make the Eastern Boulevard Corridor (“The Boulevard”) a destination for a greater number of residents and visitors.

The recently formed Essex Community Development Corporation (Essex CDC) quickly mobilized to implement placemaking projects, security improvements, and relationship-building efforts along The Boulevard but wanted to better understand the area’s retail market potential and business needs to create a stronger local economy.

The Solution

Essex CDC hired Camoin Associates in 2023 to analyze The Boulevard’s retail market and develop a business recruitment plan. To support this process, our team completed an in-depth market analysis, visited local businesses, held various focus groups, and administered business and community pulse surveys.

These quantitative and qualitative analyses revealed that The Boulevard’s greatest opportunities were focusing on business retention activities (e.g., marketing and resource and permitting navigation); increasing food establishments, small-scale retail, and fitness and wellness spaces; and focusing redevelopment efforts on a County-owned parking lot that could support a mixed-use development.

The Impact

Camoin Associates ultimately created a Business Retention and Recruitment Plan that outlined three priority focus areas for Essex CDC:

  1. Create a food destination, with a “food hub” (a cluster of food establishments, potentially with a commercial kitchen as its anchor) that serves the local population and attracts visitors.
  2. Hire an Essex-based business navigator to serve as the face for business support.
  3. Build a mixed-use development to increase housing stock while attracting tenants from industries the local market can support.

Upon presenting the final plan to the community, Essex CDC immediately began working with the County, the State of Maryland, and local business owners on the next steps to move each of these priorities forward.

Services Provided

  • Retail market analysis
  • Business and community surveys
  • In-store business engagement
  • Stakeholder focus groups and interviews
  • Strategy session
  • Business retention and recruitment plan

View the Final Reports