A recent University of Montana economic update showed Billings on a slow growth pace, much slower than Bozeman and Missoula. The trends in retail and wholesale trade actually dipped the past two years, when adjusted for inflation.
Billings developer Steve Corning has been at the forefront of Billings development, especially on the west end, including King Avenue West and the Shiloh Crossing. Corning said it took 10 years to get Shiloh Crossing to where it is today. He said they put the first store in Shiloh Crossing in 2008, the year of a major recession. But they had a plan to combine shopping and entertainment options in an open- air center where shoppers could drive up to the store. He continues to believe west Billings offers the best bet for business.
Corning says retailers want to have synergy with other retailers, so they look for an area that fits their business. Many of them want to be near the “gorillas”, the Targets, Wal-Marts and Scheels, he said.
Corning sat down Monday with Q2 News Director Jon Stepanek for a discussion about all things business. He said to succeed today retailers should have a multi-channel strategy, meaning a digital presence along with a brick-and-mortar storefront. He believes Target and Wal-Mart have done a great job with that strategy including their order online and pick up at the store option.
Watch Corning's full interview below: