Retail is big in Macomb

When people think Macomb County, their first thought might be advanced manufacturing or defense, but retail is an often overlooked significant part of the economy.

When you have a more-than-healthy private sector growing manufacturing jobs with high wages complemented by industries like health care, defense and aerospace, it is no surprise that the demand for retail is going to be big.

EmploymentIncome generated in other industries means that there are plenty of retail establishments to choose from in Macomb County. With 2,369 options for holiday shopping covering the county, ranging from big box to boutique, there is something for everyone.

Nearly 1,600 of these businesses are independently owned, which gives shoppers a chance to have a big impact. Recent research suggests that the multiplier effect on a local economy of patronizing a local independent business is as high as 68 cents, compared to 43 cents when shopping at a chain. When you add it all up, these businesses are doing a lot directly, indirectly and inductively for the local economy.

This shopping season, Macomb County is encouraging shoppers to shop at local businesses. The county has compiled a database of area independent retail locations. It’s filterable by location and category.

These unique retail businesses define Macomb County’s downtowns. Retail growth and activity in Mount Clemens, New Baltimore and Roseville are all helping spark redevelopment into local downtowns.

The outlook is bright too, and there is certainly an opportunity for more investment. Macomb County’s current median household income is $53,435, a number expected to rise to $63,113 by 2020. Additionally, with its 865,570 residents, Macomb County has been one of the fastest growing counties in the state, adding a whopping 24,592 residents just since 2010. If these trends continue, Macomb County will surpass one million residents before 2040. With new revenue comes new spending, painting a bright future for retail in the county.

Businesses have been working hard and fast to keep pace with demand. Since opening in 2007, Partridge Creek has found success along the mega-retail corridor that is Hall Road. Each year, more than $1 billion of goods are sold along the 12-mile stretch of road in Macomb County. Planned for completion in 2016, a new massive luxury outlet mall will bring an additional 330,000 square feet of retail.

In Roseville, Macomb Mall has undergone a nearly $10 million renovation that has revitalized not just the mall property, but an entire stretch of Gratiot. The state of Michigan took notice, naming Roseville as the first city in the state to be designated as a Redevelopment Ready Community.

All it takes is a look at traffic counts along Hall Road (topping out daily at more than 100,000) and the parking lot at Lakeside Mall to see that the 150 retailer destination is thriving as well.  The lure of our region’s retail is so strong, even Amazon wants a piece.

Are you looking to start, expand or grow a retail operation in Macomb County? The Department of Planning and Economic Development can help. From site selection, information and research to traffic counts and other assistance, we have a team of experts ready to assist. Reach out and get started!

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick Posavetz is a senior planner for Macomb County, providing content for the Macomb Business website. If you have a topic you would like to be featured, reach out to him at This holiday shopping season, the department is promoting efforts to shop local, find what local businesses are doing and share your story.

Ethel’s Edibles: An example of opportunities for new businesses in Macomb County

Update: Since winning the Macomb County Startup Business of the Year award in 2014, St. Clair Shores-based Ethel’s Edibles has proven to be a company to watch! This maker of gluten-free baked goods has rapidly expanded with successes that include increasing revenue by over 100 percent, doubling production space, adding more full-time positions, boosting employment base by 30 percent and partnering with both Whole Foods Midwest for distribution in 8 states and Warren-based Lipari Foods for distribution in 12 states.

“It’s been an exciting 18 months and we are working on accomplishing more,” said CEO and Founder Jill Bommarito.

Continue reading to find out how this enterprising company got its start.

Originally published March 4, 2014

By: Jill Bommarito, President & CEO of Ethel’s Edibles

Ethel’s Edibles, a gluten-free baking company, was born out of the idea that crazy good food should be available to all. Celiac disease has been in our family for over 30 years, so I was familiar with the choices and obstacles for the gluten intolerant. Our idea is to get our fresh baked goods to the customers where they shop, as quickly and conveniently as possible.

Ethel’s Edibles President & CEO Jill Bommarito displays the goods in the Kitchen. Visit their website to find out how you can get some!

Never having designed a commercial kitchen, let alone worked in a commercial kitchen prior to the church, presented challenges. I was very dependent upon the city, county and Michigan Department of Agriculture, who oversees the licensing of bakeries, for their input and guidance. Every single contact at the city and government levels from St. Clair Shores, Macomb County and the Department of Agriculture, was more than willing to help in any way they could. There was not a single stumbling block for us, and for that, we are extremely grateful. We made the move the first week of December 2012, and it felt like home immediately.

Shortly after our move, the Macomb Department of Planning and Economic Developmentreached out to us to see how they could help. Jack Johns from their team toured our facility, then sat down and spent time going over programs, grants, and collaborative relationships that may benefit our effort. This was a whole new territory for me. Jack’s assistance and accessibility have made all the difference. We’ve applied for and received grants to add equipment that lead to increases in efficiency and production capabilities. We received coaching in hiring and training. We’re meeting with the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC) to increase our lean manufacturing practices. We are getting assistance with hiring interns. Our new knowledge of Michigan Works will aid us with adding human capital. Every day presents a new opportunity.

We are looking forward to the growth opportunities for Ethel’s Edibles that lie ahead. With the collaborative efforts of Macomb County, along with the state of Michigan and City of St. Clair Shores, we feel our potential is boundless. Jack helped open doors for us. This will enable us to forge ahead this year, expand into a larger production facility and share our goodness nationwide.

About the author: Jill is President and CEO of Ethel’s Edibles, a business she founded in 2011. The idea came from Jill’s love for sharing great food, which everyone deserves to have.  She has two grown children and enjoys camping and traveling with her husband and children.  Ethel’s Edibles was chosen by a panel of judges as the Start-up Business of the Year at the 2014 Macomb Business Awards banquet.