West Dundee hired a retail consultant Monday, a move that jump-starts its efforts to identify and secure potential retailers throughout the village, officials said.
Barry Bain, of the GRS Group, will work with the village on a two-phase retail market study and recruitment project in which he will identify national and regional retailers and eateries in nearby communities, see whether they are interested in opening another location within the region and steer them to West Dundee.
Bain, a real estate adviser, will receive $21,000 pay for the first phase, which includes a $1,000 travel allowance. His compensation for the second phase will be based on a 2.5 percent commission/broker fee from the deals he secures.
The phases are expected to last a total of 13 weeks, but the work is expected to last for several months and at the end of it, officials will have a better idea of what retailers to target.
"It brings somebody else into the mix -- this just adds to our team," Village President Chris Nelson said. "I think 2014 is going to be an excellent year for us if the economies turn around and we start to understand the story here in West Dundee."
Bain previously helped a developer find an anchor for Spring Hill Gateway East in the late 2000s and was in negotiations for several months with other potential users. The deal eventually fell through, but West Dundee officials took it as a sign to keep identifying and recruiting retailers.
The village is turning its attention to securing regional operators rather than national operators.
"There are some seriously interesting regional operators out there that we think we might be able to interest in coming to the area," Community Development Director Cathleen Tymoszenko said.
In the past, West Dundee's work with retail consultants involved specific properties rather than a villagewide effort.
The village's target area of study are the businesses and demographics within the retail corridors in Elgin, Algonquin, Carpentersville, Lake in the Hills, East Dundee, Hoffman Estates and Barrington.
West Dundee lost several major retailers over the years, including Best Buy, JC Penney, Gap and TJ Maxx. The village is also expected to collect $2 million in sales tax this year, a figure that's $100,000 less than last year's, officials said.
On a positive note, Starbucks, Chipotle, Macy's, Target, McDonald's and several other national retailers continue to ring up sales tax to the village.
Bain is expected to start in two weeks, Village Manager Joseph Cavallaro said.