High Tech and High Fashion Settle in Upstate New York
The retail industry has piggybacked onto the high tech world by recognizing the impact that the high tech industry is having on the demographics and income levels of the entire Upstate New York region.
Recent announcements of the return of Lord & Taylor to Crossgates Mall in Albany, and the positioning of UNIQLO at the Palisades Mall in Nyack, N.Y., are proving that the impact of the high-tech industry is now being felt throughout the entire upstate region.
The addition of both of these retailers to the mix in the Tech Valley corridor of Upstate New York (from Nyack to Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) bodes well for the region, and shows the world that the growth rate of young, tech-savvy professionals will become one of the strong foundations for retailers well into the future.
The recent addition of these two dynamic retailers into the Hudson Valley/Tech Valley regions is evidence of their understanding of the impact of the high technology industries located here. The higher paying, clean-tech employment base, focused on a younger work force, points directly to these two retailers’ “sweet spot.”
UNIQLO’s format is very fashion forward with a very high level of quality at their specific price point. Their exclusively branded goods have shown the market that high fashion and high quality can be achieved at a price point that is competitive, affordable and appealing to many segments of the market.
The level of acceptance by the GEN Yers and the Gen Xers has been confirmed by the demand for the product. Couple that with the adoption of the brand by the ever age-resistant Baby Boomers still longing to “never get old,” and you have a remarkable formula for success and appeal.
Lord & Taylor enjoys a similar cachet in the market. The brand has identified its primary customer as wanting a product mix that is grounded in high fashion and is age appropriate, while being offered at price points that are reachable for these same demographic groups. By pairing the right product mix with superb customer service, that had been missing for so long from their stores, Lord & Taylor has delivered a sought after experience to these groups, which have the high levels of disposable income.
Other Upstate New York markets are faring well in developing new economies resulting from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new Start-Up NY program, that is focused on bringing new businesses to New York, as well as developing and expanding the initiatives identified in the local regions and surrounding college campuses.
Recently established Regional Economic Development Councils are competing for investments from New York State and private industry to develop and expand complementary business models that will continue to drive the regional economies in partnership with the academic mission of the universities in the region. The efforts of these new New York-based companies will continue to attract employees and entrepreneurs — also know as “consumers” — in a manner never before experienced in Upstate New York.
Increased wages, lower taxes, and incentive programs based on real and long-term job creation will continue to support and grow the retail real estate market in Upstate New York along with the industrial, office and residential sectors. Overall, the meeting of high fashion and high tech is delivering a strong groundswell for all facets of retail in Upstate New York.
— Howard Carr, president, The Howard Group, based in Albany, N.Y.