A recent survey of Sherman residents and retailers found the city is in need of more name brand, chain retailers — particularly restaurants.
In the 107 responses the Sherman retail survey received, people mentioned 146 different types of retail as “desired” for the city. Among those mentions, food-related businesses were — by far — the most commonly listed retailer “missing” from the city.
“Food had 64 responses,” recent Austin College graduate Shawn Slowinski said to the Sherman City Council earlier this month. “For the fast casual (restaurants), people are asking for places like Pei Wei, (Raising) Cane’s, Cheesecake Factory and then for gourmet they had Whole Foods, HEB and stuff like that. For fine dining, they had examples just saying ‘nice steakhouse’ or ‘upscale dining.’”
Slowinski put together the seven-question survey as a school project and partnered with the Sherman Chamber of Commerce “to find out more about what was going on in Sherman from a retail environment standpoint.” They received 89 responses from the surveys sent out to Chamber members and also got 18 additional responses to the question of what retailer is missing from a recent Coffee with the Mayor event sponsored by Downtown Sherman NOW.
The survey sent to Chamber members also had questions about the retail environment in Sherman and the retail owners’ businesses.
“Almost 80 of the responders said the city had a good mix of local and national retailers,” Slowinski said.
Of the business owners/managers who responded, 55 percent said their revenues have increased in the last year and Slowinski said the survey found local consumers also go to McKinney and the surrounding areas to shop.
“Overall for this research, I had three key findings,” Slowinski said. “The first one was respondents desire more name brand chain retailers. There’s also a pattern of wanting more variety across price points, including upscale choices. My third key finding was that retail in Sherman still has a lot of potential for growth. Obviously, the Sherman Town Center is pretty recent and with all these new requests people are asking for, there’s still a little bit missing in the retail landscape there that they may want.”
Slowinski’s survey also received 47 responses for specialty retailers and many responses for smaller categories.
“Some of the more prevalent things were HomeGoods, Pier One, Half Price Books, Total Wine, Specs and some more specialty, women’s accessories like Kendra Scott,” he said of the specialty retailers. “Apparel and accessories had 24 special responses — people were asking for the major department stores like DSW, Gap, Men’s Wearhouse.”
Among the businesses requested in the entertainment category were things like bowling, mini-golf and a go-cart track, Slowinski explained. Council member Charles Brown Sr. agreed with the need for entertainment, saying Sherman doesn’t have any entertainment for young adults.
“I’m searching out some entertainment, like a Main Event and Shenanigans to come here, but right now all we have is a skating rink,” Brown said. “So we need to turn the heat up.”
But the council, much like those who responded to the survey, seemed most interested in the restaurants people would like to see come to Sherman. Mayor David Plyler asked what the most requested restaurant was among those who responded.
“I think it was Pei Wei, but a lot of requests weren’t specific things — it was also things like ‘middle to high end restaurants,’” Slowinski said, adding there were also a number of requests for diverse offerings such as sushi restaurants, Mexican restaurants, bagel establishments and food trucks.
City Manager Robby Hefton agreed the city’s commercial and retail base could be expanded and mentioned the two new Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones established on the city’s north and south sides as being beneficial to filling that need.
“There is room in Sherman for expansion of our base, not just in diversity, but also in scaling of middle to upper scale restaurants,” Hefton said. “We’ve got a willing council, a willing city, a willing community and now infrastructure set up that makes it easy for these types of things to be developed in Sherman. All we need is for them to move here.”