Welcome to the Business Facilities Editors’ Blog. Twice monthly, our editors will dive into topics, industries, and news-of-the-day items that might be a bit different from our typical coverage. Have an interesting idea for a blog topic? Email our Associate Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org with “BF Editors’ Blog” in the subject line.
By Anne Cosgrove, Business Facilities Editorial Director
Infrastructure isn’t child’s play. Neither is spending for the Halloween industry, which the National Retail Federation expects to reach $12.2 billion this year — up from a record $10.6 billion in 2022. According to NRF, $4.1 billion will be spent on costumes, with half of that figure ($2.1 billion) on costumes for adults. Those Halloween pop-up shops you see appear every Fall seemingly out of nowhere (and disappearing just as quickly) exist for a reason. It’s big business, and to reach their market these retailers focus on making sure to choose a location that promises to be lucrative for a short window of selling time.
Spirit Halloween, reportedly the largest retailer in this space, is operating more than 1,500 stores across the U.S. and Canada in 2023. The company’s site selection strategy includes returning to past-successful locations, but also according to its website favors communities with a population of at least 35,000 within a three to five mile radius. A car count of at least 25,000 passing the location is also part of the criteria. As any brick-and-mortar retailer knows, visibility to your market is a key building block to bringing in business.
Across all industries, companies of all sizes, depend on transportation infrastructure for their business to succeed. Reaching customers, attracting workforce, delivery of materials, shipping out product — all of these are impacted by the availability and condition of roadways, railways, aviation facilities, water ports, and even public transportation. Corporate relocations and expansions are long-term endeavors, so looking out several years at planned and potential infrastructure is significant to this analysis.
Transportation infrastructure in the U.S. is ripe for improvements and upgrades. With the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) giving the nation a C- in its 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure (up from a D+ in 2017), the opportunities are vast.
Infrastructure Act Part Of The Movement
Movement is afoot with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (or, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law) enacted in November 2021, representing a massive opportunity to bolster and modernize the nation’s transportation infrastructure (in addition to aspects such as the power grid, broadband access, and water). The law authorizes $1.2 trillion for transportation and infrastructure spending with $550 billion of that figure going toward new investments and programs.
The U.S. Department of Transportation website highlights a selection of projects currently funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. From Tucson, AZ to Lexington, KY and Hampton Roads, VA, the list of projects provides a view into the improvements that will come to fruition. The DOT page also links to state-by-state fact sheets from The White House, which provide information on announced funding along with anticipated funding over the next five years.
Short-term operations like those Halloween pop-up shops take a narrow view of transportation infrastructure, and that fits their business needs. Long-term investment, of course, requires the long view. Transporting goods, services, and people is the lifeblood of business — and growth and profitability. As you evaluate the infrastructure of the locations considered for the next relocation or expansion, no doubt your team is looking out several years at what the transportation network will look like in those regions, and how this will be expected to serve your business for the long-run.