Adirondack Park Agency (APA) staff recently completed a marketing study that could help the town of Indian Lake attract a grocery store chain.
And the most likely prospects are IGA and Big M.
It’s been more than three years since the Indian Lake Market opened as an IGA affiliate in 2005 after Tops Friendly Markets closed.
That left the community without a supermarket.
Locals can get some food items at smaller stores such as the Stewart’s Shops and Adirondack One Stop convenience stores but have to travel to North Creek’s Grand Union about 20 miles to the east or Charlie Johns General Store (Big M) in Speculator about 24 miles to the south to get more substantial groceries.
Enter Dan Kelleher, APA special assistant for economic affairs and one-man operator of the Agency’s Economic Services Unit. He’s been on the job for a little over a year, and handed economic development leaders in Indian Lake and Hamilton County the Indian Lake Grocers Analysis in December. He compiled the report with help from the APA’s Local Government Services Unit staff so Indian Lake can use it to attract a new grocery store.
“To have a sustainable community, you really need a grocery store or else people kind of get tired of driving 20 miles to get their daily needs,” Kelleher said. “So providing a grocery store in an isolated community like Indian Lake, it will help that community’s sustainability by having people be able to stay and live there full time.”
Kelleher said the idea for this report came after a conversation with Brenda Valentine, vice president of the Indian Lake Community Development Corporation (Indian Lake Planning Committee).
“Without such a study, communities are kind of shooting from the hip to attract everybody,” Kelleher said. “This allows a more targeted effort.”
By having this study, it saves economic developers time by drafting a short list of grocery chains more likely to locate in a small community such as Indian Lake.
In the study, Kelleher looked at the eight grocers operating in the Adirondack Park to find which ones are more likely to locate in Indian lake. Those chains are Price Chopper (Lake Placid), Hannaford (Lake Placid), ALDI (Saranac Lake) Save-A-Lot (Tupper Lake), Mac’s Market (Warrensburg, Keeseville and Port Henry), Big M (Speculator and Eagle Lake), IGA (Tupper Lake, Star Lake and Old Forge), and Grand Union (10 locations).
“We found that most of those are located in bigger communities, but there are precedents for both Big M and IGA in communities about the size of Indian Lake,” Kelleher said.
Now the economic developers in Indian Lake have a document they can use, according to Ann Melious, Hamilton County director of economic development and tourism.
“I think it helps us get off the dime and figure out what we’re going to do because there’s some interesting data there and it is motivating us to look at hometown options, not wishing for Price Chopper to some day, some how show up and plant a store in Indian Lake,” Melious said. “We have to look at reality, and I think we have some options.”
Even though Indian Lake officials have already been turned down by IGA and Big M, there is still hope. What the APA study did for members of the Indian Lake Community Development Corporation was give them a reality check.
“It just kind of cemented the fact that we cannot sustain a full-scale grocery store such as a Grand Union or a Price Chopper,” Valentine said. “We don’t have the population here.
Indian Lake’s population is 585 people within a 5-mile radius, 1,352 people in a 10-mile radius, and 11,585 people in a 25-mile radius, according to the study. Seasonal fluctuations, such as summer residents, help boost those numbers but may not be enough to sustain a grocery operation in Indian Lake year round.
Kelleher would like to write marketing studies for other communities in the Adirondack Park, but he currently does not have any in the works.
“I think the strategy we took here at Indian Lake, and the strategy we’re going to take on a lot of projects, is to empower local communities by giving them the data they need to facilitate new projects,” Kelleher said. “We’re not exactly an organization that can go out and recruit new companies to locate to places. But we can give communities the data that they need to go do that themselves.”
Keleher’s unit has also assisted private businesses identify market opportunities in the Park and can help municipalities, local economic developers, county industrial development agencies and state agencies.
“I think that we’re trying to ensure that our Adirondack communities and hamlets are sustainable, great places for people to live, work and to visit,” Kelleher said.
For more information, contact Dan Kelleher at (518) 891-4050.