Retail Gap Analysis

Gravenhurst's Economic Development Team completed a Retail Mix and Gap Analysis in June 2018, which has assisted in forming commercial investment attraction campaigns, working towards building a full and diverse portfolio of retail offerings for residents and visitors.

collage of local retail products and services

This project will also assist in achieving a number of goals and objectives identified in the Town's 2015-2020 Strategic Action Plan.  Find additional municipal information on the Plans and Reports page.

Between Oct – Dec 2017, a general consumer shopping and teen shopping surveys were deployed.  Just under 400 completed responses were received.  Public consultation was also facilitated in early October during the Economic Development Community Update Event.  The findings provide by these consultation were analysed and used to develop conclusions within the final report.


What is a Retail Gap Analysis?

While the concept may be titled "gap", it is an opportunity to identify most needed and desired future retail business opportunities and ultimately have them fill current land, building and service vacancies in the community.

A comprehensive list of current retail sector businesses is compiled.  Available and occupied square footage is assessed, along with employee numbers, sales, spending and consumer shed data (where people shop, in and out of Gravenhurst, and how much they are spending on specific types of items).

Various consultations with local and regional consumers and partners are conducted over a period of time, then the data is reviewed and compared and a final report is completed to provide a full overview of the Gap Analysis results.

Final Report and Recommendations

The Final Retail Mix & Gap Analysis Report confirms that Gravenhurst has a strong and growing brand which is fostering an emerging brewing subsector and innovative cooperative retail models. There is the availability for current and future investment prospects as well as a steady residential growth. Below are a number of recommendations made based on the research in this report, and below each recommendation are a number of potential strategies.

  1. Reduce retail leakage by an average annual amount of 1.3% from the permanent population (estimated yearly economic impact increase of $1,872,048);
    • Proactively work to attract retail noted in the opportunities section above
    • Provide information to local retailers to allow them to strategically market and adjust their product offerings to meet what each category of spender is considering.
    • Work with partners to create an atmosphere and program gathering spaces to attract additional shoppers to the core and to convince them to stay longer.
  2. Contribute to increase visitor spending in the region, with an anticipated average annual increase of 1.6% per year (estimated yearly economic impact increase of $6,256,000) or economic impact of $19,550,000);
    • Develop a tourism investment action plan, in partnership with tourism stakeholders to attract new private investments.
    • Market and package existing assets to promote Gravenhurst as the location that visitors Muskoka must experience.
    • Develop new experiences with existing assets.
  3. Increase the amount of total spending done in Gravenhurst by seasonal residents on common household products by 3% (24% to 27%) and major purchases by 1.9% (21.1% to 23%) by 2023;
    • Work with partners to market Gravenhurst to second home owners that are already in the area through projects such as visitor information services and events.
    • Provide a comprehensive business directory for second home owners to harness a better understanding of the products available in the region throughout the year.
  4. Support adjustment and redevelopment of commercial spaces to meet private sector requirements;
    • Advocate with building owners to invest in their buildings to increase the viability and visibility of their property.
    • Advocate with large vacant commercial owners in regards to subdivision of buildings to promote the more heavily demanded 1000-2000 sq. ft. locations.
    • Take a proactive approach to long sitting vacant properties by leveraging municipal assets such as the strategic property reserve.

Learn more about Investing in Gravenhurst and our local Target Sectors.

For more information about this project please contact the Economic Development Team at 705-687-2230 or Jeff Loney, Manager of Economic Development at

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