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Why the retail business is suddenly booming in Baton Rouge

NBC 33
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POSTED: Monday, July 28, 2014 - 5:02pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 9:53am

If you've lived in Baton Rouge for more than a few years, you've noticed more retails stores and restaurants popping up across the Capitol City. Local real estate experts tell Rachael Penton that trend is going to continue.

If you ask Baton Rouge native and business owner Stan Ripp how much the city has grown over the years, he has a lot to say.

"A lot of it looks the same, but where a lot of the apartment complex's are now none of that was there before. So to have seen it grow that much is actually really exciting," says Stan Ripp, Barcadia Co-owner.

In fact, some may say business in Baton Rouge, is booming.

"I think it's really driven by everything that's going on from the industrial boom. I mean it's really a renaissance up and down the core of our river."

According to Deane Bryson with the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors, more people are moving into the Baton Rouge area.

"The unemployment rate's at 4.5 percent. There's plenty of jobs to be had," says Bryson.

And that means - more big businesses are moving in too.

"Those demographics and those metrics really drive the retail users to our market," adds Bryson.

"Several national retail chains are setting foot in the capitol city. Just in the last year Trader Joes, Costco and LA Fitness have entered the market. Even more chains like Red Robin and Home Goods are opening in the coming months, making it clear that retailers from across the country are eyeing Baton Rouge."

"I think you'll see a lot of restaurants. Maybe some family oriented retail entertainment concepts and at the same time probably a little bit of regional stuff that you're familiar with from either New Orleans or South Louisiana," says Bryson.

One prime example- Barcadia. The popular French Quarter bar and food joint famous for it's vintage arcade games inside is currently renovating this building on Highland Road.

"It was always about location, location, location. Finding the right property to go in. We're very bullish on Baton Rouge and the property presented itself so we decided to take the leap at this time."

Owners say there's no better time than now to expand into the Capitol City.

"We know that the population growth has been outstanding. The growth of the school has been outstanding. The reinvestment of capital in the apartments and the areas around the LSU campus were outstanding so just looking at all of those things put together it made perfect sense to take the location to Baton Rouge," says Ripp.

Bryson says you can look to a couple of areas for even more growth in the near future.

"I think you can really focus on downtown. In the past you could get a full service office lease downtown but you couldn't really have a full service lifestyle. Now you've got some grocers coming in, some retailers."

"Just continuing on down through Bluebonnet. The same thing. A lot of single family homes. A lot of residential growth happening out there."

So according to experts and entrepreneurs alike, Baton Rouge receives a "B+" for booming business, with plenty of room to grow.

"We know that good operations are going to do well in Baton Rouge. People love to eat here. They love their sports and I think that Baton Rouge is a great market," says Ripp.

Just in case you were wondering, owners hope to have Barcadia ready to open by early Fall- just in time for football season.  

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