Dana Point is a Southern California coastal city incorporated in 1989. Over the next few years, Dana Point will add new hotel, housing and commercial development across the city. We caught up with Kelly Reenders, Assistant City Manager / Director of Economic Development and Community Services at Dana Point right before the ICSC Las Vegas show to find out what the city’s leadership sees as necessary for retail success – not just in their city but for other markets.

Why hyper local is important: The current slate of new retail, restaurants and breweries opening in Dana Point are all local entrepreneurs. Some have an existing restaurant in town and are expanding or they are launching a brand-new venture. Because they live and work in the city, they understand it well enough to know what type of businesses the community will respond to and want to frequent.

Community connection: When a new business owner lives in the city he is automatically connected. It creates a customer following and established customer base that has a vested interest in the success of the business – in person, through word of mouth and on social media. Embrace authenticity: Dana Point benefits from an authentic waterman and maritime history. The city’s leadership proactively works with developers to ensure they embrace that history and authenticity in any new projects. Retail and commercial growth will only be successful if it honors the history of the city. Even the architecture should feel as if