HAYWARD — The city is rife with Money and Brains. It's teeming with a Bohemian Mix. And more than anything, it's overflowing with American Dreams.

Those are three of 66 resident profiles used by the Texas-based Buxton Co., which was hired by the city to examine Hayward's retail corridors in order to craft a plan to fill storefronts with the sorts of shops that residents are patronizing elsewhere.

The company looked at spending patterns, analyzing what residents buy and where they buy it. The study found significant "leakage" — residents going out of town to buy goods and services — in all the areas studied, with a particularly heavy stream escaping the Foothill Boulevard and downtown area.

"What it means is that there's potential for retail, but we're not getting it," Councilman Bill Quirk said.

Among the things Quirk found most interesting about the study, he said, was the profile of the type of people who live in Hayward. In particular, he said the two segments labeled by Buxton as Bohemian Mix and American Dreams — which are trademarked terms — "reflect a younger, ethnically diverse Hayward" that is looking for urban resources, but in a setting with more open space and suburban homes.

According to Buxton, Bohemian Mix consists of "a collection of young, mobile urbanites ... the nation's most liberal lifestyles. A progressive mix of young singles and couples, students and professionals, Hispanics, Asians, African-Americans and whites. In their funky row houses and apartments, Bohemian Mixers are the early adopters who are quick to check out the latest movie, nightclub, laptop and microbrew."


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American Dreams "is a living example of how ethnically diverse the nation has become: More than half the residents are Hispanic, Asian or African-American. In these multilingual neighborhoods — one in 10 residents speaks a language other than English — middle-aged immigrants and their children live in middle-class comfort."

The results show a booming population of ideal customers who are underserved by existing businesses, said Sean Brooks, the city's economic development manager.

"We are suffering from a negative perception," he said. "The proof is in the pudding."

He then pointed to a list of retailers that Buxton believes could be successful in three Hayward business corridors — Hesperian Boulevard, Foothill and downtown, and Mission Boulevard.

"This shows Hayward could be supporting all these stores," Brooks said. "The next step is to follow up with these retailers and present our findings."

Brooks acknowledged that "it is not a robust time" and that "retailers are very picky," but armed with the Buxton report, they can make a strong case that Hayward would be a good location to expand into in the future.

Quirk said the study also could encourage local entrepreneurs to set up shop.

"If Red Lobster would work, could you have a locally owned restaurant that would appeal to a similar clientele?" he said. "If national firms aren't expanding, what about the local guy with some money in the bank, who is willing to take a risk and work 16 hours a day — that might be more likely right now. God knows we have great spots downtown, right next to the theater, just waiting for the right business."

Eric Kurhi covers Hayward. Reach him at 510-293-2473. Read our blog at www.ibabuzz.com/hayword.

hayward's
untapped potential
A study by Texas-based Buxton Co. identified retailers that would well serve three Hayward business corridors -- Hesperian Boulevard, Foothill and downtown, and Mission Boulevard.
The retailers included:

Hesperian:
  • Aaron Brothers
    Art and Framing
  • Abercrombie and Fitch
  • Brooks Brothers
  • Coldwater Creek
  • Cheesecake Factory
  • Outback Steakhouse
    Foothill and downtown:
  • Bed, Bath and Beyond
  • Famous Dave's Legendary Pit Bar-B-Que
  • Lone Star Steakhouse
  • Play It Again Sports
  • Red Lobster
  • Red Robin Gourmet Burgers
  • Ruby Tuesday
    Mission:
  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Brookstone
  • Guitar Center
  • Pro Golf
  • Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Trader Joe's