By Jason Stone, INDEPENDENT NEWSMEDIA
While that’s no guarantee, it’s probably still a good chance considering the track record of the “Surprise Retail Survey.”
The results of the 2019 survey are in, and residents have spoken: Not only do they still want a Costco, they really want a Dillon’s in the city limits and would love to have a Hobby Lobby retail shop here.
“It really gives us a road map when we get this information,” said Surprise Economic Development Director Jeanine Jerkovic said. “We owe it to the residents to continually check in. It’s truly a proactive way to engage with the community.”
Ms. Jerkovic’s team will now go over the survey results of more than 3,100 respondents to help them plot out a strategy for attracting the restaurants and retails stores they want.
“Who doesn’t appreciate receiving a phone call and hearing that they’re wanted to come to a community?” Ms. Jerkovic said. “It’s a great tone to start a conversation in all relationships.”
Previous surveys the city have conducted were instrumental in helping attract popular restaurants In-N-Out Burger, 14321 W. Bell Road; Oregano’s Pizza Bistro, 16914 W. Bell Road; and Texas Roadhouse, 14175 W. Grand Ave.
“All we can promise is that everyone (on the list) will receive a call,” Ms. Jerkovic said. “There’s always a possibility with every conversation we have.”
That includes continued talks with Costco, which the city deliberately kept out of the survey since previous tallies had found 95% of residents wanted to see the big box store this far out west.
While Ms. Jerkovic can’t reveal any information about the possibility of Costco coming – or even where it might hypothetically go – there’s no doubt a feeling exists across the city that one day Surprise will have one.
“Costco is very similar to In-N-Out burger,” Ms. Jerkovic said. “It represents an arrival. It’s a market signal that you are in a significant market that has arrived.”
City officials are looking at targeted development areas for the desired projects.
“City Center is a priority,” Ms. Jerkovic said about the area around City Hall, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza, and Surprise Stadium, 15930 N. Bullard Ave. “We would like to see more restaurants on Bullard, so that’s one objective.”
Spots along the Loop 303 – with the incoming Toll Brothers development – and the soon-to-be-booming north Surprise area will also need more restaurants and retail soon, Ms. Jerkovic said.
The survey results also give city planners a chance to see what works here as respondents picked their favorite restaurants and retails stores that are already here.
Hurricane Grill and Wings, 11340 W. Bell Road #104, came up No. 1 on the restaurant list, while nearby Christian store Son Glow Boutique, 11294 W. Bell Road #105, took the top spot for the city’s best retail shop.
The city is also planning for more activities for the youth population. For the first time, the survey included a separate poll geared toward the under-25 demographic, as part of Mayor Skip Hall’s effort to improve options for teenagers and younger children.
Children listed a variety of entertainment options they want in the city, including go-kart racing, mini golf with an arcade, a paintball facility, ice and roller skating rinks and batting cages.
Strangely, just like the overall survey, the specific youth survey also turned up Costco as the top-requested retailer. Ms. Jerkovic said that was surprising.
“I wouldn’t have intuitively thought that would have come up that,” Ms. Jerkovic said. “I was surprised at the things they wanted that adults list like Tilly’s, a Van’s shoe store and Krispy Kreme.”
Here’s a look at the businesses that residents want and the ones they said they like the most:
MOST DESIRED RESTAURANTS
- Dillon’s KC BBQ
- El Pollo Loco
- Portillo’s Hot Dogs
- P.F. Chang’s
- Cheescake Factory
- Sweet Tomatoes
- Chart House
- Cracker Barrel
- Bobby-Q BBQ Restaurant and Steakhouse
Dillon’s was voted as the top restaurant choice, even though there is one eight miles away inside the Wildlife World Zoo, 16501 W. Northern Ave., Litchfield Park.
Smashburger, which already has 28 locations across Arizona, was second on the list since the closest ones are in Avondale, Glendale and Peoria.
El Pollo Loco was again high on the list. It has 19 locations across the Valley.
Portillo’s hot dogs has spots in Scottsdale and Tempe, but many Surprise residents want one here.
P.F. Chang’s, another perennial favorite, has nine locations across the Valley, but the closest to Surprise are Arrowhead and Goodyear.
The rest of the top 10 for desired restaurants is Cheesecake Factory (five Valley locations, including Arrowhead), Sweet Tomatoes (seven Valley spots), Chart House (a Scottsdale seafood restaurant), Cracker Barrel (seven Valley locations, including Loop 101 and Bell) and the Bobby-Q BBQ Restaurant and Steakhouse, which has three Valley locations but none on the west side.
MOST DESIRED RETAILERS
- Hobby Lobby
- Whole Foods
- Home Goods
- TJ Maxx
- Old Navy
- J.C. Penney
Surprise residents have asked for a Hobby Lobby store for years. Ms. Jerkovic hopes the city has the ammunition to make it happen.
“The beauty in this is we have such a great message” Ms. Jerkovic said. “It’s not just a cold call. We have 3,000 people who said you amongst a very select few would be desired. That makes a big difference when they are getting approached by different locations everywhere.”
The national retailer has 10 locations in the Valley, including one in Arrowhead that’s the only spot in the West Valley.
Another fabric and craft business, Jo-Ann Stores, took second on the list. There are nine of those across the Valley, but the closest ones to Surprise are in Arrowhead and Avondale.
“We are in a maker boom right now,” Ms. Jerkovic said about the craft trend.
Trendy grocer Whole Foods came in third on the wanted retailer list. There are ten of those in Arizona but none in the Phoenix area west of the Arizona State Route 51 freeway.
Home Goods, which obviously sells goods for your home, has 11 Valley area locations, including one in Arrowhead. It finished fourth on the list.
Surprise residents picked IKEA for its fifth choice, but that seems extremely unlikely since the Swedish furniture giant pulled plans to build in Glendale last May.
LOCAL FAVORITE RESTAURANTS
- Hurricane Grill & Wings
- Nick’s Diner II
- State 48 Brewery
- Rio Mirage Cafe
- Vogue Bistro
- Babbo Italian Eatery
- Saigon Kitchen
- Jim’s Burgers & Eggs
- Oregano’s Pizza Bistro
If you’ve never eaten at Hurricane Grill and Wings, apparently you are missing out. The American food restaurant was voted the best in Surprise.
“We think that’s a great opportunity for our local retailers to have bragging rights and promote themselves,” Ms. Jerkovic said. “It’s a fun way to get the word out and what they can offer.”
Pieology, 14345 W. Bell Road No. 100, is showing the impact it has made in less than a year by finishing second on the list.
“That speaks to trend of making your own fired pie,” Ms. Jerkovic said. “We have a lot of diversity in what is almost fast-casual [dining].”
Local favorite Nick’s Diner II, 13765 N. Litchfield Road, got the third most votes from residents, making it the top local restaurant on the list.
State 48 Brewery, 13823 W. Bell Road, is another local establishment on the list. The Surprise-based brewer opened up a location in downtown Phoenix last fall.
Mexican restaurant Rio Mirage Café, 13863 W. Bell Road, gave the city another local one on the list.
The rest of the top 10 restaurant favorites included Vogue Bistro, 15411 W. Waddell Road No. 108; Babbo Italian Eatery, 16433 W. Bell Road; Saigon Kitchen, 14071 W. Bell Road; Jim’s Burgers & Eggs, 17019 W. Greenway Road; and Oregano’s.
Surprisingly left out of the top 10 is In-and-Out, which didn’t make the cut despite all the years of demand for it.
LOCAL FAVORITE RETAILERS
- Son Glow Boutique
- Kimbur Pet Wash
- Musical Surprise
- PinkaBella Cupcakes
- Gifts to Go
- My Goodies
- Joe Streckfuss Plumbing
- Rocket Fizz
- Party Planet
- Dale’s Town and Country
No. 1 non-profit
The most amazing part of the city’s favorite retailer list is the business that finished first doesn’t even keep its own profits.
Son Glow Boutique is a non-profit public charity that sends 100% of its proceeds to missionaries in a Panama jungle.
“I figured I could raise more money if I opened a store,” said Shirley Madkins, who started the business six years ago with her husband.
With its sales of items such as jewelry, clothing, pins and knick-knacks, the store was recently able to buy a $68,000 tractor for the Panamanian missionaries in need.
The rest of the favorite-retailer list isn’t exactly a Who’s Who of Surprise businesses.
It includes a dog groomer, a plumber and a party store.
Kimbur Pet Wash, 17031 W. Bell Road No. 103, finished second on the list, just ahead of Musical Surprise, 16846 W. Bell Road No. 106; PinkaBella Cupcakes, 13681 N. Litchfield Road No. 136; and Gifts to Go, 11340 W. Bell Road, No. 128.
The rest of the top ten included: My Goodies, 15170 W. Bell Road No. 106; Joe Streckfuss Plumbing, 11340 W. Bell Road, No. 131; Rocket Fizz, 13681 N. Litchfield Road, No. 122; Party Planet, 13839 W. Bell Road; and Dale’s Town and Country, 14320 W. Waddell Road.
“Retail is very trendy, so it’s good to continually check in with your population,” Ms. Jerkovic said.
To see full results of the survey, click SurpriseAZ.gov/retailsurvey.