Village Center business picking up, officials say
A woman carries a shopping bag Village Center Friday in Burr Ridge. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 24, 2012 1:29AM
BURR RIDGE — It wasn’t long after the Burr Ridge Village Center was constructed in 2007 that the economy started to fall apart.
“There were a lot of rosy projections on how much it was going to generate,” Burr Ridge Finance Director Jerry Sapp said.
With the troubled economy, not all of those promises have come to fruition, but Sapp said things are looking up.
“You see the numbers creeping up now,” said Sapp, who keeps track of the amount of sales tax generated both village-wide and at the 30-plus stores and restaurants that are part of the Village Center.
The village expects to collect about $2.16 million in sales tax village-wide in 2011-2012. Of that, $299,109 is from sales at the Village Center.
“The state runs approximately three months behind. The estimated amount should be pretty close though,” Sapp said.
The village also collects a .25 percent non-home rule sales tax, which adds about $52,000 to the village’s share of sales tax generated by the mall in the last fiscal year. In total, sales at the Village Center accounted for about 16 percent of the village’s total sales tax take.
The total take is about $9,000 more than was collected from Village Center sales in 2010-2011. The Village Center accounted for about 17 percent of the village’s total sales tax receipts in 2008-2009, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011.
While the village keeps track of sales tax revenue, Village Center Manager Scott Rolston watches year-to-year sales to gauge the health of the center’s businesses. And its last checkup was good.
“Our sales are up about 16 percent over the year before. The stores are doing well,” said Rolston, who said some businesses report an increase of more than 20 percent over sales at this time last year.
Rolston also keeps track of the number of cars coming into the center, which he said has also grown.
“That’s a good indication,” he said.
Not only are sales and traffic growing, so is the number of stores available to Village Center shoppers. Just Ducky fine arts and gifts plans to open a store on Sept. 1.
“They just signed their lease yesterday,” Rolston said.
And there’s still room for more.
“We’re being asked out a lot,” said Mayor Gary Grasso, referring to a steady stream of inquiries from businesses interested in coming to Village Center. “People are knocking on our doors and they want to do stuff in Burr Ridge.”
Given the choice, Grasso would like to see more entertainment venues. As proven by the success of Coopers Hawk Restaurant and Winery, such destinations mean tax dollars for the village.
Cooper’s Hawk Restaurant and Winery is the only Village Center business ever to be included among the village’s top 10 sales tax producers. It’s been near the top of the list every year since 2008.