Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.

Local was already in play before the iPhone changed the online marketing game in 2007, but the mobile shift has raised business capabilities and, more importantly, visitor expectations. Some of the things you need to learn to cope will be brutal, especially if you have limited resources, but it's time to start allocating some of that budget to local optimization now.

Express announced the opening of its first factory outlet store at the Tanger Outlets National Harbor in Washington, D.C. The U.S. specialty retail apparel chain plans to open approximately 30 additional factory outlet locations throughout the U.S. in 2014. "We're particularly excited about our outlet initiative, which represents a new format for Express," said Michael Weiss, the chairman and chief executive officer of Express. The factory outlet concept supports the retailer's growth strategy of becoming more accessible to the 20-something, fashion-conscious, yet price-sensitive customer. 

Detroit, a city famously filled with abandoned buildings and blighted neighborhoods, has a major selling point for entrepreneurs: If you have an idea you want to test, Detroit has the space for it. A growing number of aspiring merchants are turning empty storefronts and warehouses into experimental labs for temporary businesses. In other cities, "pop-up" shops often house stores or marketing stunts. In Detroit — a troubled city that holds great appeal for some entrepreneurs — these spaces are the local economy's incubation chambers.

Minneapolis-based Room & Board has hired Denver-based Roth Sheppard Architects to design the expansion of its Colorado store in Cherry Creek. Room & Board first partnered with Roth Sheppard on the renovation and redesign of its showroom at 222 Detroit St....

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