Covington currently has a strong retail core, medical/health companies, jobs in education and some construction jobs. The city is working to attract light manufacturing, back-office professional firms, more health care/medical companies and a variety of businesses to build out the proposed town center. Filling the town center with a mix of apparel, home and garden, restaurants, and entertainment companies will ensure the area continues to grow. Additional big box retail partners such as Target, JCPenney and Sears are desired tenants. Key potential anchors of the retail component of a Covington town center include a grocery store (new or existing), food services, entertainment, lifestyle tenants and recreation facilities such as health clubs and movie theaters.
As of 2007, Covington’s retail environment serves residents in a 25-mile radius around the city. While the population of Covington is only 17,500, the retail trade area serves a population of more than 78,000. Visitors from more than four ZIP codes come to Covington to enjoy many restaurant options in the downtown retail core and to shop at some of the area’s most popular retail outlets: Costco, Home Depot, Kohl’s, Wal-Mart, Fred Meyer, Safeway, Big Lots, Big 5 Sporting Goods, Pier 1 Imports, Dollar Store, Office Depot, Petco, UPS Store, Washington Workwear, Walgreens, and RiteAid. During the past decade, retail development has occurred at a dramatic pace.
A main retail core, flanked by professional and medical office buildings, is the core of Covington’s current downtown. The city’s major employers are in retail, health care, and the public sector. Many local residents commute out of the area for high wage jobs. The area’s largest employer is the Kent School District, followed by Wal-Mart, Multicare Health System, Fred Meyer and Costco. Others include Home Depot, Kohl’s, Safeway, City of Covington, Valley Medical and Petco.