PCDC Plans ‘Aggressive Pursuit’ of New and Expanded Businesses

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

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A nationwide data, marketing and recruitment firm completed the “Discovery Phase” of its work with Phelps County and compiled a detailed report that will guide PCDC in its efforts to recruit new retailers.

Retail Strategies presented its first report to PCDC staff in mid-November. The report details the county’s demographics, current businesses, local real estate options and compares Phelps County’s retail offerings to similar-sized areas.

The report is a “starting point to begin a more robust and proactive marketing effort to retailers, brokers, developers and key industry contacts across the nation on behalf of the community.”

PCDC’s newly created Retail Recruitment Committee, headed up by local attorney Nate DeWald, will review the report in December and begin formulating an action plan.

“Our goal is be ready to hit the ground running in January,” Tillery said. “We're going to be aggressive in the pursuit of new and expanded businesses.”

With the help of the Retail Strategies report, PCDC will refine recruitment targets and craft a marketing plan.

Based on consumer buying patterns both in and out of the county, the report showed opportunities for Phelps County in three areas: restaurants/food and beverage, apparel and general merchandise.

Although there is some concern that the need for brick and mortar stores will continue to decline as more people shop online, the report debunked that idea.

According to Retail Strategies, one in four jobs nationally is in retail.

“Retail builds on retail,” the report said. “Retail economic impact adds up quickly. Retail attracts the workforce that attracts the primary jobs. Retail influences executives looking to locate their company in your community. Retail enhances quality of life that brings your children home. “

The report said that although online sales have grown and are important for retailers, e-commerce captured just 9.4 percent of sales nationally in 2019.

Other interesting retail stats:

  • 78 percent of consumers prefer to shop in store, and 73 percent want to try on or touch merchandise before a purchase.
  • The average time spent in a brick and mortar store is 54 minutes, while the average time spent on a single retail website is 38 minutes.

Tillery said PCDC’s work with Retail Strategies will also benefit current local retailers to help them better understand their market, see where there customers come from and how large their potential market could be.

“We can drill down into purchases and products sold with great detail,” Tillery said. “It will help them understand what customers want that may not be on their shelves.”  

Retail Strategies partnership with PCDC features on-demand reporting. The company can analyze and prepare data on behalf of PCDC at any time to help identify and execute opportunities within the market.

“Persistence and education are key to growth,” the report said. “We have developed tools that help us stay in constant contact, sharing our efforts and current retail trends with you, as well as strong marketing, to increase our odds of success.”

Retail Strategies will create marketing materials representing Holdrege and Phelps County and its opportunities and will promote the county at more than 15 conferences annually.

The company did caution that retail recruitment requires time and patience and that on average, it takes 18-36 months to close a deal with a new retailer.

Demographic information about Phelps County in the report included:

  • Phelps County population – 9,175
  • Phelps County daytime population – 10,953
  • Population estimate in a 15-mile radius – 10,583 people
  • Average home value in 2019 – $144,259
  • Median household income in 2019 – $55,541
  • 29 percent of Phelps County households are one-person households
  • 39 percent of Phelps County households are two-person households
  • Average employee salary – $46,506 (35% white collar/$62% blue collar/3% unclassified)

For more detailed information about the Retail Strategies report, please contact Ron Tillery at Ron@PhelpsCountyNE.com or (308) 995-4148.

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