PCDC Offers New Service to Help Area Retailers Grow

Monday, January 01, 2018

A new service will be available to Phelps County retail businesses in 2018 that will help business owners identify opportunities to grow their businesses, thus improving the quality of life for residents.

The Phelps County Development Corporation has signed a contract with Buxton Co., a nationwide statistic and marketing firm, to provide current business owners and future entrepreneurs with the data they need to be successful.

“We see significant opportunity in Phelps County for retail growth and development,” PCDC Executive Director Ron Tillery said. “We think it is extremely important that we are more proactive and intentional in our efforts to spark growth.”

That’s why PCDC is contracting with Buxton and making its services available to all retailers in the county.

Parker Key, regional director of sales for Buxton Co., said the biggest value to Phelps County with this service will be to improve the quality of life for residents and to generate tax revenue to continue to improve the community.

Key said Buxton will conduct a thorough market analysis of the area to identify the best new opportunities for existing retailers or the best potential new retailers to bring into the market. The report will indicate what customers are buying in the community and what they are buying at retailers outside the community.

In a presentation to PCDC, Buxton shared a preliminary leakage/surplus report that showed Phelps County has strong sales in the automobile sales and parts business, but it has potential for another $8 million in sales in the clothing and clothing accessories business. That means that residents are spending more than $8 million on those products outside of the county and that some of that money could be captured locally by providing new products.

This type of data can help an entrepreneur who is considering opening a new business or expanding a product line make a decision based on actual statistics rather than guessing or word-of-mouth comments.

As an example, Buxton said a community may have a thriving hardware store. But, a statistical analysis may reveal that there is leakage (or customers are leaving the community to make purchases elsewhere) in electronics. The hardware store may then decide to start selling televisions and other electronics to keep that money local.

In addition to identifying new sales potential, Buxton also provides businesses with marketing tools to reach those customers. In the hardware store example, Buxton would be able to provide the store with mailing lists of potential new customers and help the owner create an e-mail, social media or direct mail campaign to announce the new line of products and attract those customers to the store.

In addition to helping existing businesses or local entrepreneurs, the company’s market analysis will help identify best-fit new retail targets. Buxton then would provide PCDC with contact information and a strategy for recruiting those new retailers.

“We help to empower local leaders, entrepreneurs and business leaders to make evidence-based decisions based on analytical findings,” Key said.

Tillery said the follow-up strategies offered by Buxton was one of the reasons PCDC chose to contract with them. The company will help with presentations and education instead of just providing statistics.

Buxton works with large major retailers such as Fed Ex, Shopko and Pizza Hut. They have worked with large cities, but they have also helped other communities in rural Nebraska such as Kearney, Lexington and Fremont and smaller Midwest communities, such as Mount Vernon, Mo., population 4,577; and Broken Bow, Okla., population 4,103.

Through PCDC’s contract, the Buxton statistics and services will be made available to all retail businesses in Phelps County starting in 2018. Watch for more details coming soon.

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