Phelps County Retailers Excited About Free Marketing Services

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Local business owners are excited about new possibilities to grow after attending a recent PCDC presentation.

The Phelps County Development Corporation has contracted with Buxton Co., a nationwide statistics and marketing firm, to study the local market and provide information on buying patterns to help local businesses increase market share and discover new sales opportunities.

PCDC invited business owners and community members to learn about the new service and how it can help business owners and entrepreneurs at three meetings in late January.

DeEtte Bailey, owner of Gifts & Things/Double D Cleaners, attended the informational presentation by Buxton and said she plans to participate in the new service.

“The important thing for business owners to know is that now it’s in our court to go to PCDC to be able to use this information that is available to us,” DeEtte said. “And, it is fabulous that PCDC is offering this service to us at no charge.”

DeEtte is excited about the new social media promotional opportunities and being able to receive suggestions on new products to add to her gift store.

Jessica Kraus, a co-owner at Lost Way Brewery, said she was impressed with the information provided at the initial meeting and can’t wait to use Buxton’s LSMx marketing app that allows businesses to send marketing campaigns right from their phones.

She was surprised to learn at the meeting about how much money is “leaked” out of our community.

Buxton estimated an annual retail leakage of $14,110,664 in Phelps County. Retail categories with the highest unmet demand within Phelps County are furniture and home furnishing stores; electronics and appliance stores; clothing and clothing accessories stores; sporting goods; hobby, book and music stores; and foodservice and drinking places.

“It is pretty eye opening to know how we can improve as business owners in the community to keep that money here,” Jessica said. “If we can just get 1 percent of that money that we are losing, it can improve our community and businesses and have a really huge impact.”

Carley Bruning, PCDC’s Director of Business Services, said more than 60 people attended the three initial Buxton presentations at the Sun Theater. That presentation was designed to give all business owners and interested entrepreneurs an overview of the program and the same opportunity to learn about its potential.

“The feedback that I received has been very positive,” Carley said. “People who did not attend received phone calls from people who did encouraging them to learn more about the Buxton services. It’s also prompted a lot of entrepreneurs to reach out to us with the ideas that they have been thinking about.”

Carley said the PCDC staff is still receiving training on the Buxton services and how they can use the information and services to help local business owners. After a few more trainings, they will be ready to partner with a few “guinea pig” local business owners to begin identifying new markets and work with the company’s LSMx marketing app.

“We have a handful of local businesses who want to be our first trial,” Carley said. “They will be a sounding board for the next round of business owners, retailers and service providers.”

The LSMx marketing app will be available to 25 businesses at a time. Business owners can log into the app and schedule marketing campaigns via social media, Google ads, e-mail or direct mail.

“I really feel like this is going to help when we have our festivals and activities,” Carley said. A business owner can schedule a campaign that will go directly to the phones and emails of people who are in the area.

The Buxton presentation was recorded on video and may be viewed by any business owners who missed the initial presentation. For more information or to view the presentation on video, contact Carley Bruning at PCDC at carley@phelpscounty.ne.com or (308) 995-4148.

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