City, IDA to partner on business recruitment

Published 9:12 am Friday, May 11, 2012

The City of Bainbridge and the Development Authority will soon begin using computer software to help them pinpoint what type of businesses would thrive in Bainbridge, if they were recruited to come here.

At its last meeting on May 1, the Bainbridge City Council unanimously approved a contract with the Buxton Group of Fort Worth, Texas. The Buxton Group maintains what it claims is the largest national database of consumer households.

According to the company’s website, www.buxtonco.com, the company’s databases “hold information on more than 120 million households and up to seven individuals per household. We break this consumer data down into more than 75,000 customer characteristics, including brand loyalties, lifestyle choices, hobbies, purchasing behavior and media preferences.”

According to City Manager Chris Hobby, The Buxton Group’s software is primarily used in two ways: 1) to use local customer profiles to predict whether a business would be successful in a given location, and 2) to help existing local businesses use the customer profiles to see which products sell well in a local market and which ones do not.

The first year’s fee to use Buxton Group’s Web-based software is $35,000 — there is a less expensive renewal fee, Hobby said. The Development Authority has pledged to cover am equal share of what the City of Bainbridge puts in; therefore, as it stands, the city’s share is $17,500.

The city manager said there are other potential organizations willing to participate and share the cost, such as Bainbridge College and possibly the Board of Education. Hobby said some of the software’s cost may also be recovered by charging local businesses a fee when they desire to use the software to their benefit.

Amanda Glover, the director of the city’s Community Development and Communications Division, will serve as the software’s designated user. Glover will train on the software during May and the system should be up-and-running for use by June, Hobby said.

Hobby said he initially learned of The Buxton Group’s product from The Post-Searchlight Publisher Jeff Findley. Findley was familiar with the Buxton Group being used to successfully recruit businesses in Ahoskie, N.C., the community where he worked prior to arriving in Bainbridge.