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City Council hears proposal from retail consultant

At Tuesday night’s Bainbridge City Council meeting, the council heard a proposal from Brooke Holbert with Retail Strategies on the potential of partnering with Bainbridge. Retail Strategies works with municipalities throughout the country to identify retailers who may have an interest in expanding into the area based on needs and demographics.

After identifying potential retailers, they work as a sales rep for the community and work to entice them to expand into the area.

“They work with you using data and they work with the community to identify retailers that may fit,” City manager Chris Hobby said. “Then they develop packages and they pursue that retailer on the community’s behalf.”

The city previously partnered with Buxton Consulting to attempt to lure retailers to Bainbridge, but they only provide the data whereas Retail Strategies also serves as sales rep for the community.

If the city agrees to hire Retail Strategies, it would be on a three-year contract with a total cost of $125,000. The city would have the option to void the contract at the end of each of the three years.

After hearing the proposal city council members Roslyn Palmer, Phil Long and Don Whaley all agreed that they would like more information before agreeing to hire the consultant.

“I have mixed emotions over it,” Palmer said of the presentation. “It does some great potential. I would like us to really explore the other communities to see their successes.”

Whaley added “I was impressed…I don’t know if we can afford to do it, but I was encouraged. I do want us to look into it. I’d like to sit down and talk with him a little more about what retailers he think he could bring to Bainbridge.”

Long said that he would like to analyze the information more and that he was not completely sold.

Palmer also said that she would be interested in looking into partnering with the Chamber of Commerce.

If the city agrees to go forward, Holbert said that on average the first 90 days are spent compiling the data through a mixture of database research and boots on the ground analysis.

They will look for information including the potential space available for development such as the land by Walmart or redevelopment such as the former K-Mart.

They will also look at information such as what type of retailers similar communities are successfully supporting and where potential customers are traveling to Bainbridge from. 

They will then identify specific retailers that they believe fit the needs of Bainbridge and whose needs Bainbridge matches before beginning the process of selling Bainbridge to potential retailers.

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