Why shop local?
City officials and business owners in most small towns across the country are interested in keeping the business they have and bringing more business to town. Members of the Kasson Economic Development Authority visited with the sales director of a company that specializes in those very things; Buxton out of Ft. Worth, Texas.
The group met Feb 7 and Sales Director Cody Guntenson of Buxton attended the meeting by phone.
Business retention and retail recruitment are just two of the services Buxton offers municipalities across the country.
Staff members use analytic software the company has developed to track the buying decisions of residents in specific zip codes within a certain driving distance and local merchants can have access to those buying decisions.
For example, if 1,000 residents of Kasson each buy a 12-pack of a certain soft drink in Rochester every Monday, the merchants in Kasson that sell that soft drink may want to change their marketing strategies by ensuring they have it in stock; it’s prominently displayed; or it’s advertised more heavily.
Guntenson explained that customers’ names aren’t used; just their buying data as compiled through their credit card purchases and sorted by zip code.
Also, this data can be used to analyze if a new type of store is needed in town. For example, if 1,000 people from Kasson eat at a certain taco place three times per week, the city could use that information to attract that type of restaurant to town.
Members of the Authority emphasized that they would not want to take customers away from any local business; however, if a new type of business brought more people to town – like a taco place – other businesses might benefit from that.
“A rising tide raises all boats,” agreed the group.
Buxton would charge for certain services about $50,000/year. The money for the service is in the budget already since the city no longer employs a planning director.
Mayor Chris McKern, who sits on the Authority as a council appointee explained that the decision to hire the company would also come before city council.
Guntenson will also be at the March 4 city council planning session. He said the company has worked with 750 municipalities and 3,500 retailers across the country in the 25 years it’s been in business.
Other members of the Authority include Michael Peterson, Mike Langan, Richard Wegner, Julie Olmsted, Jeff Stevenson, and Dan Eggler along with