Shop at home

Published 9:13 am Friday, January 14, 2011

AHOSKIE – Hertford County and the town of Ahoskie are joining forces in an effort to expand its retail sector.

The local government entities of both the county and the town have agreed to pay for the expertise of a Fort Worth, Texas company in developing a sustainable marketing program that will target and hopefully attract new businesses to the area.

On Tuesday, members of the Ahoskie Town Council agreed to spend $11,000 towards a $25,000 contract with The Buxton Group. In December, the Hertford County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to fund $11,000 towards the project. The remaining $3,000 will be paid by the Mid-East Commission.

“Buxton researches shopping trend data and then develops a strategy for our local market area,” explained Ahoskie Town Manager Tony Hammond. “Their main priority is to help us and the county attract new businesses.”

Ahoskie Mayor Linda Blackburn noted that some may question the expenditure of such funds.

“They need to know that we’re not in the marketing business; we need an expert in that field and from our past meetings with Buxton I strongly believe they are the right choice to develop a marketing plan for Ahoskie and Hertford County,” Blackburn said.

Hammond added that from talking with others in the marketing field, Buxton is “a very strong developer with a great track record.”

According to Buxton’s proposal, they will use their “CommunityID” process to identify and analyze all households in Hertford County’s and Ahoskie’s drive-time trade area. Previous work performed by the company has revealed that customers shop by convenience, measuring distance by time rather than mileage.

Based on more than 75,000 categories of lifestyles, purchase behaviors and media reading, the households in the local drive-time trade area are assessed to gain an understanding of the types of retailers that would be attracted to Hertford County/Ahoskie.

As part of their work, Buxton will perform a retail site assessment and match retailers and restaurants to the local area.

Boasting of possessing the largest database of retail information in the world, The Buxton Group works with over 1,300 retailers and has recruited over 17 million square feet of retail space for the 300-plus municipalities stretched over 36 states that use the company’s services.

The presence of new businesses in Hertford County/Ahoskie also increases local tax revenues (property and sales tax) and provides for employment opportunities.

Now with the contract approval from both the county and the town, Buxton will immediately begin the first phase of its work.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal