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Retail growth coming?

AHOSKIE – The news of possible retail growth in Ahoskie and Hertford County will be shared next week.

The public is invited to a 7 p.m. meeting on Thursday, Oct. 20 at the Ahoskie Inn where The Buxton Group is scheduled to unveil its months of research pertaining to the attraction and expansion of retailers here locally.

The meeting will be hosted by the Hertford County Board of Commissioners, Hertford County Economic Development, the Ahoskie Town Council and the Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce. Those planning to attend are urged to RSVP by calling the Ahoskie Town Hall at 332-5146.

The Buxton Group, based in Fort Worth, Texas, was hired in an effort to develop a sustainable marketing program that will target and hopefully attract new businesses to the area. Earlier this year, the Ahoskie Town Council agreed to spend $11,000 towards a $25,000 contract with The Buxton Group. In December of last year, the Hertford County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to fund $11,000 towards the project. The remaining $3,000 was 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.”

Buxton’s Community ID division developed a program specifically designed to help small client governments, economic development organizations and chambers of commerce identify and recruit retailers. Buxton officials say that program assists in the recruitment by identifying retailers that have existing locations in similar-sized communities.

In the case of Hertford County/Ahoskie, Buxton used their Community ID process to identify and analyze all households in the county’s and town’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.

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

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.

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.

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