The Town of Clayton might pay an outside firm $37,000 to study and recruit in its retail sector.
Under the terms of a proposed contract, Alabama-based Retail Strategies LLC would research Clayton’s demographics and what the town has in terms of restaurants, shops and other retail businesses. The company would then set up a recruitment plan to attract the right retailers.
ElectriCities, an adviser to North Carolina’s public power towns, is encouraging the town to hire the consulting firm.
Town Manager Steve Biggs said ElectriCities has partnered with Retail Strategies to save money on marketing costs and to provide an additional service to public power towns across North Carolina. That service would come at a cost to Clayton, though ElectriCities would foot some of the bill, Biggs said.
A standard three-year contract with Retail Strategies is about $90,000, but Clayton would pay just $37,000. Clayton Councilman Michael Grannis called that a great price, but he asked Biggs and his staff to do a little more research on the company.
“I think on the surface it looks good and does have potential,” Grannis said during the council’s Aug. 18 meeting. “I would like to know a little more about the (company’s) track record.”
Biggs said in addition to the cost benefit, the company can provide a service the town does not offer in-house. It would be a sustained effort, he said, of experts representing the town’s interests.
Clayton has commissioned its own studies in recent years to see where locals spend their money. But while that research was valuable in understanding the flow of money, the town never took the “next step,” something Retail Strategies is proposing to do, Biggs said.
“The front end is looking at our retail profile and from that they identify specific businesses that would meet sectors for which we are underserved,” Biggs said. “As the effort goes forward, they actively seek to recruit those businesses to our community.”
The Town of Clayton is one of more than 70 public power towns across the state. Biggs said ElectriCities contacted Clayton about the deal.
“ElectriCities said they are looking at partnering with towns where they think this would be most successful,” Biggs said.
The Town Council did not vote on the contract with Retail Strategies, and Biggs said staff will get references from other towns that have worked with the company.