The Guthrie City Council unanimously voted Tuesday evening to bring in a third-party business recruitment business to provide retail and restaurant recruitment/development services.
The contract will allow Retail Attractions, LLC to provide the basic tools that the City needs such as trade area demographics, retail gap analysis and a one page marketing piece with city market highlights, according to a city spokesperson.
The contract was awarded for $17,500 for a seven month term from March 1, 2017 through September 30, 2017.
The City document states in lieu of making cold calls on targeted retail/restaurant prospects, Retail Attractions will set-up meetings for the City of Guthrie with the appropriate representatives. Retail Attractions will actively recruit retail targets identified by the City and represent the City of Guthrie at retail conventions and meetings were they do not have a staff presence.
“It carries more weight when it comes from a third-party then it does from out of City Hall because there’s always the thought if its produce internally at City Hall there may be some bias,” City Manager Leroy Alsup said in the city council workshop before the council meeting.
Alsup had a working partnership with Retail Attractions President Rickey Hayes when he previously worked in McAlester.
Hayes says since he began his company he has represented more than 400 cities in 37 states, including 200 in Oklahoma.
Hayes says in 2016 Guthrie ranked 50th in the state when it came to total retail sales ($160 million).
“Your population is growing,” Hayes told council members. “Your consumers are here.”
Alsup informed the council to proceed with caution.
“We have to have realistic expectations because some communities, who hire a firm like this, have unrealistic expectations that next week we are going to announce a new store. It’s not something that happens overnight. Some of these projects can take up to three years to mature,” Alsup said.
“There is no guarantee that we will get a retailer. I think that the likelihood of success is strong,” Alsup finished up with.
Hayes finished his presentation by saying, “Every community that has ever hired our company and kept me hired for the long haul has gotten new retail. I’m batting 1,000. I haven’t missed one yet. I’m talking about cities of 3,500 to 250,000.”