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The City of Paris and the consulting firm, The Retail Coach, released today an update on the city’s initiative to expand the retail base in Paris, and ultimately, the sales tax base.
With a bustling historic Downtown, miles of highway frontage, a city-owned and operated airport and 1,000-acre lake, The Retail Coach finds Paris is positioned to be the next great residential and business destination in Texas.
And with positive growth comes the need for an expanded retail and restaurant sector. “We feel that our community is underserved when it comes to choices for dining and shopping,” said City Manager John Godwin. “As a result, critical sales tax dollars are leaving Paris when residents purchase what they want and need in surrounding cities.”
To stop that sales leakage, the City has hired The Retail Coach, a national recruitment and development consulting firm that is already at work in the community. “We are gathering the data and information to clearly identify Paris’ opportunities for retail expansion,” said Aaron Farmer, vice president of The Retail Coach. “The next step will be to develop strategies to help existing businesses meet this demand and identify regional and national retailers to fill the gaps.”
The consulting firm will be performing the following duties:
Retail Study Components The Retail Coach assesses actual consumer demand through studies that include a Retail Trade Area determination and Retail Gap/Opportunity Analysis.
The Retail Gap/Opportunity Analysis will illuminate which of 52 retail categories in Paris are exhibiting deficiencies or leakages.
License Plate Survey The Retail Trade Area determination includes a license plate survey in which The Retail Coach staff are collecting and cataloging license plate samples from consumers shopping in Paris at selected retailers. A search of their addresses will determine the locational sources of these customers. The consumer samples are then plotted to develop and support a thorough picture of the distance consumers are traveling from to shop or dine in Paris. Additionally, The Retail Coach staff is conducting interviews with existing retailers and other City stakeholders to assess the current retail environment.
Workforce Population Study As a business and healthcare hub for Northeast Texas and Southeastern Oklahoma, another important component of the project is a study of the workplace population that details the total establishments by industry, associated establishment and employee counts within Paris.
“Paris has a very strong workforce with three Fortune 500 companies that include Campbell’s Soup, Kimberly-Clark and Florida Power & Light,” said Farmer. “Our insight into the ‘work here’ population versus the ‘live here’ population is particularly important to restaurants that must have both a strong lunch and dinner trade.”
Workshop for Business Owners All of The Retail Coach’s findings and strategies will be presented to local businesses during a free workshop that will be announced by the City in the near future. “A primary goal is to help existing retailers and restaurants increase their business,” said Farmer. “With an understanding of the spending patterns and purchasing behaviors of consumers, owners and managers can better target their marketing and offer more of the products currently missing.”
“We have so many advantages to build upon, including strong consumer demand, and our current business partners are integral to achieving our vision for Paris as a premier destination for living, working and recreation,” added Godwin.