Council hires Retail Strategies for second year of three-year project

Taft is signing up for the second year of a three-year project utilizing an Alabama-based recruitment firm to bring try to bring new businesses to Taft.
The Council approved the $45,000 contract with retail Strategies for economic development and retail recruitment services.
City Director of Planning and Community Development Mark Staples said Retail Strategies has accomplished lot in the first year of the contract for the city and more importantly, carry a lot of credibility with the retail firms the city is trying to attract

Taft is signing up for the second year of a three-year project utilizing an Alabama-based recruitment firm to try and bring new businesses to Taft.
The Council approved the $45,000 contract with Retail Strategies for economic development and retail recruitment services.
City Director of Planning and Community Development Mark Staples said Retail Strategies has accomplished a lot in the first year of the contract for the city and more importantly, carry a lot of credibility with the retail firms the city is trying to attract.

Retail Strategies compiles demographic lists, charts and maps that highlight more than just the census figures showing Taft's population.

They produce maps, charts and statistics showing the number of people living within the area, and driving time of the city plus how many people drive through the area each day.

"That's been the biggest benefit...to compile this information that retailers are looking for," Staples said.

In the first year, the firm started contacting both local property owners and the commercial brokers representing available properties in Taft as well as prospective businesses.

A summary of the first year of activity shows Retail Strategies has identified 27 properties here with current or long term retail opportunities and more than 35 recruiting targets from six categories were identified.

Among the properties being marketed is the old Kmart building.

Several different businesses have been exposed to the vacant, 80,000 square foot building, according to Retail Strategies.

None were identified specifically, but they include a "grocery concept" and a general merchandise store.

Neither would take the entire building, but the old department store site could be divided into smaller stores -- it has two entrances.

Other businesses being recruited a tool and hardware store, fast food, a "national coffee chain," auto parts and restaurants.

That doesn't mean they are all taking a serious look, though.

"Obviously we have been turned down by a number of retailers regarding Taft, as is customary in our business," Retail Strategies wrote in the summary. We hear 99 "no's" before typically hearing 1 "yes." Most of those retailers typically need a larger consumer base/population ad we expect that from many."