City of Perry to complete “Retail Academy,” push towards economic development

Kiley Wellendorf - Staff
Perry’s City Council approved an initiative and educational course called “Retail Academy” by Retail Strategies. The course will develop a research-based understanding of how to continuously grow Perry’s economy. PHOTO BY KILEY WELLENDORF/THE PERRY CHIEF

The City of Perry has hired “Retail Strategies,” a research team with a goal to help benefit the present and future economic development of Perry. On Monday, Nov. 23 the City Council approved the contract to begin Retail Strategies program “Retail Academy.”

“We want to use this to build our existing business as well as attract new business,” said City Administrator, Sven Peterson. “They’ll be doing an economic study of Perry and really analyzing the retail leakage that we have so what a lot of people are leaving Perry for.”

The program analyzes pieces of the community’s business and market interest, which will later result in fifteen potential businesses that could begin in Perry.

“This [Retail Academy] is kind of the sweet and condensed version of just doing the research and then training us on how to go out and try and recruit businesses,” Peterson said.

Both Perry Economic Development and the Perry Chamber of Commerce have each pledged $2,500 dollars to the $10,000 dollar program.

“I really like the collaboration of the Chamber and Perry Economic,” said 2nd Ward and Perry Economic President, Dr. Randy McCaulley. “I think that’s the way we should be.”

Marketing and research is done through a variety of platforms to determine the communities interests: mobile data trade area analysis, psycho-graphic analysis, GAP analysis, and peer analysis & retailer void.

“It seems like many people in our community are certainly interested in downtown and how can we make downtown greater than it is,” said Elected Mayor, John Andorf. “That’s a big interest in the community.”

By the end of the research period, the company will suggest a list of at least fifteen businesses and restaurants that could take up shop within Perry.

“They’ll take our demographic information, our population, traffic counts and things like that and compare it to what all of the businesses selection criteria would be for a site,” Peterson said.

Members of the City Council approved the economic program during the Monday night meeting.

“Our Council is pretty oriented towards economic development, creating value, creating jobs, and this Retail Academy is really a lot to do with quality of life,” Peterson said. “So having restaurant options and shopping options helps us attract people out of town.”

Following the research, the City will then participate in the Research Academy workshop, which outlines the following initiatives according to information from Retail Strategies: “Everything You Need to Know About Your Market,” Data Overview, Retail Trends, Retail Expansion & Closures, Site Selection 101, The Development Process, Best Practices of Retail Recruitment, How to Navigate ICSC, and Action Steps.

The results will not only help bring more to Perry, but will also help local businesses understand their clientele.

“We’re not only looking at using this to attract new business, but we’re really hoping to use this data and this information to help existing business and maybe strengthen what they’re doing,” Peterson said. “Maybe this will show somebody that they can expand their business and serve the market that they’re not serving now.”

While Perry is only participating in a portion of the services, a full-service, three-year commitment is offered in which the company will continuously check in and update research results, as well as recruit businesses found from the research.

“That is something that we’re probably going to be looking at in the future,” Peterson said. “I did work out with them that if we did go with the full-service that they would credit this Retail Academy cost towards the cost of that first year.”