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Badin uses coach to analyze, grow economic development

For a tiny town, Badin has ambitious plans to grow its economic development.

The town is working with Charles Parker, a project director at The Retail Coach who has attended a couple of the town council meetings. The company is headquartered in Mississippi and also has offices in Texas, but it has worked with towns in other states, including Gastonia.

The council accepted a customized proposal from Parker in July 2019 and has worked with the company ever since.

In August, Town Manager Jay Almond told The Stanly News & Press that the town’s contract with The Retail Coach “… will not only bring vital economic data to bear, but will also provide an economic development specialist to act as an agent of the town in both marketing and business recruitment efforts.”

The town saw some tangible fruit from the partnership when Parker attended the town council’s December meeting, where he presented initial information. This included “some of the initial mapping, data, retail leakage and opportunity, amount of spending happening, amount of pull different shops have, what their reach is,” and more, according to Almond.

Parker also gave some of this information to local business owners during the mayor’s breakfast held for them Dec. 11.

The numbers help the town and The Retail Coach get a better idea of the potential market. They track estimates of the number of people who carpool, drive themselves or take other transportation to work, attain various levels of education, work in white- or blue-collar jobs, attain different levels of salary and more within the targeted retail market area.

The data helps the partners answer some key questions: Who needs what, and where are they currently getting it? How can those needs be met locally to bring more money to the town?

An opportunity analysis by the company revealed an estimated $69,570,290 in potential sales for the retail trade area, encompassing food, drink, electronics, home décor, gasoline, beauty, outdoor recreation and other possible sales areas.

Badin Mayor Anne Harwood said that The Retail Coach’s previous successes made it an attractive partner for the town.

“In The Retail Coach, the town has a company with a reputation for working successfully with small towns to attract downtown businesses,” Harwood said via email. “The Retail Coach collects data on our retail trade market demographics and psychographics in addition to giving us data on our retail trade area opportunities. They act as our representative at retail trade shows as well as coach us on economic
recruitment.”

The council believes the town can grow, with a little help from The Retail Coach.

“From the data analysis we will receive from The Retail Coach, council will have a big picture of our retail trade market as to who is visiting here and what our retail market is looking for, which focuses our retail recruitment activities,” Harwood said. “In addition, The Retail Coach assists us in our recruitment by representing us at the large retail trade shows around the country.”

The council has big ideas for the town.

“The vision for our historic town is to create a destination for people to enjoy visiting the only municipality on Badin Lake, to enjoy the Falls Reservoir and our natural habitat at the foot of the Uwharries and to appreciate our unique history,” Harwood said. “From a retail point of view, so far, we have learned there is potential here for more food and beverage places as well as outdoor and sporting outfitters, general merchandise stores, grocery stores and even non-store businesses such as those relating to the healthcare field. Badin is presently actively recruiting.”

The town has actively tried to provide events that both appeal to locals and attract guests from out of town, including by participating in the 10 Days of Uwharrie festival in October.

To view the reports for Badin from The Retail Coach, visit: retail360.us/Badin-nc/#primary-retail-trade-area .

Imari Scarbrough is a freelance contributor for The Stanly News & Press.