The Stephenville Economic Development Authority [SEDA] held its regular monthly meeting Thursday morning to hear a telephone presentation from Aaron Farmer of Retail Coach [RC] — a Retail Trade Area assessment firm — and discuss other agenda items.

A Retail Trade Area assessment is done in order to assist municipalities to better understand what’s going on in those areas and use that information to help create marketing materials with an eye toward recruiting new businesses — one of the main objectives of SEDA.

In his presentation, Farmer explained exactly what a Retail Trade Area is and how his company can help the City of Stephenville.

“In order to recruit retailers to your community, you must know your Retail Trade Area. The Retail Trade Area is the geographic region from which 80-85 percent of your customers travel from to spend money in your community. A secondary Retail Trade area encompasses the geographic region in which the rest of your shoppers reside,” Farmer said. “The population of your Retail Trade Areas will typically be far greater than your community population quantified by the U.S. Census Bureau and other research entities. Using the newest technology to capture cell phone data, communities are now able to determine shopper traffic throughout their city and at specific shopping and dining destinations.”

Farmer also explained, “This is the most precise approach to determining consumer shopping patterns and retail trade area boundaries and it is the most successful way to capture and present your full retail potential to site selectors.”

The proposed cost of the study — which members agreed would provided much-needed and highly useful data for the city — is $5,500.

Following Farmer’s presentation, the SEDA board asked that RC send a formal legal contract to them with details, so no formal vote was taken at this meeting.

However, specifically spelled out in RC’s Power Point presentation, the main items the firm would provide — should the contract be approved in a special meeting later this month — are the following services:

• Cell Phone Analysis on three locations in Stephenville, one of which

will be Walmart. RC will work with SEDA staff to finalize the other

two locations.

• Retail Trade Area Custom Polygon Map

• Retail Trade Area Demographics

• Community Demographics

• Retail Gap (Leakage) Analysis

• Custom Retail Marketing Flier 

In a related item, the board tabled requests for grant funds made by two local businesses that are participating in the SEDA’s Facade Improvement Grant Program. The program seeks to help enhance the appearance of existing businesses in Stephenville.

“The better we look, the more attractive we are to both shoppers and potential new businesses,” said SEDA Executive Director Dr. John Hubbard. “Cynthia Huckabee, owner of Silver Wings Boutique, and Court Cole, owner of Bull Nettle Sports Bar, have requested Façade Improvement grants in the amount of $5,000. The total cost of the Silver Wings Boutique project is $11,7721.31. The total cost of the Bull Nettle Sports Bar project is $10,300.00.”

SEDA has $50,000 allocated this fiscal year for the Façade Improvement Grant Program, and these are the first two requests to be considered under the program. The board will discuss those grant requests in the special meeting that will be held when the RC contract is in hand.

Other items from Hubbard’s report to the board included:

Part-Time Assistant:

Ashleigh Feuerbacher is the new SEDA assistant and is also employed part-time by Redfences. She started work for SEDA on April 1.

Society of Automotive Engineers Conference:

Hubbard explained, “I travelled with a delegation from the Governor’s Office to Detroit to attend the Society of Automotive Engineers Conference. The effort resulted in 12 qualified leads, of which three show a very high interest in Stephenville. I am following up with all leads and will keep you updated on my progress. The trip was co-sponsored by Oncor.”

Move to Clark Field:

Hubbard said progress is being made as SEDA prepares to relocate its office to Clark Field. Totelcom is in the process of installing internet and telephone service. The City is installing new carpeting in the second office.