Having an accurate assessment of residents and visitors shopping and dining in Stephenville is a key factor in recruiting new retail. Retailers use the demographics from these assessments, such as traffic count and household income, when determining whether to locate in a community.  

In order to recruit retailers to any community, the retail trade area must be identified. The retail trade area is the geographic region from which 80-85% of an area’s customers travel from to spend money in a community. 

The population of retail trade areas are typically larger than the community. For example, the retail trade area of Stephenville extends beyond its city limits and reaches out into Erath, Eastland, Palo Pinto, Comanche and Hood counties.

Recognizing the importance to have the most accurate and current retail trade area determination, the Stephenville Economic Development Authority (SEDA) board of directors contracted with Retail Coach to determine Stephenville’s retail trade area and provide demographics and data on spending habits of the retail trade area.

Using the newest technology to capture cell phone data, Retail Coach can determine shopper traffic throughout Stephenville. The cell phone data allows SEDA to pinpoint specific shopping and dining destinations. According to the Retail Coach, this method is the most precise approach to determine consumer shopping patterns and retail trade area boundaries. Compiling cell phone data greatly improves Stephenville’s ability to document the most accurate retail environment and improve opportunities for successfully recruiting new businesses to service our residents and visitors.  

An interesting method to track the impact of an event was to compile cell phone usage of the Larry Joe Taylor Music Festival this year and compare it to cell phone usage the week prior to the event. The results clearly illustrate that the Larry Joe Taylor Music Festival attracted many people from outside Stephenville.  

SEDA will continue working hard to recruit new business to our area, giving us all more options in dining and shopping. 

Dr. John Hubbard is the executive director of SEDA.