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SUNDAY, JANUARY 14, 2007
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Hartselle looking to expand commerce

By Deangelo McDaniel
dmcdaniel@decaturdaily.com· 340-2469

HARTSELLE — The most significant item on Hartselle’s $1.5 million capital list, some city leaders say, is the $63,000 the council will spend on a marketing analysis plan.

By the end of the month, Hartselle is going to sign a contract with the same Texas-based company that helped bring the Wal-Mart Supercenter to Moulton.

Buxton, a customer analytical firm that specializes in retail site selection, is going to help Hartselle figure out restaurant and retail shops that are best for the city.

“We’re going to set up the community with the best opportunity to recruit retail,” said Chas Stoker, who is territory business manager for Buxton’s CommunityID Division.

Spending database

Buxton, he said, has one of the largest consumer spending databases in the country. Stoker said the company analyzes consumer behavior.

“We don’t worry about how much consumers are making, but we focus on what they are doing with their free time and money,” he said.

Basically, Stoker said, Buxton determines where people are eating, shopping and playing.

For Hartselle, the company will match consumer habits with the profiles of national retailers and supply that list to the city.

“We need economic growth and that’s what this company helps cities do,” Council President Kenny Thompson said. “This is going to be a good opportunity for us.”

The current administration has known about Buxton
almost since taking office in 2004.

For two years, the council, chamber and Hartselle Development Board have tried unsuccessfully to bring commercial growth.

The urgency for growth, especially near the interstate, intensified when Hartselle paid more than $2 million for 18 acres near Interstate 65 and Alabama 36.

That’s one of the reasons Mayor Dwight Tankersley said he added the item to the capital improvement list.

“This company is going to do a full-marketing analysis of our community like we have never had before,” he said.

Buxton also represents more than 1,000 retailers and restaurants, and that’s another reason the mayor said he wanted to hire the company.

Some of the firm’s clients include Bass Pro Shops, COMP USA, Shoe Carnival and Interstate Batteries.

Stoker said once the company creates a picture of what consumers look like in a specific demographic, it will share that information with retailers.

Take the Alabama 36 and U.S. 31 intersection, for example. If the city selects this area, Buxton will determine how many customers are within a certain drive time.

“We don’t worry about distance. We look at drive time,” Stoker said.

If the data match the profile of a national retailer, Buxton will share what it finds with
the city and the national retailer.

“That’s what we need,” Tankersley said. “We need to know what retailers are looking for and a package to take to them.”

Other Alabama cities like Sheffield and Albertville have used Buxton.

“We’ve had some major developers to look at our interstate,” the mayor said. “This is probably what we’re going to need to get something there.”

Improving Hartselle

Projects in Hartselle’s more than $1.5 million capital improvement plan.

Administration: Sewer under Interstate 65, $558,000; tree clearing, $10,000; Foote Road, $155,481; Buxton, $63,000.

Police department: Three patrol vehicles, $59,901; equipping three patrol vehicles, $13,200; body wire and repeater system, $5,217.

Fire department: Pumper truck, $325,000; two automatic external defibrillators , $5,800; refill system for air bottles, $12,000.

Public works: Saw for tractor, $12,000.

Park and recreation: Two used trucks, $24,000; diesel rotary mower for soccer area, $40,000; mower for woods, $18,000.

Grant match: $235,000.

Hartselle City Council

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