Council members approve retail consultant contract

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DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) – – City council members voted to approve a contract with a retail consultant. 

The firm, Retail Strategies, is based out of Birmingham, AL. Decatur will pay the firm $45,000 for its first year. Retail Strategies is expected to work with the city for two or three years. 

“What we’re trying to do is bring on a retail consultant, someone who brings a certain type of expertise and knowledge of the market that we don’t have resident on our staff,” city manager Scot Wrighton said.

The goal is not necessarily to build brand new retail spaces, but to revitalize existing spaces that are currently vacant.  When customers enter their zip codes for credit card transactions, analysts can see where people are spending money and what goods they’re buying.

The information, known as “leakage data,” helps retailers see what needs exist within various zip codes. 

“In general, I think we can say there are too many transactions leaving Decatur because there are not enough services for them,” Wrighton said. “So what do we want it to look like in five years? More purchases in Decatur.”

  Wrighton said the city has already begun working with the firm, which will begin meeting with national chains and studying other similarly-sized cities next month. 

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