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Retail study aims to find Victoria's untapped opportunities

By Melissa Crowe
Nov. 3, 2013 at 5:03 a.m.
Updated Nov. 4, 2013 at 5:04 a.m.

Victoria leaders hope a new study will attract more retailers to the area.

The City Council will vote Tuesday whether to spend $53,000 on an agreement with The Retail Coach. The study will provide leaders with data and an strategy to market and attract new retailers, which they hope will boost sales tax.

Mayor Paul Polasek acknowledged the market typically takes care of itself where business opportunities are available. However, he said, the study will help make the retail industry aware of Victoria's strength as a regional hub.

"I think it's a reasonable thing as a city government to make sure there's information available to companies about our community and opportunities here," he said. "It's not here to benefit any particular company. It's information for them to use to make better, sound decisions."

The city's reliance on sales tax revenue is higher than it has ever been.

Although there is nothing wrong with that, Polasek said, the city needs to protect that revenue stream.

"If this encourages companies to make good decisions to locate here, then we're all for it," he said.

The company conducting the study will spend time in Victoria and surrounding communities to identify the retailers that will most likely be successful in Victoria.

The research will examine the factors that shape Victoria's retail environment, including demographics, socioeconomic and psychographic profiles; the workplace population; and consumer spending patterns, according to The Retail Coach's proposal.

Funding for this project is provided by the Victoria Sales Tax Development Corp., which is allowed to spend no more than 10 percent of its annual revenue for promotional expenses, according to information from the city.

Councilman Jeff Bauknight said he thinks Victoria is missing out on some opportunities in the retail industry.

"If you can present more opportunities for consumers, it would be a good thing," he said.

Bauknight said the outcome of the study could bring competition to businesses that already pay sales tax, and it could increase competition.

"But competition isn't always a bad thing," he said.

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