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City of Lebanon, REDI point to aggressive approach in attracting new retail

The announcement of rue21’s pending location in the Lebanon Marketplace is a continued step in the right direction for retail recruitment, according to city and economic development officials. The clothing store is one of several retailers identified as a fit for the community by Buxton, a Ft. Worth, Texas-based industry leader in consumer analytics. The City of Lebanon and Buxton agreed to a 3-year contract for targeted retail development in January.

“Buxton’s analytics help retailers reveal who their customers are, where more potential customers are located and the value of each customer,” said Lebanon City Administrator Chris Heard. “The City of Lebanon and Lebanon Regional Economic Development, Inc. (Lebanon-REDI) have been extra aggressive in seeking retail activity based on the data collected by Buxton for our community. We are seeing the fruits of those efforts beginning to pay dividends for our citizens.”

Rue21 and Sally Beauty, which also located in Lebanon earlier this year, are two retailers suggested as strong candidates for the community according to Buxton’s research. Additionally, Slim Chickens a Buxton client on the retail side of its work has broken ground in Lebanon and is scheduled to open later this year. Based on annual sales estimates for the three retail outlets, local officials believe that the first year city and county sales tax dollars generated by the trio could double the $50,000 investment on the first year of the Buxton agreement, and continue into the future.

“We have had a great year from a retail growth perspective,” said Brian Thompson, president and chief executive officer of Lebanon-REDI. “The partnership of the city, REDI and Buxton is already showing the initial signs of success. Whether we work from the beginning with a lead, enhance a lead or even get attention from a retailer based on Lebanon’s participation in Buxton’s processes, we have set ourselves up for years of aggressive retail attraction. When you combine those facts with the hard work of developers such as Jared Enterprises and what they having done in seeking tenants at the Lebanon Marketplace as well as other entities like the Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce, local realtors and nonprofits, you definitely have a recipe for success.”

Buxton’s consumer and analytics-based retail matching process identified retailers that best match the lifestyles of Lebanon residents and complement existing retail in the community’s trade area, helping to focus recruitment efforts on the retailers most likely to thrive in the city. While retail economic development programs have traditionally relied on basic demographic information, Lebanon’s retail attraction program is utilizing consumer insights that go beyond demographics, presenting a convincing case to retailers seeking growth opportunities.

“I commend the work of the City, Lebanon-REDI and the community as a whole to make us more competitive in the battle for retail recruitment,” said Lebanon Mayor Josh Ray. “These are some success stories that we all played a part in and should be proud when we see these entities open and expand in the City of Lebanon.”