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Richmond Hill DDA looking at business attraction
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The Richmond Hill Downtown Development Authority plans to use data collected by a national consulting firm to attract more national retail business and restaurants to the area.

The work, which will cost $6,995 for the initial phase, will be paid for out of the city of Richmond Hill’s budget and should take about 60 days to complete.

The firm, r360, will gather data on demographics, consumer spending habits and retail potential, as well as estimate the leakage gap — a measure of household spending that leaves the area to purchase goods and services — and prepare a “community peer analysis” to compare the area’s potential against similar locations.

“The next step would be to have them tell our story or hire an economic developer,” Assistant City Manager Scott Allison told the DDA.

Hiring r360 for further work would include the firm reaching out to national chains to communicate the data.

“Based on some of the preliminary information pertaining to ‘next steps’ they have provided, they can identify new retail and restaurant opportunities for our market based on analysis of the data and their experience,” Allison said. “They can also proactively market retail and restaurant opportunities in our community to their national network of developer and tenant rep relationships.”

Allison said the DDA will share what it learns with groups such as the Bryan County-Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce, the Development Authority of Bryan County, real estate brokers and commercial property owners.

The information r360 gathers can also present a different model compared to how national chains might view Richmond Hill.

“If they stood at the corner of 144 and 17 and drew a 10-mile radius, they’d take in Fort Stewart and see no population and they’d miss a lot of the growth down 144,” said Brad Brookshire, chairman of the DDA. “This will be a much more complete picture.”

The DDA also has been meeting with an industrial designer to come up with plans for new signage and directional markers in and around Richmond Hill. The group’s next meeting is at 8:15 a.m. on Sept. 27 at the Richmond Hill City Center.

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