ATLANTIC - Austin Farmer, the Project Director for Retail Coach, a business recruitment company is scheduled to meet with the Atlantic City Council Wednesday to layout the type of data the company can provide and how that will help bring new business to the community.
The appearance comes following a Personnel and Finance meeting last week in which committee members questioned the type of data the company would provide, how the acquire it and what the chances are of successfully recruiting a new business.
The company is currently working with several Iowa communities including Fort Dodge and Carroll where they have reportedly successfully recruited three new businesses. If the Council agrees to hire the company it will cost $40,000 with $5,000 being split between the Chamber and CADCO. The City’s share of the funding will come from Local Option Sales Tax (Progress) funds.
During last week’s Personnel and Finance meeting, Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bailey Smith and Cass Atlantic Development Corporation President Jennifer McEntaffer stated that the company gathers very specific data using, among other things, cell phone records, sales tax information and other, to target specific businesses that the company believes will succeed in Atlantic.
To do that,they will take into account community factors and how they relate to company’s requirements for opening new stores.
“The paper proposal is rather dry and really does not capture the data-rich, proprietary methods utilized by the company,” Atlantic City Administrator John Lund said in the council agenda packet.
Councilmember Kathy Somers, while generally supportive of the idea, questioned how effective ultimately the recruitment efforts have been in Carroll, where one business has already shut down.
“I would hate to spend $40,000 and have a business come here and fail,” she said alluding to a business in Carroll. “Dunkin Donuts failed in Carroll right after opening because they couldn’t find employees.”
The possible lack of labor was also an issue for Councilman Pat McCurdy.
“I’m for any new business we can get any way we can, but I don’t want a business to come in and fail.”
Smith said the company tracks the specific types of businesses needed and wanted in a community which reduces the risk of failure.
“They track data of what people in Atlantic are buying in other communities,” she said. “It shows you the style and type of businesses your community is lacking.”
The council is expected to meet with Farmer at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall.