Buxton targets businesses to locate in Ottumwa

Monday, November 07, 2016

Officials hope company can help city pursue development more effectively

By MATT MILNER
Managing Editor

OTTUMWA — The pursuit of new businesses in Ottumwa is about to take a big step forward as Buxton begins its outreach.

The city council selected Buxton after interviewing two businesses that focus on helping companies and cities find expansion opportunities together. The three-year contract runs $50,000 per year.

Officials hope Buxton can help Ottumwa pursue development more effectively.

The decision to hire Buxton came after a difficult year for Ottumwa retail.

Both Target and Kmart closed their stores in Ottumwa in early 2016. While Hobby Lobby is coming to Ottumwa and will fill part of th! e former Kmart location, the store won’t open until late in the year.

As described during its meeting with the city council, Buxton operates by identifying spending patterns. They look at where people from a given area are spending money when they leave and what businesses they’re spending the money at. Those help Buxton narrow down an initial list of 20 prospective businesses that might fit a client’s needs.

The Courier was given access to that list but was asked not to run the specific names of businesses on it.

City officials have expressed concerns that, since Buxton relies in part on geographic ranges, other cities in the area would be able to make much the same use of the information as Ottumwa hopes to.

Restaurants make up almost half the list Buxton provided to Ottumwa. Those range from a couple of fast-food locations to more formal dining ! options. Several fall into the fast casual category, which is generally seen as a step up from a McDonald's or Hardee’s hut less formal than fine dining.

Clothing and apparel stores also make up a large portion of Buxton’s prospective businesses. There is a range in approaches for those businesses «is well, from those focused on children’s wear to general clothing needs.

I be remaining options include stores specializing in hardware and home improvement, hobbies and salons.

According to Buxton, all of the companies on the list are already in Iowa, and all are currently looking at expansion of their presence in I l ie state.

Nine of the options are franchise-based companies! , while sites for the remaining 11 are owned by their corporate parent.

The biggest variation, perhaps unsurprisingly, comes in the amount of square footage each of the businesses needs. One of the names on the list uses locations as small as 800 square feet, The biggest can range up to a whopping 250,000 square feet.

City Administrator Matt Milner can he reached at mmilmr@ oUumwamurimmm and followed @mwmilner

Category: Economic Development

Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation 217 East Main Street Ottumwa, Iowa  52501
Phone 641-682-3465 Fax 641-682-3466 info@ottumwaiowa.com