“Walker County is popping up on the radar screens of many national retailers,” says Linda Lewis, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County. “We want to market every piece of land that is available in Walker County whether it be in Jasper, Sumiton, Dora or Carbon Hill.”
With funds from the new five-year Forward Walker County initiative, the Chamber hired Birmingham-based Retail Strategies last year to provide a detailed market analysis, strategic planning and retail recruitment countywide.
Charles Branch, a marketing professional with Retail Strategies, was on hand Tuesday to update those asked to attend the first of several informal meetings meant to encourage open dialogue.
“Our job is to contact developers and market your community,” Branch said as he revealed consumer trends and population demographics from the initial market analysis.
The most appealing data to some potential retailers, according to Branch, is the fact that nearly 80,000 consumers live within a 30-minute drive time of the retail hub of Jasper. “That’s an attractive number for most developers and retailers. That’s the story we are telling for Jasper and all of Walker County,” he said.
Brach and other reps from Retail Strategies are traveling to Las Vegas later this week to market Walker County at the annual International Council of Shopping Centers Sunday through Tuesday.
“Our partnership is not necessarily with the Chamber of Commerce, it is with you,” Branch assured the several landowners and vacant property owners in attendance Tuesday on the Jasper campus of Bevill State Community College.
Branch said he has 170 meetings scheduled with prospective retailers during the convention.