The Williams City Council last month agreed to spend $4,500 for a consultant to perform a retail analysis that could help the city explore new sales and property tax opportunities.
The analysis will include the current competitive position of the city – and surrounding cities – and a list of business opportunities the council may want to pursue, said City Administrator Frank Kennedy.
Kennedy said a retail analysis should come first, before the city considers hiring an economic development consultant to go out on the city’s behalf to try and attract businesses to Williams, which could cost between $45,000 and $75,000.
“We don’t know if we are ready for that yet,” Kennedy said. “It seems like a big investment.”
Instead, the city contracted with S Squared Consulting to provide an analysis of the city that includes demographics, inventory of existing businesses, traffic counts, targeted prospects, a list of resources for city staff to access, and the necessary steps required to locate new business opportunities.
“This opportunity will allow us to take a snapshot of where we’re at, where we could be in the near future, and what it would take to get farther down that road,” Kennedy said.
Williams has been successful in attracting new businesses in recent years, including Starbucks, Arco, Love’s Truck Stop, and Grocery Outlet.
“We want to continue that,” Kennedy said.
City officials anticipate that the retail analysis will not be the final step in attracting new economic development opportunities, but that it could help put the city on the right track by offering some realistic expectations.
“I don’t want a piece a paper someplace that tells us what we need to do, even though we can’t do it,” Councilman John Troughton said.
S Squared Consulting is expected to complete the analysis in about 30 days and will follow up with a presentation to the City Council.
“I don’t want it to carry on and on,” Troughton said. ■