Hiring consulting firm good first start

Published 7:00 am Friday, January 15, 2016

We support the efforts of the Picayune City Council to attract more retail business to the area.

The hiring of Retail Strategies, a private consulting agency that is working to bring business to the city is a good first step in recruiting efforts to build upon our economic base.

The city council’s decision to hire the company for one year to test the waters was a wise move. So far, it seems the city management has been happy with the progress the group has made. However, as consideration is made whether to re-hire the group, some consideration should be made as to what the city actually wants, and what it can get.

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No one wants to bring in businesses that will damage existing local businesses—fragmenting existing markets to the point of insolvency is just bad business. On the other hand, there are certain retail niches we need filled.

Come May, Retail Strategies will have spent a year researching Picayune and visiting with potential developers, so at that point, the council and the city’s leadership need to ask the group a few tough questions.

That is to say, the city council needs to find out what sort of businesses Picayune can expect to get and what—if anything—the town can do to attract the sort of businesses it needs.

Just as the city is smart to invest in a group to attract businesses here, the city should listen to whatever advice the group should have and act on it, within reason.

Presumably after a year spent searching for developers, Retail Strategies has received some feedback about Picayune, and we need to know what that feedback was—and we need to figure out a way to improve our chances of netting new businesses.

Finally, while retail businesses are not and will never be in the same class as a factory or other large scale job creator, the more retail amenities the city offers, the better quality of life Picayune can offer—so the more attractive our city will be to industry.

Much like the conditions of our parks and roads, bringing in a new restaurant maybe won’t make a huge difference, but every little bit may lead to a bigger, brighter future.