New demographics will allow Nacogdoches' economic developers to target new businesses

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Nacogdoches' economic developers have some fresh information on what kind of retail business the city can support. It's the kind of data that tells Target and other major retailers where to open up shop.

The demographics alone provide a reality check on what Nacogdoches is capable of supporting.

A commissioned retail analysis and merchandising plan reminds Nacogdoches that "we are who we are," according to Bill King, the president of the Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO).

In other words, it allows Nacogdoches' economic developers to know the town's limitations. Nacogdoches, with the right retail strategy, has lots of potential. Yet, it's not quite big enough for what some residents want.

"It's just not quite big enough to attract a super target," Michelle Smith, NEDCO's vice president, said.

So developers are encouraged to go after what the market can support. A very important message that can be gleaned from the study is that no one should underestimate the spending power of a college student.

"It's about $4,300 each which equates to about $56 million, and I think that amount of spending is significant and is under reported when we're trying to attract major retailers to Nacogdoches," Smith said.

Students help support $385 million dollars of total retail trade and food and drink sales. However, there are four categories which registered an undersupply of sales of only $16 million.

They're auto sales, clothing, books and music, and office and gift stores.

"What's on my list? Well, that's a top secret list you know," Smith said. "No, it's not."

But really, it is during negotiations, so we'll accept the general answer for now.

"Sit down restaurants," Smith said. "We're looking at entertainment venues. We're looking at some retailers that deal with sporting goods, home goods, soft goods particularly."

Bottom line: it will be the kind and size of business which enhances the community and its quality of life, King said.

"We need to be realistic. We need to know who we are," King said. "And also we need to be intentional about this. We don't just necessarily want just anybody."

The entire retail analysis and marketing plan for Nacogdoches is available at NEDCO's web site, by going to the retail tab. The information is helpful to anyone already in business, serving a business or considering opening up a business.

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