The Retail Coach: Millsboro switches teams in quest of retail development

MILLSBORO — The town of Millsboro has switched teams in ongoing efforts to attract more retail development, notably sitdown- style restaurants.

Effective July 1, the town for fiscal year 2019-20 is under contract with The Retail Coach, a national retail consulting, market research and development firm headquartered in Tupelo, Mississippi.

Millsboro had previously contracted with Buxton, a Texas-based analytics/retail match-making firm.

“Apparently, Buxton, kind of what we found, is focused primarily on analytics, more of the data side,” said Millsboro Town Manager Sheldon Hudson. “So, we’re kind of looking at this as the second phase. Basically, with The Retail Coach taking the data that we got from Buxton and using that to market the town, and to do more of the matchmaking side of this initiative, this endeavor.”

“So, it’s really kind of the second phase of the initiative relative to retail recruitment,” said Mr. Hudson.

Millsboro’s one-year agree ment with Buxton and its services came at a cost of $50,000. The price for The Retail Coach is around $30,000, Mr. Hudson said.

Mr. Hudson and Millsboro Assistant Town Manager Jamie Burk are utilizing materials from The Retail Coach at a regional convention of the International Council of Shopping Centers in Philadelphia this week. The convention features municipalities along developers, retailers, consultants and engineers.

“So far, Jamie and I have been pleased with what The Retail Coach has brought to the table. In fact, they provided us with some materials that we’ve been passing out at ICSC,” Mr. Hudson said.

“We kind of gave the sales pitch, ‘To come to Millsboro.’ I think it was productive. No one specifically to report on at this point. Hopefully, we’ll have one or two leads that will turn into something meaningful moving forward.”

Mr. Hudson said the town’s accounts manager from The Retail Coach visited and toured Millsboro and shown potential development sites. “He has already helped set up meetings with potential retail ers,” Mr. Hudson said.

With several fast-food restaurant chains established along Millsboro’s growing highway commercial district along the US 113 corridor, the town is eagerly seeking to land one or more sitdown- style restaurants.

“Absolutely, we ‘d loved to land sit- down restaurants, and as I have said in the past a steakhouse or a sports bar, or multiple steakhouses or sports bars,” said Mr. Hudson. “In fact, I can report we have at least two or three sitdown restaurants in the pipeline. I can’t disclose who, but I do have what I consider to be good leads on at least two or three, which is exciting.”

Mr. Hudson believes this potential development is tied to hotel development and interest. An AVID Hotel is in the works and there are plans for another through Jim Parker Builders and that property along US 113.

“I’ve got to think that the hotels that might be coming might have something to do with that,” Mr. Hudson said. “The whole idea was that that would be synergistic, that the sit- down restaurants kind of ride on the proverbial coattails.”

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