Regional Business Market Study and Recruitment Strategy to get underway in Gloucester County The effort is aimed to help towns attract new businesses that complement their community
(Woodbury, NJ) – A regional business market study and recruitment strategy in Gloucester County is about to get underway, announced Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney and Freeholder Joseph A. Brigandi, Jr. The purpose of this initiative, the Freeholders noted, is to provide the county’s 24 municipalities with a strategic forecast to manage future retail development, assist with downtown revitalization and coordinate planned business development.
“Our municipalities face a variety of challenges when it comes to promoting economic development,” said Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney. “We have older downtowns that need revitalization, rural areas, and both mature and developing suburban communities. Each town has a different need, but there has been no ‘big picture’ strategies put in place that will help municipalities complement their communities with the right fit for retailers and businesses. This study and strategy will accomplish that for each municipality,” Sweeney said.
Freeholder Joseph A. Brigandi, Jr., liaison to the Department of Economic Development, started approaching Mayors last spring with the concept of a collective recruitment strategy to pull in new retail and businesses county-wide.
“We have everyone out there now competing for their own piece of the pie, but that isn’t always the best approach to successful long-term economic prosperity in our towns,” Brigandi said.
“By taking a regional approach that truly accounts for the character of our municipalities, we will have realistic market data to plan for retail and business where they will work best. Not every town is right for a big retailer like a Target or a Staples, for example, nor does every town need one. The purpose of the recruitment strategy would be a determination of untapped retail market potential and development of a planned strategic recruitment strategy,” Freeholder Brigandi stated.
The Freeholders held a Regional Planning meeting in May when they first broached the idea for the study and recruitment strategy with Mayors and Administrators. “The response we received from the Mayors was extremely positive. The Mayors all have the same goals for their towns; providing jobs, reducing traffic congestion and improving the quality of life for our residents, they just need to realize everyone’s way of achieving those goals is not always going to result in attracting the same type of businesses,” said Brigandi.
Freeholder Director Sweeney said that the regional business study and recruitment strategy will be specific to each community. “The process is going to be designed to use custom research and economic analysis to evaluate demand for various types of retail goods and services within a municipality. The results will then be used to proactively recruit new business based upon with a community wants and needs, rather than waiting to see what shows up,” said Sweeney. Each town will receive a strategy, and towns will also be clustered regionally for maximum impact.
The Freeholders noted that there will be no cost to the municipalities to perform the business study or recruitment strategy. The program is being funded through the Gloucester County Improvement Authority (GCIA) and administered through the Office of Economic Development.
To date the following municipalities have submitted resolutions of support for the Business Recruitment Strategy Initiative: Clayton, Deptford, East Greenwich, Elk, Franklin, Glassboro, Greenwich, Harrison, Mantua, Monroe, Paulsboro, Pitman, West Deptford, Woodbury, and Woolwich.
A Request for Proposals (RFP) to secure the services a professional to prepare a regional market study and recruitment strategy is currently being advertised by the GCIA