In 2018, Buxton partnered with Downtown Dallas, Inc. (DDI) to help the area recruit new retailers and retain existing businesses and employees. DDI utilized the Buxton Analytics Platform to better understand its residents and workforce and prove its value to potential retailers. As a result, Downtown Dallas was able to recruit Royal Blue Grocery and a Montessori School.
We interviewed DDI’s Planning and Development Analyst, Doug Prude, to discuss the downtown area’s strategy of using data analytics and how Buxton’s analytics allowed Downtown Dallas to accomplish its objectives.
Buxton: DDI has celebrated a lot of business recruitment success over the last year. What are some of the wins that are most exciting to you?
Doug: “Talent is everything to a company. Companies want to be able to recruit and retain on the office side, and retailers, of course, want a strong customer base. We used Buxton’s analytics platform to help with the relocation of Jacobs Engineering’s headquarters as well as several architcture and law firms.”
Buxton: Recruiting a grocery store is a goal for many downtowns. How has the recruitment of Royal Blue Grocery benefited the residents and employees of Downtown Dallas?
Doug: “Royal Blue has been great success for downtown. It has lighter offerings, some fruits and vegitables, cold drinks, beer, wine, and coffee. They even have a small meat market. For us, it answered our number one question, ‘Where do you get your groceries?’ For the rest of the market, it has shown other grocery retailers that Downtown Dallas is ready to support a supermarket or bodegas.”
Buxton: How has DDI been able to use Buxton’s data to support local businesses like Royal Blue Grocery?
Doug: “The CPR [consumer propensity] report was a huge help in determining Royal Blue Grocery’s product mix and store layout. It also showed that the daytime population would be attracted by gourmet coffee and fresh made sandwiches.”
Buxton: Talk about the process of recruiting the new Montessori school. What role did data analytics play?
Doug: “We had to prove that there is a market Downtown. Buxton helped us show that more people are chosing to age in place and will be or have already started families in the Downtown area. Also, Buxton analyzed our daytime population. We found that thousands of our workers have children and having the option for a child to go to school near their parent’s work is huge. It’s a lot more efficient when you think about it.”
Buxton: What impact do you believe the Montessori school will have on employee and business retention in downtown?
Doug: “Good question. In the big picture, we’re still a young city and Downtown is starting to mature. Our downtown population grows every year and more developers are eyeing the urban landscape each day. More schools opening Downtown is a sign of this maturation. Booker T. Washington High School (Arts Magnet) and Dallas City Lab already operate within our geography as well as a number of charter schools and El Centro College. A new Montessori school will increase the likelihood of young people staying downtown as they start a family. It will also make the area much more desireable for relocation to folks who are transferred here for work. Finally, a new school will definitely increase the dynamic in Downtown, adding to the variety of residents and workers who already fill the streets. New retail and services will come to serve the growing population.”
Buxton: What has DDI learned about the business recruitment process and what are DDI’s plans for the future?
Doug: “Talent is key.The best thing you can show a company is that your city has an expanding population of young talent. Dallas is an extremely attractive city to someone entering the workforce. Diverse employers, thriving nightlife, and plenty of opportunity and support for entreprenuers. DDI plans to continue to do what we can to nurture our entreprenuers while inviting established organizations to build a presence in our great city.“
Downtown Dallas, Inc. had two objectives: recruit and retain. Through analytics, DDI was able to prove the value of its trade area to a grocery store and a Montessori school. By recruiting these establishments, Downtown Dallas offers residents and employees a richer community experience.
To learn more about how Buxton can support your community’s economic development goals, visit our industry page for city governments.