The City of Laramie has hired a consultant to convince shops and restaurants to set up storefronts there.
City Manager Janine Jordan said in a press release that even though Laramie has a thriving downtown, the community has room for more retailers, especially when she compares it to other college towns.
The local government sent out a request for proposals last fall, and chose a Texas and Mississippi based company called The Retail Coach. The firm’s plan is to identify “retail gaps” in Laramie that usually cause people to leave town for goods or services. They will then recruit individual businesses to fill those gaps.
Retail Coach Senior Vice President Aaron Farmer says it’s impossible to completely deter people from leaving town to spend money in places like Cheyenne or Fort Collins, but agrees that there is room for improvement in Laramie.
“Our goal in working with the city is to try to reduce that leakage by maybe 10 to 20 percent,” Farmer said. “So we’re not looking to capture all of it, but if we can keep some of that money being spent in the community that’s going to help everyone.”
Farmer says that Retail Coach will reach out to nation-wide chains as well as local businesses.
“You know we’re not trying to just overrun the community with national brands. We’re also looking at some regional brands; we’re also looking at some local brands that could come in and be successful. So I think what’s key here for Laramie is really just having a healthy mix.”
Farmer says more retail options could make life easier for residents and help boost the city’s tax base. The company will start recruiting businesses within the next couple of weeks.