Over the next several weeks, the Seminole community and those surrounding will be the target of a series of market strategy studies which will be compiled by a Mississippi-based firm which was recently hired by the Seminole Economic Development Corp. to help recruit new business ventures into the local community.

According to Mike Tolleson, SEDC Executive Director in a Monday meeting of the SEDC's Board of Directors, representatives with The Retail Coach, LLC have began the initial stages of their development of a market/location intelligence,  demand analysis, retail/developer strategies and an action plan for the corporation, as part of a $32,500 contract agreement between the corporation and private firm executed last month.

"It's my understanding that (The Retail Coach) will be conducting their license plate study this week in Seminole and around the area, including in the neighboring communities of Andrews and Hobbs, N.M.," said Tolleson.

In addition to the license plate study, The Retail Coach, LLC vice president Aaron Farmer, based out of the company's Austin office, has scheduled to visit Seminole on March 12 and 13, to visit  the Seminole community and schedule individual meetings with local civic and business leaders to gather input on community needs and desires as part of the retail study development process.

Back in November 2013, Farmer briefly assessed the Seminole community's needs in a 30-minute presentation to SEDC officials as a sales pitch to corporation board members for his company's services, which as been used by some 250 communities within the State of Texas, including neighboring Andrews.

"You have a lot of things happening within your community," said Farmer, in the November presentation "However, from my brief assessment, I feel your community is way underserved, especially in three key areas."

Those areas included -- casual, sit down eateries, more clothing retailer options, and more grocery options.

"The traffic you have coming into and out of this town is remarkable," said Farmer, who is based out of the company's Austin office. "You take that, along with what all is happening within this area with the oil boom and your unique situation in steady growth with the German community, you have a lot of positive things going for you that regional and national retailers like to see when searching for new locations."

The Retail Coach, according to the company's website, is a national retail consulting, market research and development firm that combines strategy, technology and creative expertise to develop and deliver high-impact retail recruitment and development strategies to local governments, chambers of commerce and economic development organizations.

Farmer said the company could assist the SEDC -- through an 12-month contractual agreement -- in the recruitment of regional and national retailers through recruitment communications, as well as the development of local economic statistical information such as: demographics, psychographics, gap analysis, retail studies, land use/availability studies and vehicle license plate analysis.

"Retailers, especially the larger chain companies, want to know as much information about a community before making a decision on expanding," said Farmer. "Just like any business, they want to make sure they can be successful and make a profit before proceeding with any kind of development. And, that's a service we can provide."

As part of the January contract approved by SEDC officials with The Retail Coach, the SEDC paid The Retail Coach $10,000 upon the execution of the agreement to the company, $10,000 upon completion of Demand Analysis; and $10,000 upon presentation of final strategy development. The remaining $2,500 fee, according to contract language, is for reimbursable project expenses.

Members of the SEDC's Board of Directors opted to seek the market analysis to gain a better grasp on community needs from an outsiders perspective, especially with the Seminole community's vast growth in recent years.

Estimated figures released from the U.S. Census Bureau in the 2013 calender year indicate Gaines County has grown by 5.06 percent in population since its April 2010 official decennial count.

It's growth which mirrors a majority of counties within the West Texas region, which has been contributed to increased activities within the Permian Basin oil patch.

According to Census figures, Gaines County's estimated on July 1, 2012 population was quoted at being 18,413, which was up 887 persons from the official April 2010  count of 17,526.

In the 2010 Census process, the Seminole community was quoted as having 6,430 residents as of April 1, 2010 -- an increase of 520 residents from the April 1, 2000 count of 5,910.

Seminole, between the 2000 and 2010, saw a roughly eight percent increase in population growth, according to Census figures.

Seminole's 2010 figures mirror those of Gaines County, which reported a 21.14 percent population increase in the April 2010 count, according to Census Bureau numbers.

On average, Seminole has grown by just more than average of 1/2 percent annually between the April 2000 base figure and July 2009's estimates, with steady growth over 1 percent annually between estimates recorded in a period between July 2005 and July 2009.

Also on Monday

In other action Monday afternoon, SEDC officials approved the following agenda item requests:

• a proposed advertisement mock-up for the Texas Wide Open for Business publication, and;

• routine business items pertaining to monthly expenses/financial report and minutes from the board's January 27 regular meeting.