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Local Representation at Las Vegas Business Convention

Angie Cue, Lamar Community Development Director

Angie Cue, Lamar Community Development Director

 

Angie Cue, Lamar’s Community Development Director, and Eric Depperschmidt, the Executive Director of Prowers Economic Prosperity, represented Lamar and Prowers County at the International Council of Shopping Centers Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada held May 21-24.

Cue recapped their mission at the convention, attempting to attract retail businesses to Lamar and business development to the county. “We made a lot of contact from a listing provided to us by the Buxton company,” Cue explained.  Buxton has been hired by the city to use our unique demographics to find a suitable match with various franchise groups who would consider locating in Lamar.  She said there is a lot of local competition at the convention, “Dodge City had a booth focusing on their tourism trade and we encountered representatives from La Junta, Pueblo and Colorado Springs.  We were all there representing our communities to these groups.” She said.

Cue said about 70% of those companies Buxton had listed for Lamar were at the convention, so they made good use of specific face to face networking instead of conducting cold calls in hopes they could find a match for Lamar. “We didn’t have a booth to work from, instead we used the ‘pursuit package’ Buxton created for Lamar and we went up and down the aisles at the center, handing out flash drives that contained specific information about our communities.  “This saves time and a lot of paperwork so the business representatives can download the drives at their convenience,” she explained.  Cue said she and Depperschmidt would make appointments with franchise representatives and their sales teams for interviews.

“It helps that we can get immediate feedback from the representatives and see if there’s the potential for future contact. We can also weed out some retailers as we knew from Buxton that we weren’t in their target goal.  We spent most of our time on fast food franchises, family-type restaurants, clothing retailers and we encountered one or two types of businesses we hadn’t considered before.”

Cue said it’s not easy to recognize immediate success from these meetings. “Most of these retailers are planning for 2018 or 2019 with their budgets; at this point, 2017 is just too late to consider.”  She admitted that it will take time to develop a relationship with some potential businesses, “Being able to sit down and talk face-to-face with the representatives is extremely important.  We’re going to stay in touch with the contacts we made and continue to pursue other leads as well,” she explained.  Cue said she will recommend a return to the convention next year and perhaps some similar, regional conventions as well.  “Las Vegas was just too busy as a city.  I’d prefer a future meeting in a smaller city, but there were 30,000 businesses represented this past May and that’s an opportunity we couldn’t let pass.”
By Russ Baldwin

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