Economic Resource Council Board Meeting Report

Russ Steele

I went to the ERC Board Meeting this morning and will share my notes and thoughts.

There were more people present than there have been at past meetings, more business giving more balance to the NGOs and Government agencies who often attend the meetings.  Having Lisa Hill from Buxton giving a presentation on  the Power of Business Analytics – Business Attraction and Retention many have been the attraction. She gave a summary of this Retail Site Assessment Report on the City of Grass Valley website.

This report is an interesting read if you are an economic development junkie, or a business person interested who local customer are and what they buy and where they buy it.

Where did this data come from? Buxton buys 250 commercial data bases, including all your credit card swipes, your customer card swipes, your answers on survey forms, including the Census forms. You newspaper, magazine, cable and satellite  subscriptions (including the programs you watch), your internet site visits and online purchases are tracked and reported. You have no privacy!  It appears the only data not revealed is if it was FedX or UPS delivered the sex toy you bought on the Internet. Not what you bought a sex toy, just who delivered it is a secret.

One of the interesting parts of the report is the leakage and demand analysis. It looks like  Grass Valley could benefit from a Target or other general merchandise store. Who are these leakers and local buyers:

You will have to go to Retail Site Assessment Report Appendix C to decode these psychographic segmentation categories.

Some other notes:

  • Grass Valley is sharing the Buxton data with all business in Nevada County and are willing to work with all business in the county to mine the data. Grass Valley has access to an interactive data base for a year that can be queried for specifics.
  • The Weaver Auto property has been purchased, but the buyer a Southern California car dealer said he was not planning on a car dealership but to rent out segments of the property. Really!
  • This was the first time in years I saw a Union Reporter at the ERC Board meeting.  This was almost a historic event, but  according to Matt he came one other time when I was not there several months ago.
  • In the past when the ERC Board meeting were over, there was a huge rush for the door. I noted at the last couple of meetings people are hanging around, talking in groups to each other. This a mode change.  Jon Blinder appears to be doing a great job breaking down the tribal barriers.
  • When initially started the printed Agency Reports, which are attached to the minutes were rather robust, however it appears fewer and fewer Board Members are submitting reports.  Only Nevada City and County submitted a report this session.  Chairperson Kimberly Parker needs to jack up her Board.  These reports will be on the ERC web page.
  • From the County Report we learn that five responses were received for the Comprehensive Economic Development Management RFP. Only two from in the County, the ERC and Sierra Active Travel Guide ( Associated with the Advocate) Two from out of town,but in the State and one from Arizona.  Award is four-six week away.
  • No proposal from the Sierra Foothills Report/Sierra FoodWineArt magazine who are currently promoting the County Tourism Web Site.
  • Grass Valley will be holding focus meeting to determine what people are buying on the Internet and why they are using the Internet, that according to Lisa Hill accounts for 30% of sales leakage.
  • An updated ERC web page will be launched by the end of the month.
  • Lisa Hill said that Texas was using Buxton to identify and cherry pick California business for relocation to Texas.  Analytic can be a powerful two edge sword. I am reading between the lines, but Texas can ID business that are struggling in CA and then offer them a better deal in Texas.  When I was in Colorado last year, I discovered that they were also ID and recruiting CA companies who might be encouraged to move to CO.

I am out of time and space. Will add any more thoughts in the Comments.


About Russ Steele
Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

2 Responses to Economic Resource Council Board Meeting Report

  1. gjrebane says:

    Great report Russ, thanks (knowing you’d be there, I opted for the treadmill). My concern with the report is fairly low level that may affect all its conclusions. How are the categories that you show actually non-overlapping – e.g. what makes “Urban Commuter Families” not be a part of “Prime Middle America”?

  2. George,

    They use 74,000 different psychographic categories to define Urban Commuters Commute from Prime Middle America. Some of those may over lap but there are signatures that do not over lap, ie commuters commute and middle America walks to work. More on this if I can copy some of Appendix C.

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