Four Franklin County towns will be holding a joint meeting Wednesday to discuss potential involvement in a retail recruitment program that would aim to help the towns draw retail businesses to the region.

The towns of Jay, Farmington, Wilton and Livermore Falls are holding the meeting. Representatives from a retail recruitment company, the Buxton Group, will be present at the meeting, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Jay-Niles Memorial Library in Jay. The public is invited and encouraged to attend, according to a news release from Wilton Town Manager Rhonda Irish.

Over the past year, the four southern Franklin County towns have been meeting individually with representatives from several retail recruitment companies and have chosen the Buxton Group as the company they are interested in getting more information from. The company works with towns to develop strategies to determine what types of retail businesses would do well in their towns and how to attract them to the area.

The Buxton Group, a nationwide company, has been working with the city of Caribou since 2014 to help attract new retail opportunities to the area. City Manager Austin Bleess said that being in such a rural area, successful economic development requires a lot of different strategies and that working with the Buxton Group has been helpful.

With the company’s extensive database of retail demographics and contacts, Bleess said Buxton Group has helped the city attract a Sears Hometown Store and a telemarketing company, Sitel, which has helped to create a couple hundred jobs for the city.

The cost to hire the company is typically $50,000 per year for a three-year contract. However, the towns will be able to split that cost four ways if they decide to pursue the project, the release states. The purpose of the meeting is to provide information to the full boards, as only a few representatives from each town have been meeting with retail recruitment officials over the last year.


Alison Hagerstrom, executive director of the Greater Franklin County Development Council, brought the idea to the four towns after the Buxton Group met with Farmington officials, who found the $50,000 cost too expensive for them to take on alone. Hagerstrom asked the Buxton Group if they could do a regional contract with four towns, and they said that while they hadn’t done that type of contract before, they would be willing to.

After Wednesday’s meeting the four boards will decide individually if they want to partake in the program. Hagerstrom expects that this decision won’t be made until January, when the towns begin formulating their budgets and deciding how they would fund their share of the program cost.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

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