City council discusses retail

Tiffany Ciesicki

Joseph Fackel, vice president of Buxton Company, gave a presentation at a city council committee meeting last night on how Kent can bring in more retailers and improve its economy.

Buxton Company is a customer analytics firm specializing in retail site selection.

“Demographics aren’t everything,” Fackel emphasized. He said retailers focus on lifestyles, media habits, purchasing behavior and – most importantly – drive time.

Drive time is how many customers a retailer can draw in from a surrounding area if the retailer decides to settle at a designated location. Instead of measuring in distance, retailers measure in how long the drive takes.

City Manager Dave Ruller said Kent citizens continually ask, “‘How come Stow gets it?’ or ‘How come Hudson gets it and we seem to be missing out?'”

This is why Ruller went to Buxton.

“I was especially interested in this firm because it helps us see things the way retailers see things,” Ruller said.

The initial phase was to analyze “drive time” in Kent and compile a report. That has now been done, and Ruller said he wanted to present the information to council for it to absorb.

Some members of council were skeptical.

“I need to be able to compare apples to apples when I make a purchase,” councilman John Kuhar said. “I need something other than a good sales presentation to go by.”

Buxton represents a variety of retailers and restaurants.

“We help them decide whether to pull the trigger on a location or not,” Fackel said, meaning whether or not the retailer will decide to settle in a given area.

The full report put together by Buxton is available at

Parking on the southeast corner of Portage and North Water streets was also discussed last night. Overnight parking in this area has been approved by council before, but council will vote on whether or not permits will be required to park in any of the eight spots.

“I think the only difference now is they will have to pay for what used to be free,” Kuhar said.

Contact public affairs reporter Tiffany Ciesicki at [email protected].