FARMINGTON — The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Tuesday to tentatively move forward with a retail recruitment strategy if three of the four towns considering it also commit to the proposal.

A representative from a Texas-based customer analytic company, Buxton Group, met with town officials from Farmington, Jay, Livermore Falls and Wilton in October. The purpose was to explain what the company could do to help the towns attract retailers to the area.

The four town managers have worked with Alison Hagerstrom, executive director of Greater Franklin Development Council, over the past year to identify a potential retail strategy with Buxton Group or another company that offers a retail service.

The cost of the service using analytic data compiled by Buxton Group — $50,000 a year — would be split among all four towns, if all agree to sign on.

During Tuesday’s board meeting, Hagerstrom asked the board to make a tentative decision about the town’s willingness to participate based on the minimum number of towns they felt were needed.

The annual fee, split by four towns, would be $12,500 each; if split by three towns, $16,667 each. The fee rises to $25,000 if only two towns agree.


For Farmington, funds from the Franklin Printing Tax Increment Financing would be used, Town Manager Richard Davis said. The TIF has about $150,000 in it.

The other three towns will consider the same question at their board meetings in December, he said. Wilton and Livemore Falls also have TIF funds to use but Jay would have to take a funding request to voters at a town meeting in April.

“I went to the presentation and I think it has the potential to benefit us,” Selectman Michael Fogg said.  “At $50,000 a year for three years, there’s not enough bang for the buck . . . alone, no, but with three or four, it could be beneficial.”

Selectman Stephan Bunker also supported the concept, especially with the Routed 2 and 4 corridor shared by the towns.

Concerns about the information Buxton Group was willing to share with the towns caused Selectman Matthew Smith concerns. After Hagerstrom said she was confident that information could be available, Smith voted with the rest of the board.

Hagerstrom warned the board that recruiting business takes time. Three to four years were spent recruiting Comfort Inn in Wilton and again for Poland Spring Water Co. to Kingfield, she said.


Nothing may happen in the first or the second year, she said. 

The other risk is while each town is paying for the service, a business may choose to locate in one town over the others.

“If we work together as towns, it could help us,” Chairman Joshua Bell said. “But, if one town is chosen by a business, it could divide us.”

“If a business comes to another town, it helps us, it helps the area,” Selectman Andrew Buckland said.

Town attorney Frank Underkuffler suggested the contract should also be written so towns could not opt out before the three years is over.

Comments are no longer available on this story