Report reveals diversity of shoppers in Hillsboro trade area

Staff reporter

It isn't always easy to look in a mirror and admit what the eye sees.

Such was the case of Hillsboro City Council and a recent report from Buxton Consulting.

During the Jan. 22 meeting, the council discussed the results of the report that revealed the potential of retail sales in the Hillsboro trade area.

Among the "surprises" of the report was the fact the majority of potential shoppers are not baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, but between the ages of 24 and 45.

"Baby boomers actually were the third-smallest group that was on the report," city administrator Larry Paine said.

The trade area was defined as a 15-minute drive from the intersection of U.S.-56 and Ash Street, Hillsboro, which includes rural residents and the city of Marion.

People typically think of Hillsboro as a college town with a significant number of professional operations.

"We tend to think that the economy and the trade area mirrors what we are, which is not the case," Paine said.

The primary category was considered blue collar workers.

During the Jan. 22 meeting, Mayor Delores Dalke said the data is almost too truthful.

"It doesn't describe us as being affluent and 'with it'," Dalke said.

The council agreed that some of the information was quite revealing but necessary to attract specific businesses.

"If we are going to succeed, we have to know what we are," Dalke said. "We have to look at what fits our area."

Paine said in a week or so the city will get a list of companies that match the psychographic data which is comprised of the information of people who will make decisions to buy.

The psychographic data will match businesses to the Hillsboro/Marion County trade area.

Ten retail business will be recruited from the list with the assistance of local business owners, members of Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce, and students from a Tabor College marketing class.

Within the trade area, more than 7,000 people are included which is the reason for the diversity.

Report available to local businesses

Local businesses can reap a significant benefit from the report. The information can assist in building their businesses by providing goods and services that would be purchased by people within the designated trade area.

"The expenditure that the city is making is designed to increase the capability of the retail capacity, community-wide," Paine said, "not just for securing 10 new businesses."

Buxton encouraged the city to sell the information to business owners but the city only will charge for the copies.