Farmington seeks proposals for a marketing consultant

City approves request for up to $30,000 for marketing firm to develop strategy to attract more businesses

The Farmington City Council approved a request from the Business Attraction Team and Economic Development Authority to spend up to $30,000 to develop a marketing plan to lure commercial and industrial businesses at its meeting Monday, July 1.

The city sent out a request for proposals on July 2 asking for marketing consultants to help develop a comprehensive plan on how to market Farmington as an attractive site with great opportunities for new businesses.

City Planner Lee Smick said she is excited “to bring to fruition” this proposal.

“We’re really at a starting point to let people know about Farmington,” she said. “I’m hoping the consultant packages that plan. … We’re not marketing professionals at city hall, and we shouldn’t be. We need professionals to help.”

The money for this project will come from the community development and block grant fund, and the $30,000 figure was taken from Lakeville’s costs of hiring a marketing team a few years back.

While Farmington is using CDBG funds to pay for the marketing consultant, the city is restricted from using these funds to actually implement the marketing strategy. With levy and local government aid restrictions next year, the council is already looking to cut back expenses and cover its operating costs in the proposed 2014-2015 budget.

This marketing effort is part of the EDA’s strategic plan to bring more businesses to Farmington and ultimately increase the tax base. The EDA called for community member applications earlier this year for a business attraction team that could focus and strategize on a plan.

The priorities for the group are to first market and promote Farmington, improve business retention and expansion, and explore shovel-ready sites.

The business attraction team has identified several ideas, such as using the arts and schools, to attract people to Farmington.

The time line for the project right now is to open requests until July 24. Interviews with applicants are slated for July 29-31. The consultant will then have three months to prepare a plan and present it for final council approval by Dec. 2 at the latest.