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Fox Lake hires marketing firm

FOX LAKE – Moving into the next stage of its development plan, the Fox Lake Village Board hired a marketing company at its meeting Tuesday evening.

The Retail Coach was the first choice of five of the six people who interviewed the three marketing companies, Village President Donny Schmit said. The sixth person picked the company as their second choice.

The panel was made up of Schmit, Trustee Greg Murrey, Village Administrator Nancy Schuerr, Associate Village Administrator Tara Semenchuk and two members of the Plan Commission.

"This was the best fit," Schmit said. "They had the best plan."

The Retail Coach has offices in Tupelo, Miss., and Austin, Texas, and bills itself as a national retail consulting, market research and development firm. While many of the communities it has worked with are concentrated in Texas, it also was hired by Ottawa, Ill., to conduct a retail study.

The board had agreed not to spend more than $30,000 on the marketing firm, and The Retail Coach offered an inclusive package, Schmit said.

Their proposal included 12 months of contacting developers, making a presentation at a national retailers conference, updating the village's demographic data, interpreting its marketing data, assessing its strengths and weaknesses, and recommending any changes to the village's codes.

"I think we're getting quite bang for our buck," Schmit said.

A team from The Retail Coach will be coming up to tour Fox Lake without village staff to get a first impression and then have a kickoff meeting with staff.

Schmit also wants the firm to meet with the development marketing person who is being provided by the Regional Transit Authority as part of a branding grant the village received.

"We've got a lot of tentacles out there, and I want them going in the same direction," he said.

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