NEW MARKET – Several county localities are planning to band together to bring some much-needed business analysis to town, Town Manager Todd Walters told Planning Commission members Monday evening.

“We have an opportunity to have a retail analysis done for the town,” Walters said. “They’re pretty expensive – we’re talking $40,000 to $50,000.”

To allay the cost of the analysis, towns are planning on splitting the cost and commissioning a regional study, Walters said. Most of the towns are interested in participating, he said, and town leaders will meet today to discuss moving forward with the study.

Walters said Shenandoah County has asked the towns if they would be interested in hiring a consultant to assess the business environment of their localities. The consultant, Walters said, would not only look at the types of businesses that would benefit the towns but help build bridges between town officials and business owners.

“What it will do is it will help you, the locality, target the type of retail that is suited for your area,” Walters said. “We’re all not gonna get a Target; we’re all not gonna get a Walmart.”

Making connections with big businesses has been a struggle, Walters said. He told commission members he has reached out to some businesses to see if they would be interested in locating to New Market. Most often, he said, there isn’t any response – the single exception being a rejection.

“When somebody like me starts sending emails to these people,” he said, “it’s very rare to get anything.”

Before the town moves forward on the analysis, it will host a development forum from 5-8 p.m. March 5, where Walters said he hopes to have more feedback than he received from outside businesses. The forum will focus on hearing what concerns community members think New Market needs to spur development.

“We just want to hear issues, concerns, things the town can do better to help draw some development here,” Walters said.

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