If 1.0 represents the perfect balance of trade – sales tax dollars kept within a community – Johnson County scored 1.29 and Gardner scored less than one, or .64.
“Gardner’s pull factor of .64 indicates more sales tax dollars are leaving than are staying, as a pull factor of 1.0 would be a perfect ‘trade balance,’” said Cheryl Harrison-Lee, city administrator. “What a city can do to keep sales tax dollars here is to facilitate development to provide more opportunities for people to spend their money locally. “
Jason Camis, president, Gardner Edgerton Chamber of Commerce agreed.
“Simply put, the pull factor is one measurement of how much business leaves (or comes to) your community compared to the population,” said Camis. “It’s one way of looking at retail sales pattern within a community or region.”
“I’m happy to point out some of the important, strategic projects the governing body has completed collaboratively with citizens, staff and community stakeholders that are collectively intended to facilitate development and provide more options to shop and play locally,” Harrison-Lee said.
In the last few years, Gardner has focused on ways to increase development in the area with a Comprehensive Plan, an Economic Development Strategy, a comprehensive Economic Development Incentive Policy, and by revising the city’s land development code. “Together, these documents provide the development community with a level of certainty of our expectations and indicates that Gardner is very interested in considering their proposals,” she said. Additional information regarding economic development plans are on the city’s new website at www.gardnerkansas.gov/development/economic-development.
According to the Kansas Department of Revenue’ s 25th annual study of retail trade, Johnson County collected $652,042,154 in 2015 state sales tax collection. With a population of just more than 574 thousand, the county scored a pull factor of 1.29. Douglas County scored a pull factor of .91 percent and Wyandotte .86 percent.
In other words, shoppers from other counties left and came to Johnson County to do their retail shopping.
While Johnson County had an influx of shoppers, Gardner residents appear to have left the community to shop.
“Gardner’s pull factor (.64) is low and means that more retail sales leave the community than comes here,” Camis said. “You could make the assumption that people just don’t shop local enough, however, there are other factors that should be taken into account. For example, our business community is significantly smaller than many cities with a similar size population.“
Another influencing factor, Camis said, is that younger residents likely had established a buying pattern before moving to Gardner. “Because they are increasingly mobile and the community lacks choices in many retail sectors, it’s easy to see why they may continue to shop elsewhere,” he said.
With total 2015 sales tax collections of about $11.5 million, Gardner had a pull factor of less than 1.00 or .64 percent. Merriam, also with a population of more than 10,000 and also not a first class city, had collections of more than $46 million and a pull factor of 4.67, capturing 7.1 percent of the county share.
“On a positive note, we’ve (Gardner) has increased our sales tax collection over the past 10 years,” Camis said and continued, “The most important thing we can do is encourage residents to shop local first, giving our businesses an opportunity to earn their business, as studies have shown the multiplier effect for $$ flowing through a community is significantly higher when shopping local.”
According to KDR statistics, Gardner’s pull factor has dropped from .67 in 2015 to .64; however, sales tax collections increased from about $7.8 million to $11.5 million.
Two area first class cities scored more than 1.00. Olathe had 21.5 percent of county market share and a pull factor of 1.2; Lenexa’s pull factor was 1.64, or 11 percent of market share.
The KDR has issued “A Study of Retail Trade in Cities Across Kansas” for 25 years; the report collects data from July – June, and the report is issued each January.
A “pull factor” represents the measure of the relative strength of the retail community. Purchases of residents who shop elsewhere are offset by the purchases of out-of-city customers. Values greater than 1.00 indicates that local businesses are pulling in trade from beyond the border, so the balance of trade is favorable. A value of less than 1.00 indicates more trade is being lost than pulled in; that residents are shopping outside the boundaries. This is an unfavorable balance of trade, according to the KDR report.