Rural Economic Technical Assistance Center

The Rural Economic Technical Assistance Center (RETAC)

RETAC supports economic development across rural Illinois by encouraging sound decision-making among communities and businesses alike. The Center offers a range of products and services including research, analysis, and community programming. Created in 1989, and located at WIU’s Macomb campus, RETAC is a unit within the IIRA’s Data and Technical Assistance Center. The Center also supports outreach and programming activities of Mapping the Future of Your Community, Health MAPPING, Peace Corps Fellows, and other IIRA units.

Products & Services

Economic and Fiscal Impact studies

RETAC’s economic (IMPLAN) and fiscal (LOCI) impact analysis services are available to assist in demonstrating a project’s value in terms of new jobs, public revenues, and industrial output. The fiscal impact model allows for various scenarios to be examined enabling crafting incentive packages resulting in a win-win relationship for both the community and the project developer.

Business marketing and feasibility studies

The Center can conduct analysis of a project’s consumer marketing and feasibility. The former includes survey-based and secondary data research. The latter can examine various aspects of the project including operational capacity, competitive/market demands, and financial feasibility including discussions of break-even points and risk variables.

Pooled Retail Trade Program (PRTP)

RETAC’s PRTP provides an introspective analysis of a community’s retail sector. An initial survey identifies perceptions and attitudes of local business management. A point-of-sale survey collects demographic, market, and purchasing information from consumers. Results of the two surveys are compared and strategies reflecting key similarities and differences highlighted. Custom analyses for individual businesses are also available.

Business Retention and Expansion

RETAC offers communities a full range of BR&E services. Center staff can facilitate a complete BR&E program or support the individual aspects such as identifying business targets, survey development, analyzing results, and developing retention and expansion strategies.