Five years ago, the Hastings Retail Development Committee conducted a retail survey to gauge the public’s perception of the selection of restaurants and retail stores available. These results were then used to determine what services needed enhanced marketing and where expansion should be targeted. The committee has once again issued a retail survey to update these results.
Since then, the face of Hastings has evolved, including more restaurants, specialty stores and selections for women’s clothing. However, the recession stunted some plans for development. This survey will help the committee evaluate the impact of these changes and where efforts are needed to create a “a more robust and responsive retail and restaurant sector in Hastings,” as the survey’s description describes.
“Anytime you can do a survey or anytime you can get people thinking about what’s going on, it helps them see that if they spend money here, it benefits them,” said Tom Hastings, president of the Hastings Chamber of Commerce.
Additionally, Jessie Hoeft, director of the Downtown Center Association, said they will use the results to ensure gaps in the public’s knowledge of local business are resolved through pinpointed marketing.
“We just need to make sure that if we have the businesses people are asking for, people are doing their best to make sure (buyers) know it,” Hoeft said.
The results will help guide the committee for the next five years, said Linsey Martin, finance and retail development coordinator.
The survey was developed through the combined efforts of David and Associates and Strategic Pioneer, along with the Retail Committee and the Chamber of Commerce. It has been distributed through a telephone survey and is currently accessible online.
The random digit-dial telephone calls have been completed. About 390 surveys were taken, said Dave Buchholz, owner of David and Associates and member of the Hastings Retail Development Committee.
For the first time, the Chamber of Commerce’s website, The H Word, hosts an expanded version of the survey. The H Word has been incorporated to allow more “probing” and to ask more questions, Buchholz said.
The survey will be available on the homepage of thehword.com until March 13. While Hastings residents were the target of the telephone survey, a wider audience is encouraged to participate in the online survey, Buccholz said. Hastings College students are welcomed to participate so the committee can improve their understanding of this demographic’s buying habits.
Five people who complete the online survey will win $100 in Hastings Dollars to further promote supporting local businesses, which is The H Word’s purpose.
While no results have been analyzed thus far, Tom Hastings predicts that the surveys will indicate a desire for restaurants that serve breakfast. Currently, two nationally-recognized restaurants, as well as a few restaurants that have another location in Nebraska, have been approached to establish a Hastings location, Tom Hastings said.