Newsletter to address communication concerns

ThisWeek News – July 13, 2011

To address communication concerns of local businesses, Grove City will develop an e-business newsletter.

That plan is based on information collected by Grove City’s first business survey.

The city paid Columbus-based research company Saperstein Associates $29,000 to develop and administer the survey. Owner Marty Saperstein presented the findings to city council on July 5.

The city identified about 1,033 businesses with Grove City addresses. Of that number, 477 businesses, or about 46 percent, responded to the survey.

The city now has 765 business email addresses, which it will use to develop an e-business newsletter. The city plans to send the first edition in August, community and business relations officer Don Walters said.

It will be delivered at least every three months, but could be sent “as often as needed,” he said.

Only 35 percent of businesses strongly agreed the city does a good job of communicating with local businesses. That same number strongly agreed the city is responsive to the needs of local businesses.

The survey found most Grove City businesses are small.

Seven out of 10 companies said they had 10 or fewer employees, and the median number of total employees is five. The median number of permanent full-time employees was three.

Forty-five percent of businesses rated Grove City as an “excellent” business location, while another 45 percent rated it as “good.”

Attracting customers and traffic and parking were the top challenges businesses said they faced in doing business in Grove City.

Ten percent of businesses were dissatisfied with sign limitations.

Walters said the city places size and graphics limitations on business signs.

The city will initiate a review team to address signs, headed by the Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce. The team will include seven business owners, city building department head Mike Boso and city development director Chuck Boso. The team’s first meeting will be in August.

Since this is the city’s first business survey, “We wanted to address the concerns and the challenges,” Walters said.

Also as a result of the survey, city officials plan to make visits to local businesses.

The city has held at irregular intervals business breakfasts, usually at City Hall or a business location. Two or three businesses usually attend, with two or three representatives from each business. City officials said they might hold the breakfasts more frequently.

Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage said the survey was very beneficial. He said the city probably will conduct more.