Marketing analysis to provide insight into Sweet Home needs, demographics

The city of Sweet Home is contracting with Marketek of Portland for a marketing analysis of Sweet Home to begin in early September.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded a $7,500 rural business grant for the analysis. The city is providing $6,000 in matching funds.

“Basically, what they’re going to do is focus on the retail climate of the community,” City Manager Craig Martin said. “They’re going to do a demographics study of the community, find out what retail opportunities are being underserved in the community or leaking out.”

Typically, this type of analysis uses surveys of residents to find out what kind of purchases they travel out of town to make because they don’t believe they are available within the community, he said. The analysis will show what percentages of the population may be interested in a product or service.

The analysis will provide recommendations for advertising to let people know what is available, ideas for products and services, ideas to help existing businesses and the Sweet Home Active Revitalization Effort, Martin said.

There may be an opportunity to have a successful business providing goods and services not available in Sweet Home, to capture dollars spent outside the community right now.

“Is there an opportunity there?” he asked. “Are there goods and services they’re desiring that we’re not currently offering in the retail sector? It’s hard to shop local if (businesses) don’t know what (customers) want, and it’s not available.”

The analysis will provide ideas and direction for business recruitment efforts, Martin said, and local economic development organizations, such as SHARE, Sweet Home Economic Development Group and the Chamber of Commerce will be invited to participate.

Martin believes there have been changes in Sweet Home’s demographics and the types of businesses people demand, he said, evidenced by growth in developments like Spring Terrace and Canyon Creek.

The changes are evident in SHARE, which includes many new members of the community, he said.

The study is not comprehensive, not as detailed as a large company might undertake if it were looking at a potential market, Martin said, but it will provide a picture of Sweet Home and its retail sector.

The study will start in early September after the contract is signed, Martin said. It will probably be concluded in November or December.

The results will be incorporated into the plans of SHARE and other organizations.