June 16th, 2024

Local economic organizations launch joint business survey

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on November 30, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

The fourth Brighter Together Survey will see Downtown Lethbridge Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ) join with Economic Development Lethbridge and the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce.

Director of marketing and communications with Economic Development Lethbridge, Mark Neskar said they used to do major employer surveys, with employers that have more than 100 employees, but the chamber of commerce wanted to do a survey and that is how the Brighter Together Survey came to be.

“This year we’ve also teamed up with the BRZ as we want to get a little bit of a snapshot as to the businesses downtown and what they are experiencing and if what they’re going through is different from businesses in different parts of the city,” said Neskar.

He said they have worked with the Lethbridge BRZ in the past and have a good relationship. This year they are adding a few questions into their survey that are specific to the downtown area, in hopes they might help Downtown Lethbridge BRZ with some of the projects they are working on.

“I believe we’re asking three questions, one is how long have you been in the downtown, do you plan on continuing to have your business downtown, and then we ask the question about what are some of the topics that you’re concerned about with having a business downtown,” said Neskar.

He said safety might be one of the areas of concern for downtown businesses, but taxes might also play a part.

“We found in the 2021 survey that the feeling of the businesses in Lethbridge was actually pretty positive. We found that 74 per cent of businesses who were surveyed last were experiencing good health. Three out of four is pretty good,” said Neskar.

He said other findings include the top three advantages to doing business in the Lethbridge area, which were quality of life, transportation infrastructure, and a collaborative environment. The biggest barriers to business in the 2021 Brighter Together Survey were utility costs, tax environment and workforce availability.

Neskar said that number (business positivity) was up from 63 per cent in 2020 and they hope it continues to go up.

“Going through a pandemic, closures and openings, making sure that people who visit businesses are safe and all that kind of stuff, that was a lot for businesses to go through, so that 74 per cent number we thought was really strong and very positive,” said Neskar.

He said inflation might play a part in the results obtained from this year’s survey as people might have less money to spend on local businesses.

“That could definitely be one of the topics that does rise to the top this year in the survey, and there’s been obviously a lot of talk about what people are paying for utilities,” said Neskar.

He said they think utilities might be in the top three barriers to business again.

“But sometimes the results were very surprising and something that we don’t even think of might rise to the top, so it’s interesting to see what the data brings back to us,” said Neskar.

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