Downtown business poll shows 2 of 3 had better 2009 than 2008

21 Feb

Shortly before flying the coop for a month in Belize, I built a quick little poll on Zoomerang and aimed it at the downtown Hood River business community. Its aim: Ask business to compare sales during the often-critical holiday period (November & December) of 2009 with the same period in 2008. And, ask them to compare their overall business activity in 2009 with that in 2008. Here’s a summary of the results:

Sixty-two percent of downtown Hood River businesses responding to the online survey said they had better holiday sales in 2009 than in 2008. That compared with just 17 percent of respondents that said their holidays sales were worse than in the previous year.

Among those doing well, 28 percent of business respondents reported holiday sales up by more than 15 percent during the 2009 holidays.

Still, the positive seasonal sales numbers don’t mean things are rosy for everyone. Holiday sales may simply have helped swing the mood in a more positive direction, after a sluggish start to the year.

For whatever reason, optimism reigns. Of poll respondents, 70 percent said they were hopeful for better things in 2010, and another 27 percent said they were “neutral” – neither optimistic nor pessimistic about prospects in the coming year.

Asked to compare overall business activity during 2009 with 2008, 59 percent of respondents said it had been a better year, compared to 31 percent who said they had done worse than in 2008.

Of those reporting a decline in activity, eight businesses said sales in 2009 had declined by more than 5 percent compared to 2008.

The survey, created by Watson x 2 communications for the Hood River County Chamber of Commerce, was distributed to 127 downtown businesses in late December 2009. Of those businesses, 26 percent responded. Several declined to take part, noting that their businesses aren’t tied to holiday gift-buying.

As the face of downtown has seen several changes during 2009, poll respondents are considering a number of options to boost or sustain business. Several businesses noted plans to add or shake up their product lines. Others plan to put more energy and money into marketing efforts, including use of social media such as facebook and expanding into other markets – The Dalles and Portland among them.

The survey used the free Zoomerang online polling utility.

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2 Responses to “Downtown business poll shows 2 of 3 had better 2009 than 2008”

  1. Cathey Wildoner March 8, 2010 at 8:11 am #

    good post i like what you do here

    • stuwatson March 9, 2010 at 11:42 pm #

      Thanks, Cathey.

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