03/10/04 — Downtown market study for Mount Olive

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Downtown market study for Mount Olive

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 10, 2004 2:00 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The Mount Olive Small Town Development Committee has examined the market potential of various retail categories to bring new shopping opportunities downtown.

The committee has the expertise to help people who want to open a business, said Patti O'Donoghue, chairman of the Small Town Committee's executive committee. "We know what kinds of businesses will work," she said.

The research shows that the market can support expanded or new retail businesses including clothing, home improvement, general merchandise like department and variety store merchandise and miscellaneous merchandise like gifts, jewelry, books, antiques.

Downtown leaders plan to use this information in discussions they will have with existing and prospective retailers to increase commerce in the downtown business district. Mrs. O'Donoghue is setting up appointments on the first and fourth Tuesdays every month with Bob Murphrey, the program coordinator, for those interested in starting businesses. "We need to let folks know about that," she said.

The Committee's Economic Restructuring Subcommittee, assisted by the N.C. Small Town Development Program of the N.C. Department of Commerce, completed the evaluation of retail opportunities as part of a broader market analysis. The evaluation studied economic and demographic statistics to estimate consumer spending potential in the community. Potential spending by store type was calculated to indicate how much the market could support. These totals were then converted to a corresponding number of square feet.

Market demand was compared to the actual supply existing in stores. The study identified various business categories that had significantly greater demand than supply and some that had significantly greater supply than demand.

The subcommittee considered other factors important in assessing market potential for business expansion and recruitment. Data from earlier market analysis was used to measure local consumer attitudes, characteristics and behavior as they relate to various retail categories. The committee also used the results of earlier research on the retail mix in other communities and detailed information on market competition.

Ms. O'Donoghue said the evaluation of retail opportunities will provide Mount Olive's Economic Restructuring Subcommittee with data and analysis to support business expansion and recruitment efforts. This analysis will be updated and modified as it's needed and new retail opportunities are identified.

The retail assessment is only one part of the downtown market analysis, she said. The group plans to finish similar in-depth examinations of the service business, residential and office sectors of the downtown economy.

Those interested in discussing the results of the study and the possibility of opening or expanding a retail business in downtown Mount Olive, or for more information about the N.C. Small Town Development Program can call Bob Murphrey at 919-218-2934 or the Mount Olive Chamber of Commerce at 658-3113.