07/20/08 — DGDC wants thoughts on city's downtown

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DGDC wants thoughts on city's downtown

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on July 20, 2008 1:25 PM

The Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. wants to know what city and county residents feel the downtown area needs.

For a few weeks, the group has handed out consumer surveys to downtown businesses, city and county employees and people attending the Center Street Jams, asking everything from how often people shop in the downtown area to where they do most of their shopping, and even what the main reason is that they come to the downtown area.

"We have gotten some great feedback," DGDC promotions coordinator Lara Landers said. "We have a lot of people that are interested in downtown."

The survey also asks people to rate parking, friendliness of salespeople in downtown shops, price of merchandise, variety of goods, quality of goods, attractiveness of the area, attractiveness of buildings, business hours and safety.

DGDC officials also want to know how important the improvement of the following areas are to residents -- historic character, cleanliness and maintenance, focus on local customers, patronizing local business, tourism, public improvements, advertising and regular business hours.

The tabulation of the survey results will be used to compile economic data, to form a market analysis of the area and then, in turn, to help to bring more businesses to the downtown area.

But Ms. Landers said officials don't only want to know what people want to see in downtown Goldsboro. They want to know what they need to have in the downtown area.

"This survey will show what kind of business we need downtown to meet everyone's needs," she said.

She used a woman shopping for purses as an example.

"If a woman wants to buy a purse, and there isn't a purse shop downtown, she is going to go somewhere else to buy that purse," she said. "We want to see where we are losing money to and where people are going to buy things.

"With today's economy, why wouldn't you want to be able to just scoot downtown instead of having to drive 30 miles to Smithfield or an hour to Raleigh to get what you need?"

The promotions coordinator said she has heard many people say they want a certain restaurant or store to come to Goldsboro, but the problem is, she said, "a lot of businesses and industries won't even look at (bringing their company to a city) until you have certain needs from its residents."

For DGDC purposes, the survey results will be used by its economic restructuring committee to put together a better business incentive package.

"We want to bring more businesses downtown, but we don't want to just fly by the seat of our pants," Ms. Landers said.

She will still be handing the surveys out at upcoming Center Street Jams, but those wishing to fill out a survey can also either pick one up at the DGDC office on Walnut Street or e-mail Ms. Landers at llanders@ci.goldsboro.nc.us for one. Surveys should be turned into the office by Friday.

Results are expected to be in by September.