Friday, January 15, 2010

EDC - Focus Group Meeting - Retailers & Restaurants

I got an update from David Schrumm about an October 13 Economic Development Commission meeting. I found it to be interesting reading.

Everyone present discussed how the economy is affecting his or her business. Some businesses have seen the effects now for over 2 years and other are just starting to feel the pinch. The businesses represented today range from 2 years in existence to 35 years +.

Some of the representatives talked about how quantity is taking a priority over quality of products and services in this difficult economy. Also discussed was the impact that overhead costs have on businesses. With health care rates rising 20%, minimum wage increasing at a steady level, taxes increasing in addition to material price increases, businesses are suffering.

A common theme discussed during the meeting was how special Cheshire is and how it should be highlighted to draw in people from other communities to come and spend some time exploring the town. Cheshire should be a destination to go to and spend a day shopping, dining, apple picking, etc.

Some suggestions to attract people to the current gems in Cheshire were: highlighting a business or businesses on the Town web site, adding some signs along the Linear Trail to alert visitors to other “destinations” in Cheshire, create a special “shop & dine in Cheshire week”, create a business to business coupon “trade off” that would highlight another local business at your business for a week, and vice versa or a progressive business to business night that could help to get people into a business they may not have visited before.

A few of the representatives talked about the need to expand the stores and restaurants in Cheshire to help attract people to Town, similarly to what Southington has down with their downtown area. Others expressed concern that the proposal by W/S Development for a large shopping center on the north end of town would wipe out their business.

A topic that many of the businesses represented today were interested in was how to do business with the Town government departments, notably the schools. Also, all present expressed a desire for the Town to think hard about imposing higher taxes on businesses, especially since many of these local business owners live in Town. Anything that can be done to reduce the tax burden on local businesses would be helpful and greatly appreciated.

Tim White


Anonymous said...

If there were any decent restaurants to eat at in Cheshire, we would be happy to do so. Aside from Paul's for breakfast, we leave town, go to Southington for example to find a good meal at a local restuarant.

Anonymous said...

Who can afford to go out to eat? Have you seen the prices lately?

Breachway said...

Sure, come to Cheshire so you can get less for your dollar. I don't buy gas in Cheshire as it is always more expensive, I get my dry cleaning done out of town and save 50 cents per shirt, the Cheshire Stop and Shop charges more for their food, buying something at Hines hardware is like throwing out money, traffic on RT 10 is over the top, restaraunts in Cheshire are over priced, a bacon egg and cheese at Pauls costs more than a lunch sandwich in other towns, you can get an acre of laqnd for the same price as a few trees at Cheshire Nursery....need I go on.....

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the TC will understand that most people come to town to raise a family and not to shop.

Our local merchants can dream all they want about making Cheshire into a destination for shopping. They really need to focus on what town residents really need from local businesses. Here's a hint, it wasn't a bio-fuel plant which was brought to us by one of the local conglomarants either.