This is an exciting time for the City of Newport. Many of you know that Newport City Renaissance became part of the Main Street Program in 2007 with the mission of forging partnerships and affecting change toward economic growth of Newport.
The Newport City Trade Market Analysis from 2008 concluded a year-long local effort of data collection from community members and businesses regarding the current and future economic health of Newport's downtown.
Year-round and seasonal residents, second-home owners, frequent visitors and individuals employed locally were asked to participate in a consumer survey about their buying habits and preferences for retail stores and services as well as recommendations for additional types of service and retail businesses, restaurants and community assets.
A second survey targeted area businesses with questions relating to four major proposed developments--the Renaissance Block (mixed-use development on Main Street in Newport); the Hotel and Marina Complex* (restaurant, retail and conference facilities on Newport's Waterfront Plaza); the Walmart Supercenter (Route 5, Derby) and expansion of the Newport State Airport.
Information from the two surveys provides data on customer segments and local market conditions relevant to business retention, expansion and recruitment efforts. This data can be used by existing businesses seeking to better serve various consumer segments. In addition existing businesses may wish to use the data toadapt their marketing and operating strategies based on consumer spending behaviors and the proposed economic development projects. The data will also be used to identify potential business expansion opportunities and attract new retail stores, restaurants and other businesses.
Both surveys were developed, with guidance from University of Vermont (UVM) Extension, by a local volunteer committee who identified economic development issues specific to the area. The consumer demographic and lifestyle data as well as business data on needs and opportunities will be presented to the community to help guide future economic development and community revitalization efforts in the Newport area.
Extra Thank You's go out to Bill McMasters(retired, Summer 2015) and Karen Geraghty(now with the NVDA) for their work on both of this valuable research tools.UVM Extension has closed their office in Newport. Please contact the UVM Extension office in St. Johnsbury, Vermont for an additional information in the studies.
* as of May 2014, the Hotel and Marina Complex is on hold. Bill Stenger is still seeking another potential Newport lakeside location for the project.