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posted: 6/27/2013 11:46 AM

Survey reveals differences between Arlington Hts. shoppers, businesses

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  • Recent surveys polling the attitudes of downtown Arlington Heights business and those who shop in the community revealed some discrepancies between what the two groups think is important to attracting consumers.

      Recent surveys polling the attitudes of downtown Arlington Heights business and those who shop in the community revealed some discrepancies between what the two groups think is important to attracting consumers.
    Daily Herald File Photo

 
 

Arlington Heights is taking the concerns of businesses into account as part of a communitywide study about how to improve the local business climate.

The Arlington Economic Alliance discussed the first draft of the business survey results Thursday, including differences in perceptions between business owners and consumers that could effect the market.

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Last year Arlington Heights contracted with Public Research Group to conduct a consumer survey examining shopping habits in and around the village.

As a follow-up, the company asked local businesses a series of questions related to the village's business environment. The Arlington Economic Alliance and Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce sent the survey to their members and received 44 responses, said Charles Perkins, the village's director of development and community planning.

The first question asked what draws consumers to Arlington Heights. Top responses included convenience, downtown ambience, special events and customer loyalty, according to a draft of the results.

The survey also revealed some discrepancies between what shoppers and the business community think is important.

According to the business survey, only 22.7 percent of businesses believe that prices were an important reason people shop in Arlington Heights, while 75.8 percent of consumers said prices are a very important factor in deciding where to shop.

According to the consumer survey, stores being open when people want to shop was an important consideration. However, many downtown businesses don't have the same hours as larger chain stores.

The village has sent out several mailings to encourage businesses to consider consistent hours or minimum hours, but many are small businesses with family-run staffs.

"I don't know how much more we can really do, it would have to be a cultural shift," Perkins said.

Public Research Group is still tweaking data from the consumer survey to break down results from different parts of Arlington Heights and the surrounding areas, he added.

Public Research Group will present final results of both surveys later this summer. The results are expected to help village officials determine the future of its Discover Arlington marketing campaign and other ways to improve the business climate in town.

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