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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Survey on Buying Local in Madison -- Click Now!

The shopping madness of Black Friday is almost here—perfect time to take a survey about your local shopping habits!

This "Buy Local" survey comes to us courtesy of a team of Madisonites taking the Madison Chamber of Commerce's leadership training course. They ask some simple questions about where we shop and why we shop there.

The Leadership Madison team also asks what "What type of new business/service/product would you most like to see in Madison?" Perhaps they would like to include in their calculations the results from this January Madville Times survey, which found 38% of you eager readers craving another big grocery store, followed by 26% angling for a Wal-Mart or similar big discounter and 16% looking for a clothing store.

I picked "grocery store" on the Chamber survey, and even recommended three prime locations: right between Lewis and Montgomery's Furniture, between the Bethel home and Doug's auto lot, and that old farm lot across from Pizza Ranch at the 34-81 intersection. Another dream retail development: bring in a Hy-Vee or Wal-Mart to finally come in and get serious about developing the gravel lot where Nicky's, the bowling alley, and the movie theater sit. Those establishments have sat there for over thirty years with no exterior physical improvements. Let's bring in a big retailer, pave the lot, redo those three aging buildings, add a couple new shops, and make a Lousie-Avenue-style commercial complex.

The survey also asks "Why do you enjoy or not enjoy shopping in Madison?" That's an easy one: my enjoyment comes from riding my bike to shop. My disenjoyment comes from the knowledge that my sales tax dollars are funneled to support a Chamber of Commerce and a Lake Area Improvement Corporation that face no public accountability for their use of my tax dollars and which waste my tax dollars on silly things like banners, slogans, and Dwaine Chapel's $100,000 salary.

The survey lists no closing date, so go there now and tell the Chamber and LAIC what you think of shopping in Madison!


  1. I wish more people would. As being a manager of a retail store in downtown Madison I do know some stores are priced higher in Madison but the bigger named stores such as Alltel, Radio Shack, Verizon, ect their prices are all the same or in my case I can beat any price you find at Sioux Falls, Brookings, Mitchell, ect on my products.

    I am afraid though if a Walmart did come in it would take out Lewis, Pamida, and Radio Shack stores. On the flipside it may result in lowered prices at these other stores to attract more local buying.

  2. Leadership Participant11/24/2010 7:48 AM

    Survey will run through Friday, December 3rd.

  3. We have a nice community with lakes etc, improved schools, especially if the HS is renovated. What's the one missing anchor? A full service competitive grocery store! A town is judged by the basics, and without them they will go elsewhere to shop, start new businesses, and ultimately live. Other than DSU Madison has really lost ground in recent years, but the kids are not permanent residents. Why are people leaving? Because we have fewer jobs. Why do we have fewer jobs? That's the question that should really get answered. Not answering that question is what really raises questions.

  4. If I remember correctly, someone already paid for a survey determining what Madison needs or wants most, listing those businesses and services in order of importance. That survey was fairly recent and should still show current results.

    John is right. We have a great community, but need more opportunities for shopping, entertainment and recreation. The trend is a tougher retail environment for Madison, but another anchor store could turn around our retail leakage issues fairly quickly and promote more businesses.

    Also, a call center or fulfillment center would create more disposable income for our citizens. People don't leave town for services like they do for retail purchases, so are there services we can add or expand in Madison?

  5. Was that an LAIC survey, Rod? If so, the Leadership team probably can't look at the data without paying $250.

    I'm coming to appreciate the anchor-store concept. Bring one strong retailer to town, either a major discounter like Walmart or a specialty store like a strong bike shop, and you induce shoppers to come make a day of it. I imagine Mitchell has enjoyed some of that boost from Cabela's: people will drive an hour just for the huge sporting goods selection, and then they say, "While we're in town, we might as well get that part for the truck, load up on groceries, go have lunch...."

    Prostrollo's appears to be an instructive example of sucessful destination retail thriving in Madison. I'd love to get my hands on Prostrollo's books (hee hee) and analyze buyer ZIP codes. Even with big car dealers in both directions in I-29, Prostrollo is still able to fight local leakage and draw out-of-towners. I wonder how much spillover Prostrollo's generates for other local businesses (folks come for a test drive, stop at Lewis and DQ while they're here). I also wonder the extent to which Prostrollo's survives in Madison thanks to new-car-monopoly status: can Madison support only one big player in each retail field, or could a second strong player thrive and draw even more shoppers?

    Fulfillment center? What kind of Las Vegas euphemism is that? ;-)


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