District of Houston shopping survey

District probes local shopping habits

Wants to build on downtown beautification

With the first phase of the downtown revitalization program well in hand, the District of Houston is now focusing on how people spend their money in a move to further boost the fortunes of the community’s core area.

It’s doing so by way of a survey asking the who, what, where, when, why and how of local consumer spending habits.

Officially called a “retail leakage survey”, the list of questions is designed to figure out the extent of out-of-town shopping.

“The survey will provide the District with valuable insights into residents’ spending habits and highlight potential gaps in local services,” states the District in a release.

“The data will help the District strategize future efforts to retain and attract new businesses to the downtown and help make downtown Houston a more lively and attractive place for residents and visitors.”

Those filling out the survey are asked where they shop, outlining choices reaching out to Terrace in the west and Prince George in the east as well as inquiring about online purchases.

People are also asked to indicate where they would go depending upon what is being bought for everything from clothing to electronics to groceries to major appliances.

Just as important, the District asks for the importance of price, customer service, a choice of stores, business hours, location and good parking as having an influence on where people go to shop.

The survey also focuses in on where people purchase vehicles and equipment of all kinds, including industrial vehicles, recreation vehicles and motorcycles.

If people dine out, they are asked in what town they would go for fast food, family dining and special occasions, either private ones or for business.

The District also wants to gauge the shopping experience people have in town or in Smithers, Telkwa, Burns Lake, Prince George or Terrace as needing improvement, being satisfactory or very good.

Since the closure of Houston Forest Products in 2014, a blow to the local economy and population, the District has been taking measured steps to develop additional business opportunities.

Its rebuilding of 9th Street downtown, with future phases to do the same on other streets, and construction of new sidewalks and placing utility lines underground are examples to make the community more attractive.