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Murriel WileyCREATE BRIDGES3C's Regional Program CoordinatorEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
by Murriel Wiley - March 24, 2021
Small businesses have been faced with the need to adapt their operation practices
and seek alternative methods for selling goods and services as the COVID-19 pandemic
continues to impact communities. Evaluating the ways residents of rural Arkansas engage
with retail stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues help local companies survive
and thrive as new technologies emerge.
In a recent Forbes Magazine article, “The 5 Biggest Retail Trends in 2021,” contributor Bernard Marr reported that retail has become increasingly internet-driven,
and brick and mortar stores have adopted elements of the online experience to encourage
shoppers to continue visiting.
Although research may show evidence of digital patterns for big city shoppers, the
CREATE BRIDGES team wanted to find out firsthand how true that is for the 3Cs region
of Sevier, Little River, and Howard counties. The six-question consumer survey asks
customers what factors contribute to deciding where to shop and eat and if they prefer
online or in-store methods for purchasing. The questionnaire results will be analyzed
by the CREATE BRIDGES regional steering committee and that feedback will then be provided
to small business owners who can use the information to reach customers and develop
3Cs regional steering committee members are raising survey awareness by placing flyers
and table tents at area stores, restaurants and community spaces as well as sharing
on area social media groups. Survey participants can also enter a drawing for a $100
To reach a broad consumer base and be inclusive of the entire community, the survey
and promotional materials are also available in Spanish, with an option for participants
to choose the language they are comfortable with.
According to Google, the phrase “Knowledge is Power” is attributed to English Philosopher
Francis Bacon, and the quote remains as true today as it was in the 17th century when he supposedly said it. If information about how customers in rural Arkansas
are spending their dollars is provided to small business owners, then the business
owners have the power to reach those customers where they are.
Businesses serve as the heart of each community, as they create opportunities for
livelihood, pay taxes that fund schools, roads and libraries and often provide sponsorships
for youth sports teams and local groups. Because so many aspects of a town begin and
end with small businesses, every action step taken to support those companies matters.
The CREATE BRIDGES consumer survey is one more ingredient in the recipe for supporting
successful businesses in rural Arkansas.
If you live, work, or shop in Sevier, Little River, or Howard counties, you can participate
in the survey here: tiny.cc/ConsumerSurvey.
To learn more about CREATE BRIDGES, visit the CREATE BRIDGES site: www.uaex.uada.edu/createbridges.