Bennington Chamber releases 2019 State of the Commerce survey outcomes

Photograph (left to proper): Madison Brewing Firm, Bennington Pizza Home and Bringing You Vermont in downtown Bennington, Vermont (picture by Lorianna Weathers)

Vermont Enterprise Journal The aim of the State of the Commerce Survey distributed on July 15th 2019 by the Bennington Regional Chamber of Commerce to its membership was to listen to from native companies about how they have been doing within the present financial system, their wants and developments small companies see rising.

“This yearly survey provides us a snapshot of the final temper because it pertains to the regional financial system,” experiences Matt Harrington, government director of the chamber.  “Many individuals are small enterprise house owners who drive this financial system ahead.  The aim of this survey is to focus on the information and info round southwestern financial system. This survey all the time jogs my memory of a Jim Collins quote, creator of Good To Nice:  We now have to take care of the brutal info and but nonetheless have unwavering religion we are going to succeed in the long run.  This survey makes us have a look at the place we’re as a neighborhood, take care of some brutal small enterprise and financial info, whereas all the time ensuring that we’ve unwavering religion that Southwestern Vermont will reach the long term if we work at it.”


Sixty one p.c of respondents recognized as Bennington companies, 19% from Manchester, 5% from North Bennington, 5% from Arlington, 5% from Dorset, 5% from Sunderland, and underneath 3% in areas like Danby, Londonderry, Pawlet, Peru, Pownal, Rupert, Rutland, Sandgate, Shaftsbury, Weston, Winhall, and Woodford.  Different geographic responses got here from New York and Massachusetts the place the chamber additionally has membership.

“Though small in proportion, it was encouraging this yr over final yr that we see extra illustration from every of the communities this chamber influences together with most of the hamlet communities of Peru, Rupert, Sandgate and others.” Harrington remarked.

Harrington continued particularly in regards to the survey course of, “This survey has two approaches.  We now have our macro information, which appears to be like at how members stuffed out the every query collectively.  That is nice trending information for us to take a look at the general feeling of our enterprise membership.  Equally, we’ve remark information.  We will discover nice perception and concepts on this information too.”

State of the Commerce 2019 outcomes:

  • What kind of buyer does your corporation most depend on: 88% of these responding depend on enterprise to client (B2C), whereas different 18% depend on enterprise to enterprise (B2B)
  • What kind of geographic buyer does your corporation most depend on (they may decide all that utilized):
    • 84% indicated that they relied on native prospects
    • 53% indicated that they relied on prospects in neighboring states
    • 48% indicated that they relied on prospects in different Vermont cities
    • 33% indicated that they relied on prospects all through the Northeast
    • 25% indicated that they relied on prospects all through the nation
    • 12% indicated that they relied on international prospects
    • With a particular observe that companies are being impacted by the connection between the US and Canada

 Present Enterprise Local weather

  • On a letter grade scale of A to F, how do you’re feeling your corporation or group is doing by way of present monetary well being:
    • 70% rated their present monetary well being as A or B (nice to good monetary well being) in 2019, as in contrast 63% in 2018
    • 27% rated present monetary well being as C  (having ups and downs), as in comparison with 24% in 2018
    • 3% reported that they’re in hassle or a D letter grade, as in comparison with 8% in 2018
    • Final yr 2 respondents famous that closure was imminent and 0 this yr did.
  • What’s impacting your corporation success most immediately:
    • #1 Workforce points (hiring, staffing, housing, childcare) – 40%
    • #2 Normal enterprise local weather within the space – 37%
    • #3 Demographic challenges within the area – 33%
    • #4 Finding prospects – 23%
    • #5 Skinny margins that impression profitability – 22%
  • Do you’re feeling that your corporation or group is doing financially higher than it was 3 years in the past in 2016:
    • 64% mentioned ‘sure’ as in comparison with the 2018 survey the place 63% mentioned ‘sure.’ 
    • Some related feedback embrace:
      • “In 2019 with the assistance of the chamber and others we modified our promoting focus and have seen optimistic outcomes”
      • “Web, phrase of mouth, optimistic opinions have been chargeable for elevated enterprise”
      • “An increase in AirBnB appears to be taking a toll on our enterprise”
  • Do you’re feeling that usually The Shires of Vermont (Southwestern Vermont) is an effective place to have a enterprise/group:
    • 84% indicated that it’s a very good place to have a enterprise as in comparison with 81% in 2018
    • Some related feedback embrace:
      • Theme: Not sufficient certified labor
      • Theme: The enterprise can’t discover native prospects due to the financial base
      • Theme: pleasure about new improvement tasks
      • “Wonderful stunning panorama”
      • “Walkable day by day life”
      • “Entry to State and Native Officers”
      • “Enterprise is difficult as a result of its rural”
      • “State taxes, rules and insurances together with costly, restricted workforce makes enterprise difficult.  Vermont appears to be enterprise unfriendly.”
  • What assets or entities do you utilize to help your corporation:
    • 75% of respondents indicated using the Chamber to help their enterprise.
    • Different prime assets embrace
      • Native city authorities (32%)
      • Higher Bennington Company (27%)
      • Different councils, committees and organizations (25%)
  • By way of advertising, the place do you place most of your effort/funds:
    • Respondents are utilizing a combination of promoting instruments to speak their enterprise worth together with:
    • #1 Social media at 22% in 2019 (31% in 2018)
    • #2 Referrals/phrase of mouth/stroll ins at 16% (19% in 2018)
    • #3 Digital advertising (which was new this yr) and print advertising at 14% 
  • When you find yourself needing monetary help for your corporation, the place do you flip first:
    • 42% point out an area financial institution or credit score union
    • 12% point out grants
    • 8% household and buddies
    • 8% personal traders
  • Does your corporation do any on-line enterprise?
    • 52% indicated no, 48% indicated sure
    • That is in comparison with our 2018 survey with 59% indicating sure and 41% indicating no

Future Forecast

  • Within the subsequent three years, do you’re feeling that usually Southwestern Vermont will likely be a greater or worse place to have a enterprise/group: 
    • 81% in 2019 anticipate it is going to be higher as in comparison with 79% in 2018’s survey.
    • Just like 2018, respondents usually cited the Bennington downtown redevelopment of the Putnam Block as essential to the long run.   
    • People who expressed concern in regards to the subsequent 3 years cite:
      • The lack of Southern Vermont School
      • Nationwide recession
      • Lack of staff
      • Lack of disposable revenue
      • Excessive property taxes
      • Elevated well being care
      • Not attracting younger households
      • Persistent substance abuse
      • Technological illiteracy
      • Dependence on State financial improvement
      • Lower in “mother and pop” companies.
  • What are your prime 3 challenges as a enterprise or group:  
    • 50% of respondents recognized Discovering certified workers as their #1 problem as in comparison with 48% in 2018
    • 38% of respondents recognized Advertising and marketing/Consciousness as their #2 problem as in comparison with 46% in 2018 indicating that companies could changing into extra conscious of the necessity for good advertising.
    • 35% of respondents recognized Healthcare prices as their #3 problem as in comparison with 30% in 2018
    • Taxes proceed to be excessive at 31%, coverage and laws at 28%
  • What further providers do you suppose would assist your corporation or group:
    • #1 Higher vacation spot advertising of the realm and area
    • #2 Improved mobile service
    • #3 Improved web and Wi-Fi functionality
    • #4 Improved transportation choices
    • #5 Extra coaching alternatives

“One of many remaining questions we requested on the survey was ‘over the course of the subsequent yr, what are you most trying ahead to,’” added Harrington.  “The feedback are clearly round enchancment tasks like parks downtown, The Putnam Challenge was large, recreation heart growth, Manchester Depot Avenue, Arlington Space Renewal Challenge, canine parks, Ninja Bike Path, Prospect Mountain, new festivals, SVC property future, and the River Stroll. Operating a small enterprise could be arduous and it is mirrored within the outcomes and typically rural economies could be unforgiving.  I do consider, nevertheless, that there’s a rising pleasure round new tasks, expansions and collaborations taking place throughout the county!”

Supply: Bennington Regional Chamber of Commerce 8.28.2019

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