Downtown Survey Results Shared

The Downtown Leadership Group, a.k.a. DLG, has been around a few years now and, last year, generated mission and vision statements.   When thinking about the future of downtown Pine City, we knew that it was an area of the community that belongs to all of us, the whole community.  But we also realized that we had to seek out input from downtown merchants so, to address that, a survey was circulated amongst the downtown merchants and building owners, seeking their opinions on various issues that affect downtown. 

Respondents want more to do downtown after 5 p.m., especially more entertainment options, and they have concerns about the lack of retail and variety and what they called “sparkle” as its buildings are starting to show their age.  These were some of the more prevalent results, along with much other information that points out the strengths of downtown as well as what could be done to improve it.  

Surveys were made available to all of the property owners in the downtown area property owners—87 in all.  We had 35 respondents or just over 40 percent.  Of these, there was a mix of downtown business owners, managers and residents.  Results were presented at an informational event June 9 whereby the DLG offered dessert and coffee to anyone who attended.  I told the handful of people who came what survey respondents thought about our precious downtown.  

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Support Downtown Pine City

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Wanted: Farmers’ Market Committee Members

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Wanted:  Two (2) Farmers’ Market in the Park Steering Committee Members.  Ideally, the board desires an interested individual from the business community or someone who is a regular market customer.

The mission of the FMP is… “To establish and maintain a Farmers’ Market for the purpose of marketing local farm and homemade products; to improve production; to stimulate public interest; to increase consumption of local products; to spark the downtown Pine City economy.”

The committee meets on the 3rd Friday of each month, seasonally, at 8:30 A.M.  E-mail duskwindfarm@gmail.com to express your interest in serving in this capacity.

Historical Walking Tour Planned

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The Pine City Downtown Leadership Group is putting together a walking tour brochure for tourists and interested residents to explore the history of downtown.  Over a dozen places of significance will be featured on the tour, which is expected to take roughly 1.5 hours to complete.  For more info, contact info@pinecitychamber.com.

Event for seniors evokes many memories

Earlier this week, a collection of old Pine City photographs was on display at the Pine City Senior Citizens Center.  The Downtown Leadership Group hosted an event there to highlight successful times in the community’s past and invite elderly residents to get involved in making a difference for Pine City’s future.  One project the group is looking for assistance with is designing historical walking tours of downtown Pine City.  Anyone with interest in helping should contact C.J. Gustafson at Sprouts Hometown Market & Gifts, at (320) 629-3470.

The first photo (left) shows Dick Lindig, of the Pine County Historical Society, sharing one of his personal photo collections.  The other photo (right) has C.J. Gustafson, owner of Sprouts Hometown Market & Gifts, sharing information about the photos in her Picturing Pine calendars (available at Sprouts, 245 5th St SE).

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Become active in the DLG

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The Downtown Leadership Group is looking to involve those interested in making downtown THE place where the community and visitors alike come to dine, shop, be pampered and entertained weekdays, weekends and evenings.  Please contact Colleen at cbrown@youbetnet.com to be placed on the meeting notification list.

Word about Horizons starting to spread

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Recently, at a meeting of the Downtown Leadership Group, there was somewhat of buzz about a new program beginning in Pine City.  Today, at the Farmers’ Market meeting, ideas were generated about how some of the people involved in Horizons could maybe help with their efforts.  From cafes to supermarkets, hair salons to waiting rooms, people are beginning to take notice of what over 70 locals are involved in.  A column in the Pine City Pioneer Thursday was even devoted to this Web log.  What do you feel about Horizons so far?  What is it about the program that is causing somewhat of a community stir?  Have you tried to encourage anyone you know to get involved in it? 

Chain Stores in Pine City

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Chain stores underwent an explosive period of growth in recent decades.  A majority of new retail construction in the U.S. during this period has been in the form of “big boxes” known from their large, square, featureless buildings.  These stores range in size from 20,000 to 300,000-plus square feet (a football field is 45 000 sq. ft.), where a typical downtown store might be 3000 sq. ft.  These superstores encompass general merchandise (for example, Wal-Mart and ShopKo), which offer goods at wholesale or near-wholesale prices.  Smaller chains including parts and home-improvement stores (such as O’Reilly or Ace), and restaurants (Subway, McDonalds, Pizza Hut or Domino’s for example), have also expanded rapidly.

Although popular with many shoppers, chain stores have faced growing opposition to their expansion plans in recent years. In some cities and towns, citizens have organized grassroots protests, boycotts, and petitions to block the arrival of new chain stores.

Chain retailers argue that they have created an efficient and innovative method of retailing.  By buying in large quantities, dealing directly with manufacturers instead of going through wholesalers, operating their own warehouses and distribution systems, adopting sophisticated information technology, and centralizing management and accounting functions, large retail chains have reduced costs. Supporters also point out longer hours and “one-stop” shopping convenience.  These features have made chain stores extremely popular.

Critics argue that chain stores harm local economies.  When a chain store comes to town, they typically force locally-owned businesses to close, thereby eliminating as many jobs and tax revenue as they create.  Considering what happens to a dollar spent at a locally owned business, not only do the profits stay in the community, but local retailers support a variety of local businesses.  They bank with local banks, advertises with the local media, hire local accountants and printers – each of which in turn spends that revenue with other local businesses.  The Multiplier Effect sustains a wide variety of jobs in the local community and generates, through every transaction, new tax revenue to support schools, libraries, parks, and other public services.

Sound off.  Should people break the chain and shop locally-owned or is there enough savings in patronizing the chains?