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2011-2012 Strategic Plan

Palmyra Business Improvement District October 2011

Goals of the BID Lower the vacancy rate. Increase awareness of the BID. Leverage the budget.

The BID established three primary goals for 2011 to 2012: To reduce our vacancy rate, increase awareness of our businesses, and to leverage our budget through sponsorship and grant opportunities. These goals can be addressed holistically. In following that thinking, we’ve developed a long-term plan to revitalize the commercial district that also addresses our immediate goals. Through this plan we hope to accomplish several things: Build a positive relationship with our community, understand the market, help our businesses, create the right retail mix for the district, build a business-friendly environment, and grow our businesses’ sales. two

Build a relationship with the community.

Keep everyone informed. Build bridges.

Building bridges is the path to success. Working with others to achieve our common goals will require open lines of communications. We’ve begun by establishing regular communications with business and property owners and meeting with them. As an advocate for the business community, we have to be responsive to the needs of our businesses and understand their issues. Not every business or property owner has the time

to contact us, so we’re making the effort to contact them, and let them know that we’re here to help. A community is more than just its businesses, so we’re reaching out to work with other stakeholders: Government officials, local community leaders, residents, and religious and fraternal organizations. We’re a part of the community in Palmyra, and we want to make sure we’re all working together to be as successful as possible. three

Discover our primary audience.

Understand the market.

Know our customers better. Understand our environment.

A market analysis will guide our efforts and assist our businesses. While we’re introducing ourselves to businesses we’re also examining the commercial properties to understand what kind of retail the physical infrastructure is best suited to house, and taking note of retailer merchandising and signage so we can help our businesses be as effective as possible in presenting themselves to customers. An upcoming analysis of syndicated demographic, psychographic, and economic data will provide us with valuable insights into our potential customers. This analysis will help us uncover opportunities for retail businesses, understand who our customers are, and provide information about our strengths that we can use to attract new businesses into the commercial district. four

We’ll be asking, “What do you want to see in Palmyra?” A consumer survey offers insights into our regional audience, so we can ascertain information about their wants, needs and characteristics. Surveys reveal specific information and give us the opportunity to ask targeted questions about our community and measure support for potential initiatives. Our customer base is larger than our borders, and reaching out to them to ask what they want in Palmyra, helps us

better understand not just how we’re viewed, but what we can become. Armed with this information we can more effectively guide our efforts at retail retention, recruitment, marketing, and selling events. By reaching beyond our borders, we can build relationships with neighboring communities, business districts, and other regional organizations. Nothing happens in a vacuum, so working together to be cooperative instead of competitive will benefit all.

Take a regional view. five

Help local businesses succeed.

Offer assistance. Provide value. Build a nation, not islands.

We’ve got some great businesses here in Palmyra. But even in the best of times, making a successful business—or a business community—simply isn’t easy. And we are clearly not in the best of economic times. We want our businesses to know that the BID is a resource they can draw upon for information, advice, and support. Creating a successful environment for businesses is about more than streetscaping, events, or promotional banners. To provide real value for the assessment, we have to offer all businesses and the whole of the business community our support. The BID strives to be a valued source of information and insight, providing advice for marketing, sales events, visual merchandising and signage, and interfacing with government officials to ensure compliance. A One-Stop Shop, informational introductory packets, a data-rich website, and retailer training seminars are all vehicles we’ll use to deliver important information and advice to existing and incoming retailers. A rising tide lifts all boats. Businesses within our community have the best chance for success if we think and act as a unified whole: a nation rather than islands. Businesses need to work together to informally and formally promote one another, and to enhance the shopping experience for customers. We see co-op marketing as a vehicle to encourage shoppers to visit more often, visit more stores during each visit, and ultimately spend more dollars at our businesses. Sharing a base of customers will give each business a wider pool to draw on and encourage shoppers to think about our district as a shopping experience, rather than home to one or two stores they visit occasionally. six

Create an appealing retail mix. Make properties “retail ready.” We need to improve our mix of retail offerings. A retail mix serves as the gateway to consumer markets. By creating an appealing mix of retail stores, we’ll attract customers, fill vacancies and increase the value of the assets. To attract qualified prospects, vacant properties need to be “retail ready”. Retail tenants prefer space that is clean, open, and able to accommodate their needs. We’ll work with property owners to offer advice and suggestions for staging properties to make them desirable to potential tenants.

Recruit qualified retail prospects. Attract our desired audience.

Following the market analysis, we’ll begin prospecting. Guided by the findings of our market analysis, we’ll create lists of pre-qualified commercial tenants, create marketing materials, and undertake a campaign to build awareness and generate interest in our community. By enhancing the retail mix, we’ll attract a more regional audience, and encourage customers to visit more often and spend more dollars. Creating a destination that offers an experience beyond stop-and-go shopping will enhance the value of the entire community. seven

Create a one-stop shop.

We need to nurture new business arrivals to ensure their best chance for success. At the same time, we need to make sure that new businesses comply with regulations that govern their stores and operations. Misunderstandings and lack of communication can create disruptions that negatively impact both the business and the community. The goal of the one-stop shop is to smooth the path for new business openings by proactively providing information and guidance for doing business within Palmyra. As an advocate for the business community, the BID wants to be in a position to advise the Borough on business-related issues, such as signage or zoning. eight

Increase foot traffic and grow sales.

Create opportunities. Generate trial visits.

Our best chance for success lies in working together. The BID is uniquely positioned to market Palmyra as a destination worth visiting. Sweepstakes and events provide retailers with the direct benefit of increased sales opportunities. They also encourage potential customers to visit and see all we have to offer. Trial visits

give merchants an opportunity to turn visitors into customers. These programs allow us to capture consumer data that can be used to invite their return and build a relationship with them. Further, sweepstakes can be tailored to increase the number of stores shopped per visit, offering opportunities for retailers to be discovered by residents and visitors. nine

Seek out partners.

Expand our resources.

Think regionally.

The 2011-2012 strategic plan addresses issues facing individual business and property owners, the entire district, and the region as a whole. Given the state of the economy and the challenges we face, we simply don’t have the resources we need to achieve all our goals.

Palmyra Business Improvement District

In order to expand our resources, the BID will seek relationships and opportunities that allow us to expand our resources yet maintain a focus on our core mission. To that end, we are researching grantwriting and sponsorship opportunities. We’re also exploring local and regional partnerships. Engaging partners in efforts of common interest can enhance our chances of success while decreasing our costs. Our goal is to proactively search for opportunities to create mutually-beneficial relationships and expand our resources. ten


Palmyra Business Improvement District October 2011 Leverage the budget. Lower the vacancy rate. two