Sylvan going after businesses
Most communities wait for new businesses to arrive. The Town of Sylvan Lake is being more aggressive.
Sylvan Lake’s economic development staff has prepared a retail and service opportunity profile that it hopes will entice businesses to choose the resort community as a place to locate.
Economic development officer Vicki Kurz has also prepared a retail recruitment strategy that she planned to present to town council on Monday, and hopes to eventually form a business recruitment team.
These initiatives will emphasize the results of a recent “downtown goods and services gap analysis survey,” which found that 82 per cent of the nearly 500 people questioned want to shop locally.
The survey was also completed by about 100 visitors to the town.
High on respondents’ commercial wish list for downtown Sylvan Lake were food products: groceries, baked goods, meats, natural foods and ethnic foods, with family restaurants also identified. Other perceived needs included recreational opportunities for young people, and clothing and footwear stores, said Kurz.
The plan is to share the survey information, and other stats about the fast-growing community, with commercial site selectors.
The profile will also be posted online and advertised through other means.
“Everything from cold-calling to Alberta Venture (magazine),” said Kurz.
She believes the information will provide a compelling case for entrepreneurs to choose Sylvan Lake, especially in the case of those who provide the products and services that survey respondents identified as important.
“We now have some documentation that shows the residents would support their businesses, so we can be proactive.”
Kurz said she’ll extend her net into other communities, including Calgary and Edmonton, but is also appealing to local developers and businesses. Commercial opportunities throughout Sylvan Lake will be emphasized, she said, but downtown is the priority.
“Right now I am really going to focus on filling the vacancies in the downtown core, more so than anything.”