provides tools of opportunity
results to help
guide county in managing growth
(July 2002) MADISON, Ind. With residential and
commercial growth from metropolitan areas creeping ever closer to Jefferson
County, Ind., consultants say the time to act is now if local residents
and business owners want to have any say in how the county manages its
future retail base, say consultants hired to study the countys
retail marketing and agri-business.
Two consultants from Marketek of Atlanta and Portland Ore., on June
24 presented their findings from a year-long study during a meeting
of nearly 100 people held at the Jefferson County 4-H Fairgrounds.
It was hailed as the first-of-its-kind retail marketing
study because it included agri-business and factors that may be considered
to help keep farmers on their farm in the wake of recent tobacco program
cutbacks. The study was commissioned by the Collaborative Marketing
Project of Jefferson County steering committee, made up of dozens of
volunteer members from the countys various governments, organizations
The committee specifically wanted to know what could be done to stem
the flow of money being spent outside the county for goods and services,
including agriculture-related products. A key problem the county
faces is what we call retail leakage, which is approaching
90 percent in some segments. Retail leakage is Jefferson County shoppers
spending their money outside the county, said CMP facilitator
Using a slide presentation to illustrate statistical data and recommendations,
Mary P. Bosch and Eleanor Quinn Matthews told the group to get the community
involved, generate a comprehensive plan and take action.
Bosch highlighted the pluses and minuses of the countys four distinct
retail marketing units: downtown Madison, Madison hilltop, Hanover and
rural Jefferson County. By breaking the study down into these four areas,
the consultants were able to address specific factors and make recommendations.
Now it is up to the Collaborative Marketing Project committee to sort
through the findings and develop a plan of action, Grahn said.
The study is no good unless it is implemented, and thats
the task we face now, Grahn said.
A group of community leaders met in closed session the following morning
to review the findings. The CMP committee was scheduled to meet soon
afterward to fine-tune a final version of the study, which is scheduled
to be made available on the CMP Internet website for downloading by
July 10. The website address is: www.madisonindiana.org.
In addition to business owners and local government officials, state
agriculture officials, including Assistant Agriculture Commissioner
Joe Pearson, attended the June 24 meeting in hopes of gleaning from
it ideas that could be put to use in other Indiana counties.
What we see happening here is exciting, and we applaud this effort
to seek ways to help our farmers stay on the land and make a living,
said Wendy Dant Chesser, executive director of the Indiana Rural Development
Council in Indianapolis.
It is hoped by committee members that the results of the study will
help them address several issues:
n How to stop the flow of spending outside the county for goods and
n How to replace the income for tobacco-producing farmers hit by cutbacks;
n How Hanover can successfully serve its growing bedroom community of
year-round residents and the nine-month population of Hanover College
n How to better integrate residential with commercial areas on the Madison
n How to counteract business vacancies in downtown Madison.
More than 3,000 surveys (10 percent of the county population) were completed
by residents and business owners in the study. The surveys helped consultants
gain an understanding of the perceptions, needs and motivations of local
shoppers, businesses and farmers.
They indicate the stores and services most desired or needed in
the county and identify the factors that shoppers consider important
in deciding where to shop, Grahn said.
The study was funded in part by the Indiana-Kentucky Electric Corp and
the Lilly Endowment Inc.
Retail sales increased 188 percent in Jefferson County between 1991
and 2001. Thats far above the national average of 100 percent.
In agriculture, the trend seems to be headed to more entrepreneurial
agriculture, whereby new business ventures are launched.
Such statistics and the findings we have before us now from the
study presents us with a daunting challenge, but it gives us the tools
we need to get started, Grahn said.
During the question-and-answer session that followed the presentation,
the consultants were asked about the potential impacts of a future new
Ohio River bridge, the growth of neighboring counties, the lack of a
larger highway connecting Madison to I-65, the stagnant population growth
in Jefferson County and industrial growth.
The consultants said such factors were not studied because they did
not fall into the parameters of the retail marketing analysis.
#CMP committee chairman and city councilman Jim Lee concluded the evening
with a passionate speech urging county residents to pull together in
supporting the development of a plan to guide the countys future
growth or its reaction to competing growth all around it.
This is a critical time for us to structure vision for our future,
he said. Our job is to get people excited and become a part of
Lees steering members include Dave Adams, Connie Combs, Grahn,
John Grote, Jerry Hay, Wayne Kyle, Sandy Shelton, Margaret Seifert,
Tony Steinhardt and Betsey Vonderheide.
The Retail Marketing Analysis was funded in part by the Indiana-Kentucky
Electric Corp and the Lilly Endowment Inc. In addition to the study,
the CMP committee has initiated several other efforts, including new
brochures and road signage, an annual Community Day with Hanover College
freshmen, and integrating the thematic design of all publications produced
by county tourism and historical groups.
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