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City works to retain business

Telephone survey throughout December aimed at understanding needs and concerns of business community
St. Albert Place

The City of St. Albert wants to do its part in assisting local business keep their doors wide open.

Throughout the month of December, St. Albert is running a survey on business retention and expansion in an effort to better understand the plans and needs of the business community.

St. Albert's business retention and expansion acting manager Nicole Pearson stated in an email the survey will run until Dec. 20 and will involve randomly selecting 300 businesses for a short telephone survey. The city's website notes the survey should take no longer than 15 minutes to complete, and businesses may be contacted up until Dec. 20.

“St. Albert’s economic future is dependent on the city’s existing businesses. Because of this recognized importance, the City is taking positive action to identify and meet the needs of those businesses,” Pearson stated.

Businesses will be asked to share needs, concerns and opportunities so city staff can respond to the needs of the business community. An important objective of the survey, Pearson said, is to reinforce St. Albert’s pro-business attitudes and working to develop effective communication channels.

The city has hired MDB Insight, an economic development consulting firm, to conduct the survey. After completion, MDB and city staff will analyze the surveys for “challenges and opportunities that the local business community is facing.”

Pearson said the survey falls under one of city council’s priorities, which is to enhance business and commercial growth. In order to develop programs to help retain companies in the city, St. Albert first needs to understand challenges of the business community.

“The survey will help us determine challenges our businesses have so we can try to mitigate them to keep companies in our community viable,” Pearson said. “It may also identify changes we can make that will make the City more attractive to businesses looking to locate to the region.”

St. Albert has never conducted a study like this one, although Pearson said it is something economic development has aspired to do “for a few years.”

Once the data is analyzed, a report will be presented to the city.

A representative from the city was unavailable for interview on this story.

Hannah Lawson

About the Author: Hannah Lawson

Hannah Lawson joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2019 after working as editor of the Athabasca Advocate. She writes about city hall.
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