Tag: <span>Jerry Bilek</span>

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Megan Rossow (left), "Petey," the parrot, and Leah Erickson display locally produced merchandise at the Cannon Valley Veterinary Clinic

Local governments and independent non-profits can be resources for business owners in need of support, especially in today’s tougher economic times. In Northfield, however, not everyone agrees on what the government and non-profits should do in order to offer the most help to the most business owners. The Representative Journalism Project attempted to collect more information about the matter by issuing a survey in January to 60 business owners or managers from a variety of fields. (continued)

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Myles Radtke myles-doc-sshot

Myles Radtke, a student in Doug McGill’s journalism class at Carleton College, has done a nice piece on downtown retailers in the current economic climate, titled As Economy Sputters, Northfield Businesses Tighten Belts and Push Promotions (PDF – full text below).  In particular, he’s interviewed a wide variety of local experts and allowed them to speak their own thoughts on the subject.  I encourage you to read it.

It’s been a tough few months for many downtown businesses.  First there were high gas prices cutting into families budgets, then there were the street projects complicating access, finally there was the Global Financial Contraction challenging the minds of the best and brightest.

As Radtke found out, local retailers are seeing some impacts on their customers.  Pinched in the present and worried about the future, folks are being more careful about their money.  Radtke reports that store owners have responded by cutting operating costs, working to build other income centers, and trying new promotions to get people into their stores.

Not all businesses are experiencing slowing sales.  Some are holding steady and a few are even up slightly from last year.  However, Radtke notes that even these business owners have contingency plans in place, such as a shift from luxury goods to more practical items.

Many local experts who spoke to Radtke believe that the media coverage of economic set-backs, a steady drumbeat featuring sub-prime mortgages in California, risky commercial loans in Iceland, and a store closing in Northfield can undermine consumer confidence.  Feeding the pessimism, they warn, can extend the recession.

Radtke ends his piece on a positive note.  Entrepreneurs, like the downtown business owners he interviewed, run on optimism.  They’ll continue to make adjustments, and believe that economic conditions, and retail sales, will eventually improve.

Griff had suggested that I close the comments on this post and send them to my previous post on the Deep Economy.  I’ve decided that I disagree.  I hope that the comments on “Digging Deeper into the Local Economy” will focus on ideas for shifting some pieces of the economy from global to local in order to benefit the Northfield community.

For this piece, I’d like to explore the impact of the media on consumer confidence and economic conditions.  Do you think the media’s stories on economic events have an impact on the economy?

Continue for the text of Myles’ article or see the PDF:

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