DeKalb holds online retail survey


Danielle Holland, 24 of DeKalb, straightens items in the seasonal fall section at Cracker Jax, 118 North 3rd Street. The store has been a local business of DeKalb for 27 years and helps bring and build other local stores.

By Ryan Felgenhauer

The city is holding an online survey to determine which businesses residents would like to see brought to the area.

DeKalb intends to discover what types of businesses residents frequently visit in nearby areas and determine if it would be feasible to bring those businesses to DeKalb with the survey.

The survey was suggested by Business Districts, Inc., of Evanston, which has worked with DeKalb to improve their commerce for some time.

“We’re not asking what people want to see,” said DeKalb Principal Planner Derek Hiland. “We want to know where they would actually go.”

The survey makes a distinction between which businesses people like and which they patronize.

The question asked by the survey is, “Where do you go now, that you would also go to if it were in DeKalb?” Hiland said.

In the past, the city only asked for the businesses people thought they would use, not which ones they already traveled to visit, Hiland said. This information would be more appealing to potential businesses looking to open a new branch.

The figures from the survey could show businesses who are considering opening in the area that DeKalb has a definite, existing market for their services, Hiland said.

Business Districts, Inc. already worked with DeKalb on the marketing portion of the new downtown plan, said Bridget Lane, director at Business Districts, Inc.

Business Districts, Inc. has also worked on similar surveys for other areas in Illinois, said Jennifer Diedrich, DeKalb’s economic development coordinator .

According to DeKalb County Online, there are two separate surveys, one for students and one for permanent residents of DeKalb.

The survey does not have a certain end date.

“We will run it either for six weeks or until we get 1000 responses,” Diedrich said. “Whichever comes first.”