Main Street board accepts research offer

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The board of directors of Main Street Steamboat has accepted an offer from the same Boulder marketing firm that conducts SKI magazine's reader surveys to research branding of Steamboat Springs' downtown commercial district.

Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. marketing executive Andy Wirth has arranged for Nolan Rosall of RRC Associates to conduct the survey at no charge. Wirth serves on Main Street's branding committee, which had bogged down because it lacks a budget.

The object of the survey is to get a sense of residents' visceral response to downtown Steamboat, said Towny Anderson, chairman of the branding committee.

More than 8,000 copies of the survey will be mailed to Steamboat residents.

"We want to ask, 'What do you really value down here? Or do you even like coming downtown?'" Main Street Steamboat chairman Tom Ptach said.

Board member Mike Forney said this will be the first time Main Street Steamboat formally has reached out to residents. He thinks the effort will help establish in people's minds that Main Street is not an effort merely to boost retail sales to tourists but to enhance the attractiveness of downtown to people who live and work in Steamboat.

The survey will be used to guide the formulation of a brand statement that positions the downtown commercial district in Steamboat's rapidly changing commercial mix. Main Street Steamboat formed this year to reinvigorate the commercial areas along Oak and Yampa streets as well as on Lincoln Avenue.

Anderson said RRC Associates would use existing studies in reaching conclusions about downtown Steamboat. Questions on the survey might include: "How do you get downtown?," "Where do you park your car?" and "What is your perception of the variety and quality of restaurants in downtown Steamboat?"

RRC Associates has worked with Colorado Ski Country USA and completed a demographic study for the National Association of Ski Areas in August.

-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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