Respondents emphasize downtown restaurants


Main Street Steamboat's dining is great, but the shopping is too pricey, according to a recent Internet survey.

"One of the primary assets they mentioned was the restaurants and the homey feel and atmosphere they provide," Main Street Steamboat's Branding Committee Chairman Towny Anderson told the group's board of directors at a Tuesday breakfast meeting.

Main Street Steamboat launched the Internet survey in December 2004 with the help of RRC Associates of Denver. The results of the poll will serve as the basis for creating a brand identity for the downtown shopping district. The district covers the area from Oak to Yampa streets and from Third to 11th streets.

The survey isn't complete.

Anderson's committee also wants to conduct random sidewalk interviews and obtain more responses.

"We're going to shoot for 750 and probably settle for 500," Anderson said.

The early respondents also sent a message that they perceive downtown Steamboat to be an expensive place to shop.

"The idea that there's a public perception that downtown is too expensive clearly has been verified by the survey," Anderson said.

Mike Forney, who leads Main Street's organizing committee, said that news was expected.

"Should we be surprised? I don't think we should beat ourselves up on that," he said.

Anderson said his committee intends to wrap up the survey by the end of March so it can be turned over to advertising agency Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell for creation of a branding statement.

The ultimate goal is to differentiate downtown Steamboat as a shopping destination.

But it's more than that. Main Street leaders want to know how people perceive the downtown shopping district. And most importantly, they want to know how Routt County residents feel about the shopping, dining and recreational opportunities there. The emphasis on residents is based on the premise that tourists will seek out the places locals frequent.

Anderson hopes the new brand for Steamboat's "main street" will be in place by July 4.


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