Steamboat Springs Chamber will conduct comprehensive survey of Routt County businesses | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Springs Chamber will conduct comprehensive survey of Routt County businesses

Teresa Ristow

— The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association is working to design a survey to get the pulse of how businesses are faring in Routt County.

The Chamber is working with the University of Colorado Denver through the school's partnership with the Colorado Department of Local Affairs to coordinate the countywide survey, which could be administered to businesses as early as March.

The survey will ask Routt County businesses about difficulties they may face in recruiting and retaining employees as well as other challenges and ways in which they are excelling.

"We're seeking feedback that will help us shape our business community going forward," said Jane Blackstone, economic development director for the Chamber and leader of the Steamboat Springs Economic Development Council, an advisory committee to the Chamber.

Blackstone said the survey still is being developed, and while all of the logistics haven't been decided, she expects the survey to reach both Chamber member businesses and other companies. The surveying group will seek out large employers, single-employee businesses and everything between, she said.

"This is an attempt to reach a lot of businesses," Blackstone said.

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In talking with business owners and employees anecdotally, Blackstone said she has heard about difficulties in attracting and retaining employees because of access to child care and housing. The survey will ask about those topics as well as transportation and other issues businesses face. It also could identify resources businesses might need to better succeed.

Blackstone spoke briefly at a Steamboat Springs City Council meeting last week about how the survey might provide useful information for the city’s ongoing discussion about the availability of affordable housing and the effect it has on local employers.

Blackstone hopes the survey will provide concrete data to supplement what the development council already hears anecdotally.

"I think it will be fascinating to see the results," she said.

The Economic Development Council is hoping businesses are eager to participate once the survey is ready.

"We really want a great response," she said. "It's important to hear from the community, and it's challenging to visit with each business one on one."

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow