OTCA uses survey to find who shops in Old Town

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Preuss Pets attracts a wide range of customers due to the variety of animals and animal accessories provided in their store. (Photo by Christine LaRouere)

Preuss Pets attracts a wide range of customers due to the variety of animals and animal accessories provided in their store. (Photo by Christine LaRouere)

By Christine LaRouere
Old Town Lansing Times staff writer

OLD TOWN LANSING — For Charlie Holcomb, he believes a survey presented by the Old Town Commercial Association to determine the demographics that shop at his store, Absolute Gallery, may be a bit easier said than done.

“In the past, this may have helped, but at this point, we get people from all over the place,” Holcomb said.

The sales associate said their advertising comes from more word of mouth than from OTCA because he thinks OTCA focuses more on their reputation then the businesses.

“OTCA in theory promotes Old Town businesses,” Holcomb said. “We find people come here through word of mouth more so than their advertising.”

Louise Gradwohl, executive director of OTCA, said the survey is there to provide businesses a better sense of the kind of people who are making their way to Old Town to target their marketing towards those people.

She also said Preuss Pets and Elderly instruments are on board, and she is planning on asking Grace, Sir Pizza Café and Absolute Gallery to join the survey coming out in the spring when the weather gets warmer.

“We hope to better identify who are target market its, trends on how much money is being spent per transaction and where these people are from that are spending the money,” Gradwohl said.

Additionally, Gradwohl said the drive behind the survey stemmed from a previous market study of online reporting. The professional company said it would be good to understand their target market and further expand the amount of stores downtown, she said.

“The professional company said it would be a great way to couple the two data,” Gradwohl said. “If we know for a fact certain people are coming and how much they are spending, stores would come here.”

In regards to helping the businesses, Gradwohl said the data would provide them with information that is free and accurate, which in return will help them either expand their types of products or know they are already doing a good job.

“For most of the small business here, data for free is a great benefit,” Gradwohl said. “If they know we are working hard for them, they will want to get on board.”

Two regular customers wait for their food at Sir Pizza Café. (Photo by Christine LaRouere)

Two regular customers wait for their food at Sir Pizza Café. (Photo by Christine LaRouere)

Wondering if the survey be beneficial

Concerning the difficulty of pin-pointing a demographic who shops at Old Town stores, show room supervisor for Elderly Instruments, Rob Aleshire said the store receives customers all over the globe, usually spending a good amount of money.

“We see string instrument players from all over the world … poor, rich, all of them,” Aleshire said. “A normal transaction can usually be around $200.”

Aleshire also said since the store it well known, getting people to shop there is not much of a problem.

“Any guitar player around town will know us,” Aleshire said.

For the stores who staff is more reserved, Danelle Admire, manager of Sir Pizza Cafe, said the survey would be more beneficial for them since her staff is very outgoing and friendly.

“The people that are quiet and don’t get out a lot or don’t socialize with others, like we all do, they would get the most help with something like that,” Admire said. “We try to put out a surrounding that is comfortable for everybody. There is a huge range of people from young to old coming in here.”

Even though Admire says she knows the kind of people that come for the food at Sir Pizza Café, she said anything helps.

“It might help us out by letting us know how far and how deep word really does spread through word of mouth,” Admire said. “This could help Old Town a little bit, but a lot of people already know about us.”

Contact reporter Christine LaRouere: larouerec@gmail.com, (734) 536- 5237

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