Downtown Le Mars Market Study Update and Business Recruitment Training | Le Mars, Iowa

Le Mars, Iowa, with a growing population of nearly 10,000, became officially recognized as the Ice Cream Capital of the World® in October of 1994. More ice cream is produced here than in any other city in the world. Situated 20 miles from Sioux City, Iowa with a population over 100,000, Le Mars is an active, progressive and well-respected community.

Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce Main Street, the non-profit organization spearheading downtown revitalization and economic development efforts in Le Mars – a Main Street Iowa community – is taking a pro-active and catalytic approach to planning for the future prosperity of downtown Le Mars.

Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce Main Street Program and Main Street Iowa re-enlisted DPN to create an updated profile of the marketplace and to assess new and emerging opportunities for business retention, expansion and recruitment. The process was designed to build upon successes and momentum realized since the completion of the Downtown Le Mars Market Study and Strategies project in 2009.

The timing for considering opportunities for business expansion, development and investment was opportune. Since completion of the 2009 study, many changes had occurred in downtown Le Mars. Building improvements, new businesses, a public art project, the improvement and re-opening of the downtown movie theater, and the relocation of the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor & Museum to downtown Le Mars are among a series of changes and new investments which are shaping downtown Le Mars to compete – and thrive – in the future.

Moving forward, it will be important for the community to capitalize upon and leverage these investments and results to position downtown Le Mars as a local and regional attraction, an economic engine, and a center for commerce.

Main Street Iowa intermediate level market analysis services and training, tailored by DPN for participating   Main Street Iowa communities, are specifically designed for communities like Le Mars which have previously completed a market study; have a need to update market information; and/or are seeking to take the scope of business improvement and development efforts to a new level. The advanced level program capitalizes upon the community’s past investment of time and effort, serves to re-energize local staff and volunteers participating in the process, and optimizes the products of these efforts to elevate local business improvement and development initiatives.

Training, site visits and ongoing support services were tailored to build on momentum gained from recent changes and investments in downtown Le Mars, to re-examine the market, to update the list of “top prospects” for expansion and recruitment, and to refine and enhance downtown Le Mars business recruitment strategies and processes. Services delivered and steps completed in the course of the engagement included:

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The delivery of a Market Snapshot report containing updates and in-depth analyses of trade area demographic, lifestyle and economic data to identify changes, trends and new opportunities in the marketplace.

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Delivery of DPN’s “Go Fish” business recruitment training curriculum and workshop.

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Facilitation of local work sessions and focus groups to identify emerging opportunities and to profile “top prospects” for business expansion and recruitment.

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A “Recruitment Test” site visit providing a “real test” of Le Mars’ business recruitment strategy and process.

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An evaluation of Le Mars’ business recruitment collateral materials, strategies and processes along with an Action Agenda Memo comprised of recommendations and examples for specific steps to enhance the local business recruitment system.

As a direct result of their participation, Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce Main Street Program staff and volunteers are better prepared, and are working in a more active fashion to identify,  make contact with and attract targeted bsuiness prospects.

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