What happens when a customer comes to business and that business is closed? What happens if it is at a time when many other similar and competing businesses are open?
In many cases, they will seek that service or product at a location that is open when it is convenient for them. Additionally, they may share their disappointment with finding a closed business with someone they know. Both are outcomes that threaten the success and growth of a commerce district.
Further, recent local data indicate that downtown Minot, as a commerce district, is likely losing business due to it’s largely traditional, daytime hours of operation. It’s a challenging situation to overcome for a number of reasons including:
Barriers to Business Hours Realignment
- Downtown is an independent commerce district. There is no central authority like at a mall that can dictate hours of operation. Further, many businesses located in downtown specifically for this benefit and freedom.
- Many downtown businesses are owner-operated and in specialized trades or services. Put simply, there are limits on the hours they are able to contribute to their business.
- Customer expectations on this matter are heavily ingrained; this makes adoption and awareness of new or later hours an investment that is unlikely to provide immediate returns. This may lead merchants and business owners to abandon new hours prior to customer awareness and adoption.
- Singular adoption (changes made by a single business) will have minimal impacts on customer attitudes toward the entire distirct. In other words, this is a difficult challenge to overcome alone.
Mall vs. Downtown Hourly Customer Profile
Path to Progress
- Crtical Mass: We need to ensure we’re a viable commerce district with enough occupancy to warrant the effort. This evaluation by the DBPA is underway.
- Education & Awareness: The graphics above are an example of this. The more we know, the more likely we are to consider change. Additional education resources include:
- Small Steps: We will not leap forward and suddenly achieve our goals. We need to take calculated, small steps and demonstrate success.
- Persistence: We need to make a long-term commitment to moving the needle on this as an organization and as a bussiness community.
- Support Business Owners: The DBPA needs to explore every option when it comes to assisting downtown businesses manage their stress points and bottlenecks.
- Work Together: The more buy-in we have, the more progress we’ll make.