Sketchy Artist submits survey

April Ripka, owner of the Sketchy Artist on Division Street, emailed me the following answers to a survey I distributed to about 60 businesses this week.

“I’m a member of the Riverwalk Arts Quarter (in initial progess). I joined because it’s a great plan to involve, not just the arts in general, but the business that are associated with arts.
How can we help businesses? Spread the word: SHOP LOCAL and that that good stuff. I think Northfield does a good job of that – /locally/.

What about outside Northfield? if someone from another city thinks ‘i wanna shop some boutiques, have lunch and enjoy the afternoon.’ what places do you think come to mind first? France Ave, Stillwater, Red Wing…and? Northfield? maybe…but probably not. not because it sucks (heck no!), but more than likely because they have no idea what’s here. Sure, we know the great stores, eats, art galleries, events, etc., but do others? I think it’d be great to see the city come up with a campaign to promote itself outside the immediate area. Some of the businesses in the past year have pooled together to take out an ad in the Twn Cities and other areas, but we can’t always afford much else. An ad here and there won’t be as effective as a larger campaign.

Has the national economic situation and advances in technology, such as the Internet, affected your business, if at all?
of course the economic situation has affected the my business, and will probably continue to do so – negatively. i don’t have any previous years to compare it to, so it can only get better, right?
as far as art supplies go, the internet is a formidable competition. “wholesale” art material retailers and big box stores can offer supplies at a lower price and sometimes even free shipping. works great in a time where people are trying to save gas. on the other hand, the internet is a fabulous tool for getting your name out there. simple, FREE things like Facebook rock. now all i have to do is finish my website…

What’s the most effective promotion?
word of mouth.”

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