Poor response to BR&E survey so far

FORT FRANCES—A little over a week after officially launching the 2007 business retention and expansion survey, the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce has gotten no response from participants.
As such, it is strongly encouraging local businesses to get on board.
Community development officer Kerri Dittaro said Thursday morning that no one has yet contacted her about taking the survey, but is hoping that will change soon.
“We are still looking for businesses to volunteer their time. I am going to be sending out letters to businesses at random asking them to participate,” she noted.
Dittaro stressed the survey will not take up a lot of a participants’ time nor require much effort.
Either Dittaro, or one of several trained “volunteer visitors,” will be sit down with each participating business and personally conduct the survey—they do all the writing.
The survey entails answering a series of standardized questions, many of which can be answered simply by checking off a box, while others call for the participant to give more personalized input.
“Some of the questions leave room for open responses. If they have anything to remark about the question being asked, they do have that option,” explained Dittaro.
“The community questions, because we are looking for feedback specifically for our community, are open-ended. But there’s only nine of them,” she added.
The survey takes about an hour to complete.
By taking the survey, Dittaro said participants not only get to voice their concerns about retaining and expanding local business, but also will learn to take better advantage of the business resources available in the community as well as be able to help set priorities on the future direction of local economic efforts.
Dittaro, who started working on the survey in January along with the local business retention and expansion task force, said she’s aiming for 100 businesses to take part.
She added it’s important the project have the participation of as many local businesses as possible because the more survey responses she can get, the clearer issues affecting the entire business community will be represented in the findings.
Dittaro wants to start conducting surveys next month, and is on the lookout for helping hands at present.
“I am going to be offering a training session for volunteer visitors on April 4. So I’ve sent out approximately 20 letters and had a couple of responses,” she noted.
Anyone who wants to help out in that way can give her a call at 274-5773.
Once the process gets underway, Dittaro will be entering survey data as she goes along, with survey analysis likely to start in June. She added all information participants provide will remain confidential.
The business retention and expansion task force then will put together a report and create a long-term action plan based on the survey findings.
The business retention and expansion project is being financially supported by the Chamber of Commerce, RRFDC, and Town of Fort Frances.
Any Fort Frances business interested in participating in the survey can contact Dittaro at 274-5773 or via e-mail at kerri@fortfranceschamber.com