Pleasanton Weekly

News - April 9, 2010

Pleasanton to fund major marketing survey

Plan calls for creating robust image, memorable shopping, dining experiences

by Jeb Bing

The city of Pleasanton's Economic Development department and its Economic Vitality Committee are preparing to kick off a new marketing campaign for its retail sectors.

Working with EMC Creative, a Danville-based marketing group, the plans include retail seminars for the local businesses and a long-range plan to create a more robust image and memorable shopping experience for Pleasanton and its visitors.

Because it's a city-financed effort, EMC won't limit its strategic thinking to just the downtown, but will also include retail centers in other parts of Pleasanton, including the Stoneridge Shopping Center.

Since its founding in 1980, EMC has specialized in master-planned and urban/suburban communities in Northern California. Its professionals are now interviewing Realtors, commercial brokers, and other stakeholders, including building owners who need tenants. When sales tax figures are announced for the fourth quarter of 2009 in a week or two, EMC also will analyze that data to see what sells the best downtown and, based on its survey work in other retail centers, what downtown Pleasanton could do to attract more shoppers.

Pamela Ott, director of economic development for the city of Pleasanton, said the online research study will explore consumer retail habits and could provide answers about how and why people choose Pleasanton for shopping, dining and for doing business.

"The responses from consumers and other stakeholders of Pleasanton will influence future strategy and recommendations," she said.

The survey will begin next Friday with anyone regardless of where they live invited to log on to www.pleasantonsurvey.com. Those who complete the five to 10 minute online survey will be entered to win a $100 downtown Pleasanton gift card from the Pleasanton Downtown Association or a $100 American Express Simon gift card from Stoneridge Shopping Center.

"The survey will give us data that we can effectively use to improve and position our Pleasanton brand," Ott said. "Pleasanton has so many successful retailers and business owners who count on support from the community. We hope for a large response to the survey so that we will be better able to address our challenges and create successful solutions for our future."

EMC Creative began working with Pleasanton when it hosted a "how to" holiday seminar last year for Pleasanton merchants. A series of four seminars will be offered this year.

Ott's announcement followed by two days a closed-door meeting with a select group invited by the Pleasanton Downtown Association to discuss adding more downtown entertainment. The consulting firm hired by the PDA to lead the effort is Responsible Hospitality Institute (RHI) out of Santa Cruz.

Although nighttime music and dancing have given North Main Street greater nighttime appeal, the PDA wants the nightlife extended and expanded. With the $10-million Firehouse Arts Center scheduled to open in September, it's expected there will be several hundred theater-goers walking down Railroad Avenue, Main Street and the side streets after the performances. Already there have been inquiries from cafes and bars about opening on those streets and the PDA wants to be ready.

RHI is being considered for handling those initiatives with, presumably, downtown merchants financing the effort although no public report was issued after the meeting by either RHI or the PDA.

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