Baraboo business survey prompts action
Excerpted from Baraboo News Republic
By Ben Bromley
Most Baraboo merchants say business is good, but there’s room for improvement.
In April, volunteers conducted a Business Walk, surveying more than 200 merchants to gauge the pulse of local commerce. Now that the results are in, business leaders are discussing how to act on them.
“We want to see whether there are practical, pragmatic solutions,” said Andy Bingle, who chairs the Baraboo Economic Development Commission’s Business Walk committee.
Ninety-one percent of respondents said business is somewhere between fair and great. They listed friendly customers, Baraboo’s location and support from local business groups as the best things about doing business here.
Business owners listed a lack of parking, along with poor road design and conditions, as a top obstacle. Better marketing of Baraboo in the Wisconsin Dells and Madison markets is needed, as are a more diverse base of businesses, a new hotel and affordable housing.
Bingle said the goal is to pinpoint trends affecting businesses, and enact policies that remove roadblocks. For example, some merchants said city red tape makes it difficult to place signs and expand businesses.
The survey was supported by partners including the city, village of West Baraboo, Baraboo Area Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Baraboo Inc., Madison Region Economic Partnership and Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin.