During the Downtown Sheridan Association's introduction of a Downtown Development Authority business plan Thursday, discussions turned to how to get Sheridan residents to shop local.
The dreaded, “everyone goes to Billings to shop” topic was brought up, and business owners asked the experts (Arnett Muldrow and Associates, the urban planning firm tasked with studying a DDA in town) for their advice. Aaron Arnett tells us one of two ways to attack the problem.
Arnett says the zip code surveys (charting geographic locations that come to sheridan stores) they are conducting will contribute specifically to understanding that in town.
Many in attendance believed that Sheridan residents should look first for a product in Sheridan before traveling to Billings. Arnett pointed out that Sheridan probably imports it's own market segment from Johnson County and over the mountain that come here to shop in the same way.
When asked about the state of business in Sheridan by the presenters, some touted strong sales during the past few years. One attendee did mention the number of vacant stores on Main Street, saying that with the downturn in CBM development he hopes that doesn't create the domino-effect it had in the past.
AMS is studying the possibility of creating a Downtown Development Authority in Sheridan. Along with possible retail opportunities that Sheridan could benefit from, they will study briefly food service and residential opportunities. Arnett mentioned that though the study is being conducted in spring, not necessarily at the height of a sales season, the data is still meaningful. They will collect data through Wednesday in Sheridan's downtown district.