How Downtown Boulder Gained Invaluable Input for COVID-19 Reopening

-Polco Learning Lab Webinar-

Resident perspectives shape Downtown Boulder Partnership’s reopening plan. 

The COVID-19 pandemic shuttered many retail establishments around the nation for months. But when faced with the task of reopening in Boulder, Colo. retail industry leaders knew they needed help.

What should they expect when they reopen their doors? How could they best resume daily operations in the days and weeks ahead? What would residents expect from them? What about their safety preferences and their buying habits?

With so many questions, Downtown Boulder decided it needed help. What they needed was a tried and true source of guidance — resident voices.

In this recording, featured speaker Terri Takata-Smith discusses innovative ways to gauge resident opinions on reopening and best practices for turning survey insights into action. Takata-Smith is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Downtown Boulder Partnership.

A Need for Resident Voice

Downtown Boulder Partnership is a Business Improvement District, a membership based organization, and a foundation. It represents roughly 100 restaurants, 150 retailers, 70 percent of which are locally owned and operated. 

During the City of Boulder’s stay-at-home order, Takata-Smith attended a webinar where Michelle Kobayashi from Polco discussed how to engage residents during COVID-19. At around the same time, businesses started asking Downtown Boulder Partnership for assistance in figuring out what to expect from residents once businesses started to reopen. This is where the partnership between Downtown Boulder Partnership and Polco began. 

Downtown Boulder Partnership launched Polco’s Resident Readiness Survey, personalizing the survey to understand the zip codes of respondents. 

Downtown Boulder used their email database and social media to advertise the survey. They also reached out to the business community and other partners to get the word out. Downtown Boulder Partnership was very happy with the high response rate and age representation of the respondents, Takata-Smith said.

Survey Results

Several key themes emerged from the survey. For example, residents were concerned about the virus spreading, but also about the economy, their jobs, and the loss of local businesses. More than 70 percent of residents were supportive of most types of businesses reopening with restrictions. The survey also found that residents wanted businesses to increase safety measures, such as enhanced cleaning, mask wearing, and social distancing. 

Turning Survey Results Into Action

Downtown Boulder Partnership shared the survey results widely with the business community and partners. They used the results to develop a plan for supporting businesses with reopening, and to develop a marketing campaign for residents. 

For example, Downtown Boulder Partnership developed window posters and yard signs explaining enhanced safety precautions. They also launched a brand campaign that uses ads, imagery, and video to showcase Boulder’s safe reopening.

How to Launch Your Own Resident Readiness Survey

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