A shopping options survey conducted by the Sidney Area Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture along with Richland Economic Development demonstrated the struggles that some area residents feel when shopping in Sidney.

“The survey was done at the request of some local business leaders,” Bill Vander Weele, executive director for the Sidney Chamber, said. “The survey is intended to show areas where residents feel stores could improve as far as which merchandise to offer. The survey isn’t intended to downgrade the great job that our stores try to do, but rather provide assistance to help them possibly increase their popularity.”

A total of 233 people participated in the survey including 135 online and 98 at the fair booth of Richland Economic Development.

“The overall data from the surveys was not a surprise, and now we have actual statements and figures that we can pass along to our area retailers,” said Leslie Messer, executive director of REDC.

Results of the survey indicate the overwhelming majority of respondents are female and have lived in the area more than 11 years. More than 50 percent of the consumers shop in Sidney three or more times each week, while 43 percent shop online one or two times each week.

Among the items of greatest need, and items purchased mostly online were clothing basics such as socks, underwear, household supplies, books, CDs, DVDs, cosmetics and shoes. A total of 102 respondents said the items were not available and 29 said they were available but not affordable.

Data from the online participants only indicated that men’s clothing is a challenge as 72 respondents said it’s not available and 44 people said men’s clothing is available but not affordable. For women’s clothing, 71 respondents said it’s available but not affordable, 31 individuals said it’s not available and 21 people said it’s available and affordable. Buying children’s clothing is another concern as 58 individuals said it’s not available and 37 said it’s available but not affordable.

As far as buying groceries locally, 90 percent of respondents said they were available but not affordable; while 10 percent said groceries are available and affordable. When questioned about shopper rewards, programs that give a discount or free item after a benchmark purchase, respondents said that the top three stores that they would like to see offer rewards are: 1) Reynolds, 2) Johnson Hardware and 3) IGA.

To finish out the survey, respondents were asked to offer any additional comments. The following comments were also shared:

Fill the empty buildings

Online shopping isn’t happening out of convenience, it’s out of affordability

Retail and service businesses in Sidney need to market themselves better and meet customers’ needs

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