Visalia Business Survival Strategy

March 18, 2009 8:45:01 PM PDT
Business leaders in a South Valley community are asking some tough questions to get its city on the right track during today's crumbling economy. The Visalia Chamber of Commerce is surveying more than 2,000 Visalia businesses to find out what the economic state of the city is. Some businesses say the tough economy is actually helping their business. Others say they're just trying to hold on as long as possible during these hard times.

Estevan Rodriguez with Marcela's Home Store said, "It's tough. I mean, there's no doubt about it - we're not getting anywhere near as much clients than we were before."

"Times are tough" is a phrase heard often from local businesses. Marcela's Home Store in downtown Visalia is putting deep discounts on many of its floor models to get customers in. Rodriguez said, "A lot of it actually is less than what we paid for it."

To give Visalia's businesses an extra push, the Visalia Chamber of Commerce is surveying merchants to see what their needs might be. Chamber of Commerce CEO Glenn Morris said, "We're asking everything from, Are your financial projections on target or ahead or behind? Are you having troubles finding employees and if so what kind of problems?"

Morris says the survey will help the Chamber of Commerce understand what resources are needed during today's tough economy. He says the businesses doing the best are established in the community and focused on one thing, customer service.

Morris said, "The good, hard retailers that really know what they're doing ? they're surviving. I wouldn't say they're having a great year but they're going to be there when this is over."

Janeen Robbins with Janeen's Furniture Gallery said, "People want to feel that you really care about them and we do. We care about their homes, we care about all of them."

Sugar Plum's boutique says the tough economy has actually boosted business. Shane Smith, Sugar Plum's, said "We have reasonable prices. Tops from $20 maybe the most $30." Chamber officials expect to get the final results from the surveys in about a month.

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