Thank you for visiting, the communications center for the Andersonville Study of Retail Economics.

During the Spring of 2004, Civic Economics, the Andersonville Development Corporation, and the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce will be collaborating on this groundbreaking study, designed to evaluate the economic role played by the independent businesses of this dynamic district on Chicago’s North Side.

In short, the study is designed to calculate the economic impact of Andersonville’s locally-owned businesses and assess the economic impact of increasing chain store activity in the region.  Ten Andersonville businesses have agreed to participate fully in the study, opening their books to analysts at Civic Economics in order to allow a thorough understanding of their revenue and expenses.  In addition, the study will include a survey of consumers to will identify the Andersonville market area and a snapshot of visitor activity.

A detailed description of the study methodology will be made available at the time final reports are released..

Background - The Liveable City Study and beyond

The Andersonville Study is designed to build on a chain of research that began in Austin, Texas in 2002.  There Civic Economics was hired by the Austin Independent Business Alliance and nonprofit Liveable City to design and execute a limited study evaluating the likely economic impact of a Borders Books & Music proposed for a corner already occupied by large local book and music merchants.  While the study began with no preconceived notions, the findings were remarkable:

    For every $100 in consumer spending at Borders, the total local economic impact is only $13. The same amount spent with BookPeople or Waterloo Records yields more than three times the local economic impact.

Building on that analysis, Civic Economics formulated three essential findings:

  • Local merchants generate substantially greater economic impact than chain retailers.
  • Development of urban sites with directly competitive chain merchants will reduce the overall vigor of the local economy.
  • Modest changes in consumer spending habits can generate substantial local economic impact.

Since the release of the Liveable City Study, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance has replicated the results in a study of retail activity in Mid-Coast Maine. However, given the narrow focus of these studies, there is no clear and accepted consensus regarding the applicability of these findings in other settings.  As a result, the issue requires further study before municipal policymakers and concerned consumers will be equipped with the information needed to make wise decisions.

The Andersonville Study will provide the definitive answers required for the formulation of new policies and for changing consumer habits.

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