Study hopes to help navigate pandemic’s economic impact
According to Yelp.com’s Local Economic Impact Report, more than 97,966 businesses have permanently shut down during the pandemic. Alarmed by numbers like these, the Rauch Foundation is taking a harder look at the Long Island situation and is seeking input from local business owners to better understand the impact the coronavirus is having on the local economic landscape.
The Garden City-based foundation, whose mission statement includes investing in ideas and organizations that spark systemic change in our communities, recently released a new survey to better measure COVID-19’s impact on Long Island’s business and downtown districts. The idea is that the results from this online survey that is available to business owners in both English and Spanish, can help inform recommendations on how to insure a speedier recovery. But it’s crucial to get that information directly from the source according to Rauch Foundation President Nancy Rauch Douzinas.
“It’s easy to guess what the impact of the pandemic might be on local small businesses—but until we hear from the business owners themselves, we can’t really know for sure,” she said. “As the region defines how to move forward, it’s important that our business community is included in the recovery process and that their experiences and hardships are taken into consideration.”
The survey is available at www.research.net/r/lidowntown for business owners to access. In addition to distributing the survey through a number of regional platforms, the Rauch Foundation is hiring canvassers to walk a cross section of downtowns and speak with store owners. The survey takes between 5 to 10 minutes to complete and will be available through Nov. 30. It includes questions about how stores were managing the changing retail environment prior to COVID, how the pandemic impacted their bottom line and what types of remedies and solutions owners would embrace to make their businesses more sustainable going forward.
The Rauch Foundation’s interest in the ebb and flow of local business can be traced back to when the organization was publishing the Long Island Index study for 15 years up through 2019. That report consistently studied downtown communities, along with what made them thrive and what types of investments were effective in catalyzing future growth. This current survey is a continuation of that and for Long Island Association President Kevin Law, is crucial because of the granular approach it is taking in analyzing the pandemic’s impact on local business.
“There have been other surveys of business owners since the pandemic but this is the first one exclusively focused on our village communities—the heart of our region,” Law said. “I strongly encourage local businesses to reply to the survey so we might better plan appropriate responses to current conditions.”
Law, who co-chairs the Long Island Economic Development Council, has been overseeing Downtown Revitalization Initiative grants. The results from this survey are important in helping determine the best way to help local businesses get back on their feet. A full report and analysis of the survey results are expected in early 2021.
Visit www.research.net/r/lidowntown to access the survey in both English and Spanish.