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Report shows Macleod has stable business community

Fort Macleod has a stable or growing business community, according to a recent survey by Community Futures Alberta Southwest.
That’s one of the findings of the survey done last summer by business analyst James Tessier.
Although the report is completed and available on-line, it has yet to be studied in detail.
“I still have to sit down with James and do that kind of analysis,” Community Futures general manager Tony Walker said.
Walker provided an update on the survey done last summer at Thursday’s Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Luigi’s Pizza and Steak House.
The survey reveals a large number of business owners and operators are optimistic about the future, and plan to invest in their business in order to grow
Sixty-five per cent indicate they will add a new product or service in the next two years, while 67 per cent plan to invest in new equipment.
From July to September Tessier contacted Fort Macleod businesses to determine what the community needs to grow, and where opportunities for growth can be found.
The information is then to be used by the Chamber, Town of Fort Macleod and Community Futures to make decisions related to business in the community.
Tessier spent about 15 minutes at 127 of the 199 businesses contacted to complete a survey of 39 questions.
Customer service ranked No. 1 among businesses as their competitive advantage, followed by products and services, customer loyalty and location.
Businesses ranked adding or expanding products or services as their greatest opportunity for growth.
Increased marketing of their businesses locally and regionally ranked No. 2 in opportunities for growth, followed by taking advantage of local development opportunities and increasing the size of their facility.
Ninety-two per cent of business indicated their competition is increasing.
A similar number indicated their market share is increasing even in the face of growing competition.
Twenty-six owner-operators said the main advantage of being in business in Fort Macleod is the town’s central location.
Twenty business listed a good reputation as their main advantage, while 18 cited a loyal customer base.
Nine businesses cited as their main advantage the growth brought on by the $122-million Alberta Public Security and Law Enforcement Training Centre to be built in Fort Macleod.
Twenty-four businesses cited difficulty working with the Town of Fort Macleod as their biggest challenge.
Regional and local competition was also cited as a challenge, along with the size of the community, growing competition, proximity to Lethbridge, and difficulty finding and retaining staff.
“The results of the project provide an honest representation of the Town of Fort Macleod’s business owner and operators’ impressions from basic business activities, to market conditions and the established primary market bases, to future plans and potential needs, labour force requirements and the community’s strengths and weaknesses as a place to do business,” the report stated.