The Need to Adapt
The Metro Center helped the City of Arlington, WA support downtown businesses through the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic recovery. The project encouraged businesses to be adaptive to ongoing challenges while also addressing customer behavior, the economic reality facing both businesses and customers, and long term community resilience and vision.
COVID-19 has been devastating to many small businesses. Success during this time may rely on a business’s ability to adapt. The City of Arlington, asked the Metro Center to help plan and implement a strategy to support downtown business resilience during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The Metro Center first designed a survey to assess the needs and strengths of local businesses, including their e-commerce savvy, as they face reduced in-person sales. Working in partnership with the Arlington city government, and the Stilly Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Metro Center has since helped the city design alternative, COVID-friendly strategies for traditional downtown fall and holiday events.
Initial survey data of local Arlington businesses showed that some of the most vulnerable businesses have struggled to embrace e-commerce. To support those businesses and boost sales of those already using social media and online ordering, the Metro Center is helping the city adopt an online marketplace open to all Arlington businesses. The marketplace, www.ShopLocalArlington.com went live in early November.
In addition to communication, marketing and logistical support for the online marketplace, the Metro Center will provide the city with recommendations that encourage the innovation and nimbleness required by merchants to address the inevitable series of changes over the coming months, A detailed analysis of subsequent surveys will gauge the success of these efforts.
The project concluded in early 2021.
Social Media Strategy
Marketing efforts for this project lean heavily on social media. From video creation to highlight marketplace items and local businesses, to teaming up with a local social media resident influencer – the aim here is to grow and sustain followers across social media platforms. Learn more at www.instagram.com/meetmeinarlington and www.facebook.com/shoplocalarlington.
- Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension: Martha Aitken, Maggie Anderson Fasy and Brad Gaolach
- WSU Division of Governmental Studies and Services: Season Hoard, Monica Babine, Christina Sanders & Brian Anderson
- WSU Extension: Trevor Lane, Anthony Gromko
The Metro Center Advantage
The Metro Center previously worked with the City of Arlington and the Town of Darrington on the America’s Best Communities (ABC) project, helping them reach the finalist round. We now bring the local knowledge and strong relationships built during that project, along with expertise in small businesses and survey methodology to support the city once again.
Stilly Valley Chamber of Commerce
WSU Seattle Office
901 5th Avenue, Ste 2900
Seattle, WA 98164 (MAP)