Public opinion survey to analyze consumer interests

The first public opinion consumer survey for the City of Starkville will soon be conducted to gauge community stakeholder interest in future retail establishments, analyze spending patterns, and learn more about overall customer behavior.

Led by Mississippi State University’s National Strategic Planning and Analysis Center, the survey and its accompanying data will be used to inform local, regional and state decision makers and economic development leaders on Starkville’s potential to attract new business.

“The quality of life in Starkville and Oktibbeha County is a key component in recruiting the highest caliber students, faculty and staff to Mississippi State,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “New and improved retail shopping opportunities are important to existing members of our community as well as those we hope will join us in the future. This joint effort between the university and local government is an important step forward in maximizing those new community-building opportunities.”

NSPARC, a research unit at MSU that uses smart data, analytical techniques, and advanced technology to develop innovative research-based solutions, will lead the mixed-mode survey, contacting selected groups by phone and/or e-mail. The survey is expected to begin at the end of March and continue through June.

“Starkville is a great college town in Mississippi, and NSPARC is proud to partner with Starkville to plan strategies to attract new retailers and make the quality of life here even better,” said Domenico “Mimmo” Parisi, NSPARC executive director. “We want to encourage MSU students, faculty, staff, alumni and Starkville residents to participate in the public opinion survey. Everyone can have a voice in this process.”

Groups included in the initial email survey the week of March 28 will be MSU students, faculty and staff, followed by MSU alumni and donors receiving the information the week of April 18. Starkville residents and visitors will be surveyed through the Greater Starkville Development Partnership the week of April 18.

GSDP chief executive officer Jennifer Gregory said, “We are so grateful to NSPARC and MSU for taking on this survey project. We fully believe that the buying power of students and alumni groups, among others, catapult our traditional data and statistics to another level, but we’ve been unable to quantify it. This will put the Starkville community in an improved position to recruit retail and restaurants to the area, which we believe will enhance the quality of life of residents and visitors and positively impact our local economy.”

Those who complete the questionnaire will be entered into drawings for an MSU or GSDP prize package. A lucky MSU student will choose from an Apple or Android watch, with an MSU prize package of premium seating at a top athletic event, Yeti cooler and gear, and Bulldog apparel to be given to one MSU faculty or staff member, alumnus, or Starkville resident.

A Starkville Weekend Get-Away package also will be given to a city visitor completing the survey. It includes hotel accommodations, restaurant gift cards and tickets to one of the city’s premier cultural events.

Harriet Laird | Public Affairs

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