MEMBERS PRESENT:   Jerry Deming, David Ginis, Joe Kozuch, Clifford Miles, Christine Rapanos and Clinton Struthers

      MEMBERS ABSENT:          Jon Lynch

      STAFF PRESENT:          Keith Baker, Director of Planning & Community Development, Debbie Marquardt, Technical Secretary, Jason Geer, Chamber of Commerce and four others.



It was moved by Struthers and supported by Kozuch to approve the minutes of the February 17, 2010 meeting.  Motion was unanimously approved.


3.   PUBLIC COMMENTS (unrelated to items on the agenda)




      Project updates


      a.   Northwood Marketing Project – Student Team Report


            The students on the team are Christian Whitehead, Megan Maxfield, Neal Sias and

            Zeina Joukhaji and they presented their strategy findings for the Center City and some

            recommendations to pull forward.


            Expectations of Assistance:

Bring awareness and identify target audiences and survey existing customers to get feedback.


            Research Vehicles:

            They gathered information and met with board members and learned about the set up

            and goals.  They met with Sid Allen from the Chamber of Commerce.  They also had

            interviews with customers in the center city area to get more information.


            Line of Business Definition:

            Modernization within Ashman Circle and South Saginaw Road.


Explanation of Customer Needs:

Primary Needs:  Differentiate themselves against industry competitors.


            Secondary Needs:  To gain additional customers. 

            Explanation of Customer Needs:

            Required Needs:  Must be at least minimally competitive in the marketplace.


            Ignored Needs: Too much focus on mall area.  Do not sell yourself short.


            Activity Fits – Desired internal outcomes or goals; should support customer needs.


            The first goal is the continuity between business owners.  Also increase customer

            awareness by advertising.



            High level of established organization

            Knowledgeable people working for improvements to the area

            Good internal goals established

            Large geographical area

            High traffic area

            Many segments that can be appealed to



            Lacks direction on specific goals

            Following ideas and trends of competitors

            High level of vacant retail locations

            Confusing street layout

            Area is not appealing to potential retailers

            Not enough variety



            Short Term

            Do not try to be everything to everyone

            Work with business owners to offer smaller incubation locations for rent

            Make store fronts, sidewalks and out areas more aesthetically pleasing

            Assist marketing committee in developing consistent message of authority value

            Change vision


            Long Term

            Obtain sustainable funding

            Need for accessibility improvement

            Investment in long term physical improvements


Mr. Deming asked what their next step will be?  He asked if they would get into defining what their vision of specialty stores are or what the expectation is?  He likes the vision statement but it is a mouthful. 


Mr. Miles stated that there was no mention of walkability and wondered if that is not an issue to be developed.  They did talk to Sid Allen to get his opinion.  There wasn’t a particular purpose and they don’t see that as a benefit.


      Ms. Rapanos asked why they said not to compare themselves to the mall area.  Did they

      look at the differences?  That is how the team came up with the specialty area. 

The CCA is a lot friendlier and they can get their foothold in the area.  The team talked to the Chamber of Commerce and they said that retail stores look toward the mall area.  Ms. Rapanos thinks the strength is that it is a business area. 


      Marketing Process and Analysis.


What is the marketing practice right now and is it effective?  Mr. Ginis stated that the district is very young and it has been driven by the board with little funding if any.  It is fairly successful and they have worked hard.


What tactics have worked best for the competitors?  They want to see what the goals are of the Center City Authority.  The Center City Authority goal would be to have a unified web site and to have a directory which includes 225 businesses and a place where they can go to see what is happening in the area.  The Northwood team asked if signs have been discussed?  Ms. Deming said that they have discussed showing the boundaries.


      Do they attract investors?  Mr. Ginis stated that the Chamber of Commerce runs a web site

      listing the vacant spaces but there isn’t a particular effort to get new businesses to the area. 

                        Mr. Deming stated that the word is not out yet to the public.


Mr. Struthers asked where the team determines where they shop and how does young people make that determination.  What types of things make it go wow?  How would they research and find that business?  Do they look in the newspapers, look in the phone book?  One of the problems Midland has is to attracting and retaining young people.  Mr. Kozuch asked if they go on the internet or Goggle?  The team answered that a lot of it is the word of mouth.  If they are driving through the area, they look is see what catches their eye. 


      Mr. Sias stated that the team discussed this issue.  They used to drive straight to the mall where they can shop or eat.  So he started driving through the district.  There needs to be ways for people to find out what is in the area.  Marketing is going towards the computer. 


                         Mr. Ginis stated that they have concentrated on restaurants and specialty stores.  The board has been thinking that there is another type of business and would it bring them to the corridor.  If they have all specialty stores, they might not work.


The Northwood Consulting Team are members of the DeVos graduate student body.  They worked eight weeks to lay the foundation and the next eight weeks they will be building off the foundation more to a marketing aspect on how to gain more customers and consumers. Their focus is external. 



5.   NEW BUSINESS (unrelated to items on the agenda)





      a.   Economic Sustainability committee status report – Ginis


            No meeting this month.


      b.   Organizational Development committee status report – Struthers


            They continue to work on the development of the budget for the committee’s needs.  They should have that at the next meeting.  They are also continuing to put the final touches on the cohesive message document.  They also have renumbered the sections in the corridor to make it a little more sensible.  They added another team leader to help them.

            They still need board member bios sent to Jason.


      c.   Marketing committee status report – Kozuch


            They locked in Paleo Joe for June 19th.  The event will be held in the Ponderosa parking lot.  They are looking for ten locations.  They are going to have a dig.  There will be food vending there.  Wolverine Bank will also cooperate and there will be a lot of activities.  The event will be from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.  To get involved, you can call the Chamber or reply to the newsletter.  They will be distributing the information soon. 




      Mr. Ginis stated that the International Deli on the circle is opened.  That is a great thing for Center City. 


      Mr. Ginis welcomed the new board member, Christine Rapanos.



Mr. Baker stated that they are working on the development plan and they are working with the engineering department and graphics firm to get the display boards available for the open house.


Mr. Miles asked where the location would be.  For costs reason they thought they would use City Hall and one session in the Center City Corridor.  They were leaning towards the LEC.  They would like to have one session opened towards the business owners and one for the rest of the public.  Mr. Ginis asked if information would be gathered at the meetings.  The comments received through the public input process will come back to the board and they will make a decision as to what gets included.  They are trying to get through the development plan and see what projects they would want to pursue.    



      As there was no further business, the meeting adjourned at 4:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,




Keith Baker, AICP

Director of Planning & Community Development