About 1 in 8 Eden Prairie businesses, or 12 percent, will not return to the way they did business before the COVID-19 pandemic, a new survey of local businesses has found.
Those who say they will operate differently are primarily in the sales/marketing and service categories of business, according to Peter Leatherman of the Morris Leatherman Company, a Minneapolis firm that the City of Eden Prairie uses to conduct a “statistically significant” survey of Eden Prairie businesses every 3-4 years.
“This is the key question everyone wants to know: Are we going back to normal with how businesses are operated?” Leatherman said in presenting the 2022 results to the Eden Prairie City Council on Tuesday, May 3.
For the vast majority of Eden Prairie businesses, the answer is “yes.”
But, as one can imagine, navigating the pandemic has been an enormous challenge for many Eden Prairie businesses.
According to the survey, 78 percent of Eden Prairie businesses responded that the pandemic impacted their business, and 40 percent of respondents said the impact was major.
Following up with that 78 percent that experienced a pandemic-related impact, Morris Leatherman found that the major impacts were in revenue and customers. Nearly three-quarters of those impacted said there was a decline in revenue, and 7 in 10 said there was a decrease in the number of customers.
Fewer of those impacted – slightly less than half – said they also experienced a decline in workers.
David Lindahl, the city’s economic development manager, said the survey is a valuable tool that helps officials understand the needs of local businesses, especially those impacted by the pandemic.
“Fortunately, many of our businesses impacted by COVID received assistance through various government programs including Payroll Protection (PPP), Restaurant Revitalization Program, Small Business Emergency Relief grants, and Economic Injury Disaster Loans,” he responded in an e-mail. “The city also abated rent for several commercial tenants located in city buildings that were forced to close during the worst of the pandemic. So, the survey results can potentially change the focus of our economic development resources – depending on specific business needs.”
Complete results of the survey will be the topic of a presentation to local business leaders, elected officials, and city staff from 4-6 p.m. Monday, May 9, at Fat Pants Brewing. It’s free to attend and hosted by the Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce; to register, go to www.epchamber.org and its Events Calendar.
City Manager Rick Getschow said the survey results will be posted on the City of Eden Prairie website at www.edenprairie.org.
Mark Weber is executive director of the Eden Prairie Community Foundation. David Lindahl, quoted in this article, is a member of the EPLN Board of Directors.