Amid Rapid Population Growth, Downtown Rochester Turns to New Consumer Base | Multimedia


Rochester city center turns to new consumer base as population grows



ROCHESTER, Minn. – Downtown Rochester is changing rapidly, and a new set of data shows the people who live there, too.

A study commissioned by the Rochester Downtown Alliance and the Destination Medical Center shows that the population of downtown Rochester has grown 28.5% since 2010, one of the fastest rates in our region. A total of 966 new housing units were built within a half mile radius of the region during this period, and over 1,840 units were built within a 1.5 mile radius.

While downtown businesses have relied on a constant flow of day workers to keep their doors open in the past, the study finds spending habits shifting with the rush of new Rochester residents, especially from the start. of the pandemic.

“We first saw the need for this study in the fall of 2020,” said Holly Masek, executive director of the RDA. “We knew that many day workers that downtown businesses depend on were shifting to a hybrid work model and changing their spending habits, but we could also see new residential buildings opening all around the downtown area. We wanted to know who these new downtown residents were and if we could relate their consumer needs to our current and future downtown business community.

According to RDA, today’s downtown residents include undergraduate and graduate students, young singles and professional couples, young families and empty nests. Many have traveled extensively, are active, civic-minded, and focus on walking, inviting street life, shopping and dining based on experience and products considered “local” or “authentic”.

“These are residents who really wanted to be downtown,” Masek told KIMT. “Yes, they wanted to be close to work in a lot of cases. But even more than that, they wanted the experience where they could walk outside their apartment building, go to work, go to the cafe, be in what. we call it a 15-minute quarter. “

A previous DMC study found that downtown residents are likely to spend seven times more than day workers in a year in downtown Rochester. Masek says understanding those who live in the heart of the Mediterranean city will be essential in shaping his future for years to come.

“It’s been a pretty predictable rotation of customers, demands and needs, and so to have this new customer base you have to really understand them. They may want different products, they may want different times. And there is nothing to worry about, we just need to adapt and change. “

The report’s findings were shared with the City of Rochester and the downtown business community. The data will now be incorporated into DMC documents used to recruit new downtown retailers and businesses.

The full report is available by following this link.
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