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Wente Aims to Understand Consumer Needs in Grant County

Posted by Jayce Koester ’16, Center for Small Towns on Tuesday, Jul. 8, 2014

Jordan Wente ’15, Dodge Center, worked with Grow Grant County to create a better picture of consumer desires and needs in the area. Wente, along with Grow Grant County, Ryan Pesch at University of Minnesota Extension, and Kelly Asche, University of Minnesota, Morris Center for Small Towns (CST) program coordinator, created and distributed a survey asking about the needs of consumers in Grant County.

The survey was distributed to a representative sample of residents, allowing for a more complete picture of what the average consumer in the area needs from area retailers. Its results will provide businesses and area chambers of commerce with ideas on how to grow the local economy and cater to the needs of their customers.

Concern was expressed in the survey about the selection of goods and services in the area. Responding to this concern, Asche and Pesch presented the information and results gathered to the Grow Grant County board in March. According to Asche, “the presentation highlighted not only the needs of consumers, but also the needs of businesses throughout the area.” Both he and Wente believe the report and subsequent presentation will be helpful for Grow Grant County in recruiting businesses and giving current businesses greater opportunity to grow.

“This type of project can highlight really specific ways in which a current business can expand into markets more consumers are interested in,” says Wente.

Wente now is working with CST in renewable energy and local economies. He will continue working on different projects next fall. An economics and statistics student, Wente felt that this project not only fell directly into his interests and field of study, but also helped him explore more practical applications of his academic work.

CST is a community outreach program that serves as a point-of-entry to the resources of the University of Minnesota. Small towns, local units of government, k-12 schools, nonprofit organizations, and other University units are able to utilize CST’s resources as they work on rural issues or make contributions to rural society. Its mission is to focus the University’s attention and marshal its resources toward assisting Minnesota’s small towns with locally identified issues by creating applied learning opportunities for faculty and students.