Results from the 2021 Business Needs Assessment

In summer 2021, the City partnered with Hardwick Research to conduct the 2021 Business Needs Assessment. This project was a follow-up to the survey conducted in summer 2020 and aimed to collect more information about business needs as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Additionally, the State of Washington lifted most business and activity restrictions on June 30, 2021, and staff sought to learn if businesses anticipated facing new challenges as they prepared to resume or increase operations.

The survey posed questions aimed at learning the following:

  • What, if anything, has changed for businesses since conducting the 2020 survey?
  • What challenges are Mercer Island businesses still facing?
  • What types of aid and support do Island businesses still need?
  • What new needs have arisen?
  • How can the City best support the local business community?

We distributed the digital survey to more than 950 Mercer Island businesses and received 176 complete responses (18% response rate). Keep reading for a summary of the key conclusions, read the full report, or tune in to City Council on Tuesday, October 5, for a presentation by Hardwick.

Key Conclusions

  • Overall, Island businesses are in a better situation now than they were a year ago due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Businesses want the City to keep them in the loop, especially when it comes to plans for Town Center. They also want the City to continue seeking feedback from Island businesses and community members on economic development initiatives for the City.
  • Businesses indicated that the opportunity to network with other Island businesses is important.
  • They are also looking for continued support, including maintaining some COVID-19 related supports such as extra outdoor seating in public spaces.
  • Mercer Island businesses think the City should focus on Town Center and feel the ideal Town Center is walkable, well-maintained, inviting, and "cooler." They also think a thriving Town Center is key to a vibrant local economy.

The City of Mercer Island wants to support local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact Sarah Bluvas, Economic Development Coordinator, at sarah.bluvas@mercerisland.gov to let us know how we can help.

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