Representatives from the sports and recreation industry joined our sixth roundtable discussion sponsored by SRP and in partnership with Mayor Brigette Peterson, team members of Gilbert’s Office of Economic Development, the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce, and JW Rayhons of Joshua Development.
Our goal was to hear from business who were impacted by pandemic related restrictions and to learn what challenges they are currently facing to gain insight into their expectations in the year ahead. Regarding their expectations of this roundtable, business professionals shared they chose to attend in order to listen to each other, learn how they can partner to better support each other, and to gain clarity on uncertainties in the industry.
Attendees began by sharing an update on their organizations and current challenges their business is facing:
- Staffing continues to be an ongoing issue for a variety of industries. Youth athletic groups are seeing high levels of interest from students and are experiencing a shortage of coaches.
- One business indicated the housing market being a barrier to attract staff for their organization. Typically, their staff prefer to live in the community where they work, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find affordable housing in our community.
- Last year, one attendee experienced a large increase in business due to sports tournaments hosted in Arizona because nearby states were not allowing large gatherings. However, this year they have seen a decrease as other states are loosening restrictions and our own community is seeing increased concern over COVID-19.
- Other businesses are still experiencing different comfort levels among their clients and are struggling to encourage new customers to visit their business.
In follow up to the current challenges mentioned, attendees discussed the trends they are seeing regarding the comfort level of their customers:
- Customer comfort levels are still divided across a large spectrum. One business tries to overcome this challenge by meeting each client where they are and mimicking their comfort level.
- Addressing the issue of comfort can be tied to the type of audience your business is trying to attract.
Looking to the year ahead, businesses shared their key priorities and goals:
- One business is celebrating a new location with better visibility and hopes to gain new clients.
- A common theme is a shared hope to continue to see growth in the industry.
In closing, attendees shared thoughts on what they have learned through the past year that will move them forward:
- Continue to be open to new ideas and different ways of doing business.
- Seek more partnerships and collaborations with other businesses.
- Businesses have continued to learn about the unique needs of their community and how they can add value.