Sandusky Main Street and the City of Sandusky contracted Anderson Economic Group (AEG) to develop a strategic plan to enhance its historic downtown which is situated along Sandusky Bay and Lake Erie.
To assess public concerns, habits, and preferences, AEG conducted an on-line survey and met with key project and district stakeholders. The on-line survey, which was promoted in the local newspaper and on stakeholder websites, received over 350 responses. After evaluating the survey and stakeholder responses, AEG analyzed market characteristics of Sandusky and Erie County (including the area’s demographic and socioeconomic profile), and the retail composition, spending behavior of its residents, and the implied opportunities for growth and expansion of specific retail categories. Through a supply – demand analysis, primary data analysis, market assessment, and interviews with local realtors, we also determined the number of residential units – both owner occupied and rental – at specific price ranges the local market could support.
Results from each of these analyses provided insight into the unique opportunities for future growth, and strategies the community can use to achieve their vision. AEG completed this project with strategies and specific recommendations for increasing residential use and diversifying the retail and entertainment offerings in the district. We provided the Sandusky Main Street with our analysis, key findings, and recommendations in a loose-bound report, complete with executive summary and appendices. Included in the appendices are detailed results from the public outreach process, demographic and socioeconomic analysis, several custom maps, methodology, and complete findings from the residential and retail supply-demand analyses. As a final task, we made presentations of our findings and the strategy to both the Main Street Organization and the Sandusky City Commission.
Following the termination of over 1,000 dealerships by General Motors and nearly 800 by Chrysler, federal legislation (HR 3288, Sec 747) was introduced to provide a procedure for the review of the termination decisions. The bill, signed into law on December 16 of 2009, established criteria for the arbitration process, which was organized through the American Arbitration Association. Among the criteria that arbitrators were to consider were the dealership’s profitability, economic viability, market territory, sales performance metrics, and the manufacturer’s business plan.
Seventy-three of the dealerships that pursued arbitration retained Anderson Economic Group for expert analysis in the areas of demography, geography, sales performance analysis, economic viability, and financial analyses. These dealers were located across 23 different states. Fifty-five were General Motors dealerships, and 18 were Chrysler dealerships.
We worked with each dealership to develop a plan of work that focused on the critical elements of their case. These included geographic and demographic assessments to determine if trade area’s were properly assigned, and if performance metrics accurately accounted for local market conditions. In a number of cases we also provided financial analyses to measure the economic viability of a dealership from a profitability standpoint, and to benchmark historic financial performance against an industry average. We also assessed the overall industry structure, economic conditions, and the business plans that manufacturer’s cited as reasons to support dealership terminations. In doing so we were able to illustrate inconsistencies in their positions, and demonstrate that, in many instances, the termination of dealerships was actually harmful to the manufacturer’s economic interests. We also provided consultation regarding settlement and hearing strategies, as well as rebuttal to opposing expert analyses.
Our analyses were used by dealerships to evaluate the strength of their case, to negotiate favorable settlements prior to arbitration, and in 19 cases our experts presented findings before an arbitrator. By the end of the arbitration process more than 90 percent of our clients had received favorable financial settlements, or had been reinstated as dealerships.