Ardmore Initiative Strategic Plan components completed

Ardmore Inititiaive, Ardmore PA

Heritage Consulting Inc.  worked with the Ardmore Initiative staff during the last year as the organization began its work on the accompanying Market Analysis and Business Recruitment Plan prepared by the AI Assistant Executive Director, Marie Suvansin.  Ms. Harris worked closely with Ms. Suvansin as well as with Christine Vilardo, the Executive Director of the AI to develop a new five-year Strategic Plan. There was active participation by the Ardmore Initiative’s Board of Directors, business owners, merchants, elected officials, partner organizations, and volunteers in the various research activities over a year.

A variety of research activities took place during 2017 for the five-year Strategic Plan. These research activities are outlined below.

1.  A Downtown Ardmore Customer Survey was organized by Marie Suvansin, Assistant Executive Director of AI. The survey was open for four weeks from August 31, 2016 to October 4, 2016. This survey had a very large response rate with more than 704 completed surveys. The survey provided critical demographic and market data about the current Ardmore downtown shoppers. Heritage Consulting Inc. analyzed the survey data and produced a 134-page report which was circulated to the AI Board of Directors in February 2017. The Downtown Ardmore Customer Survey was the subject of the annual Stakeholders Breakfast in March 3, 2017 where Ms. Suvansin made a presentation about the survey results. See the Report completed by Heritage Consulting Inc. here.

2.  A SWOT Analysis was held on June 15, 2017. This three-hour evening meeting gathered input from 27 participants including AI Board members, downtown merchants, property owners, several representatives from the Ardmore Business Association (ABA), Lower Merion Township planning and economic development staff and several members of the Lower Merion Board of Commissioners.  Heritage Consulting Inc. prepared a summary memo that offered observations and recommendations for solving several specific short and medium-term problems on June 30, 2017.  See the SWOT memo completed by Heritage Consulting Inc.  here.

3.  To fill gaps from the Downtown Ardmore Customer Survey, Marie Suvansin conducted five Focus Groups in May 2017. Thirty-five (35) people participated, and represented a cross-section of existing customers, potential customers, and demographic cohorts with poor survey response rate.  As an extension of the Customer Survey, the focus groups gathered richer, more thorough responses. Heritage Consulting provided guidance on the invitees, the script for the focus groups, and read a draft of the final report prepared by Ms. Suvansin in June of 2017.

4.  A Visioning and Strategic Planning Workshop was held on Wednesday, November 1, 2017. This two-and-a-half-hour-long session included 20 AI Directors, organizational members, business owners, key volunteers, Ardmore Business Association representatives, and Borough officials.  At the workshop, all participants received a memo and heard a report about the Retail Market Analysis work conducted by Ms. Suvansin. During the workshop, we reviewed the current mission statement and reviewed lists of possible projects that fit within the identified Transformation Strategies. By eliminating and refining specific projects within each of the Transformation Strategies, the assembled group helped to further refine the organization’s preferred future. See the agenda for the Visioning and Goal Setting meeting organized by Heritage Consulting Inc, here.

5.  A Retail Market Analysis and Business Recruitment Plan was completed by Marie Suvansin in December 2017.

6.  Both the board and the AI Executive Committee met twice to consider the draft of the Strategic Plan. A small committee was formed to flesh out a new mission and vision statement. See these new documents here.

7.  The Board is scheduled to adopt the new Strategic Plan in early 2018. View the beautifully designed Strategic Plan here.