Church Street Marketplace RESEARCH REPORT: Intercept Interviews of French-Speaking Quebec visitorsLabor Day Weekend, 2008 (Friday, September 1 through Monday, September 4, 2008)Introduction: The Greater Montréal, Quebec Market: More than three and one-half million people live just two hours north of Burlington, Vermont. Montréal is Quebec’s largest city and Canada’s second largest next to Toronto. The 2007 Canadian Census (Statistics Canada, Population of census metropolitan areas), reported 1.6 million people residing in the city of Montréal proper. More than 3.6 million live in the Montréal Census Metropolitan Area (Greater Montréal Area). French is the language spoken by 70.5% of the population (as of the 2006 census). Montréal is the largest French-speaking city in North America; second in the world after Paris. (STATCAN)Understanding French-speaking Quebecois: French-speaking Quebecois’ consumer behavior reflects continental French lifestyles in many ways. In general, French-speaking Quebecois spend relatively more money on food for home consumption, clothing, personal care and health items, tobacco, and alcoholic beverages (versus other Canadians).Why do Quebecois visit and shop in Burlington? Taxes and variety. In Quebec, two taxes are applicable on goods and services: the GST (5% Goods and Services Tax) and the PST (7.9 5% Provincial Sales Tax). Whenever the Canadian dollar moves close to parity with our dollar, American goods (minus a GST and PST) offer Canadians a better value. The size of the US market also plays a part in Quebec’s attraction to Vermont and the U.S., as our national stores, in particular, can offer a greater variety and depth of products.French-speaking Quebecois on Church Street: French-speaking Quebecois have always frequented Burlington’s Church Street Marketplace. But cross-border shopping by all Canadians, according to Statistics Canada, began increasing “significantly” in the last half of 2007 as Canada’s dollar reached parity with the U.S. dollar. Businesses on the Church Street Marketplace witnessed a dramatic increase in Quebec shoppers and diners throughout the summer of 2008.Intercept Interviews with French-speaking Quebecers over Labor Day Weekend, 2008: The Church Street Marketplace conducted 80 intercept interviews of Quebec visitors on its Mall block, between Bank and Cherry Streets during Labor Day Weekend, 2008 – Friday, September 1 through Monday, September 4. Here are the results (Source Questions 1 & 2 below):QUESTION # 3 What is the purpose of your visit? Tourism and shopping were the two largest responses gathered. Many people said they came to Burlington for the day to shop, dine and explore.Airport (1)Ambience (1)Boating (1)Camping (4)Dining (3)Events: Burlington Criterium/Bicycle Race (2)Go to beach (1)Hockey tournament (1)Concert: @ Fairgrounds (1)On Motorcycle Tour (1)Outdoor Sports (2)Shopping (15)Tourism (52)Visit with Family, Friends (7)Wedding, relatives, etc. (1)QUESTION # 4.What specific purchases did you make? French-speaking Quebecois visiting September 1-4 were either brand conscious, coming to the Street to purchase specific clothing brands not available in Canada, or price conscious, seeking out lower prices and bargains.Abercrombie (4)Advertise pizza restaurantsAeropostale (2)Ann TaylorArt suppliesBanana Republic (3)Bargains (4)Barnes & NobleBCBG OutletBen & Jerry’sBirkenstockBooksBooks, Gardener’s supplyBordersCappucino, boating suppliesCheddar CheeseChicoClothes (7)Electronics storesEMSFoodFood at Farmer’s MarketFoot LockerGood prices (4)Groceries (2)Hardware ACEHollister (2)HurleyJ. CrewJC PenneyJewelry (2)Kiss the CookLevisLindt Chocolate (3)Lots of stores not found in CanadaMacy’s (6)Men’s clothingNorth Face (2)Not so sweet iced teaOutdoor Gear (3)School Supplies for kidsScuffer RestaurantShoesShopping (14)SouvenirsSouvenirsTeenage brandsTimberlandToys, BeddingVictoria’s secret (2)WaterfrontWomen’s Clothes Yankee CandleQUESTION 5What can we do different or better to encourage you to return? Following are comments from those individuals surveyed. While those surveyed often responded about a number topics, individual responses have been separated out and categorized to identify trends and priorities.a. WAYFINDING SIGNAGE / INFORMATION / INFO IN FRENCH: This category elicited the most responses. Respondents suggested more wayfinding signage, particularly getting to and around the downtown. Signage in French was viewed as recognition of and appreciation for French-speaking Quebecois in the downtown. Requests for regional information on Church Street (hiking, biking, recreation) were also identified.* Better sign for University Suites; run down hotel.* City is bicycle friendly* Maps of bike routes* Need bike path info* More educational signs about town* Improve signage to tell people how to get to Marketplace. Put in French* Information about North Beach on Church Street* Hiking info on Church Street* More French signs on Church Street* Put in cross reference maps in the parking garages so that visitors can find stores and services by category.* Need Walking tours* More signs in French; sales people who speak French* Make area map more user-friendly.b. PARKING & TRANSPORTATION* More garage parking so we don’t have to feed the meter* More parking; clearer direction markings in garages; cross reference maps on street corners so visitors can find stores by category.* Better & less expensive parking* No direct flights from Toronto to Burlington; would like info on busses between Burlington and Montréal ; Burlington & Toronto; Seems to be no coordination between trains, buses, etc.; Need an info clearing house for ground transportation.* Parking for motorhomes close to ferry. Forced to park in Williston; a lot of confusion with recreational vehicles, lost market.* shuttle bus from Colchester to Church Street* parking is well organized; shuttle buses are a help.* Border crossing long; like it here, safe and close by; like the ferry crossingc. RETAIL: Respondents who came to shop were looking for trendy, national brands, good prices and later store hours. Because each retail store on Church Street sets its own business hours, the Street as a whole does not offer the customer uniform hours.)* More chain stores* Stores close too early for Montréalers, even on Saturday* Prices are higher than expected; would like to see lower prices* Tax discount provided in store for being Canadian; 11% at Macy’s who files for tax refund later with Canada* More stores for clothing; more trendy brandsd. ACCOMMODATIONS: Comments received focused on the need for more hotel rooms with lower prices.* Motels expensive and dirty* Need more hotel rooms;* Hotels; too expensive* Would like lower hotel costs; like that you are doing surveye. DINING* More seafood restaurants; not expensive at water’s edge* Need restaurant recommendations* Put in a fried dough stand* Website confusing for Burlington; prices not posted for hotels; map of Burlington on website.* Need Menus in French* Heat Breakwaters for a longer season with outdoor heaters.f. EXCHANGE RATE: For those Labor Day respondents who identified the exchange rate as important, they asked for greater acceptance of the Canadian dollar by Church Street merchants.* Some felt we should accept the Canadian dollar at par;* Many felt that all stores should accept Canadian dollars and calculate the exchange rate as necessary.* Some were quite offended that that was not the case.* Increase acceptance/recognition of Canadian dollar;Many merchants we’ve spoken to after this survey said accepting Canadian at par is problematic; they’re not willing to absorb any losses. This may be due in part to contracting profit margins.g. PUBLIC RESTROOMS* Need more public restrooms, better marked locations* Need street corner rest roomsh. SAFETY: Safe and Non-Threatening. Those who participated in focus groups in Boston and Montreal, as part of the 2007 Burlington Branding Study, described Burlington as safe, non-threatening, and manageable: almost like ‘a city outside America’ and ‘more Canadian’ than even Americanized Toronto.i. PARKS* Need a Downtown playground for children to use while parents shop.* Love the dog parkGENERAL COMMENTS from the Labor Day, 2008 Interviews:* Don’t change. Love the small town feel compared to Montréal. Rural areas are so close by. Love how authentic you are (4 responses compressed, combined)* Need a room-finder service for hotels.* Need Information for vacationing in this country;* Need more Canadian flags displayed as well as discounts, free stuff, Quebec music, teen stuff, giveaways.* Great visit* Happy (21 similar responses)* Good prices* Like the happy, polite sales staff* Just got here. Like the ambience. The “un-Montréal .”* Keep it like it is; Like it fine as is; Like it here; quiet like the beach* Love farmer’s market; friendly, open attitude.* Love the friendly atmosphere of the street; Love the opportunity to sit outside in a clean, safe, fun environment. Street entertainers are excellent; Love the pedestrian mall and all the street vendors* No changes. Like how friendly and informal it is compared to Montréal* Regular visitors once a year* Very happy, love the bilingual signs as a gesture of friendshipTo assist our primary audience- business owners and managers on Church Street who are selling to our Quebec visitors – this report includes excerpts from the 2007 branding study, conducted by Charism Advisors for the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce. These findings both validate the Labor Day survey and provide guidance on marketing to French-speaking Quebecers.* Montréalers want to think of Burlington as different: a border crossing to a ‘whole new world.’ For Montréalers: Burlington is a world away, but very accessible. It is the architecture, signage, landscape (“It’s massive,” green, clean, open, wide angle), food, and customs. Burlington is about great shopping. Stores they can’t get in Montréal (Victoria’s Secret) and “great deals.” It can be a stopping off point en route to Southern New England or destination in itself.* Burlington as a Get Away: According to the Branding Study, Montréalers think of Burlington as a “get away” — a place that allows urbanites to escape to the country and to town. Burlington offers escape and relaxation, even while enjoying it’s more urban-like dimensions (food, art, design, music, relative sophistication).* Escape, not Retreat: Quaint and charming came up frequently in focus groups, particularly in reference to Church Street, Inns, and residential architecture. A Montréaler in a focus group said, “It really looks like that!” There is a fantasy, picture-postcard aspect Burlington. It is an escape, but not a retreat. This differentiates Burlington from smaller more rural destinations.* Authenticity: People coming to Burlington are searching for a simpler, cleaner, greener, slower place that is also living, real, contemporaneous, and vital.* Acceptance: Chill not Frosty: Montreal and Boston focus groups described Burlington as welcoming, non-judgmental, supportive, and collaborative. As one Montréaler said, people are chill (vs. “frosty”), and mind their own business. But, when you talk to them or ask for help they are very nice. Being respectfully distant while collaborative, supportive, and accepting of all opinions and lifestyles, creates a very positive climate for our visitors, according to the study.SOURCE QUESTIONS:1. What is your POSTAL CODE? The majority of those visiting from September 1-4 were from Montréal and suburbs south of the city. A smaller portion of those visiting were from the Eastern Townships G0A1H0, Quebec City, QC G1E5M7, Beauport, QC G1L1B1, Quebec City G5Y3R2, St.-Georges-Est, QC G6T5K4, Victoriaville, QC G6V8Z2, Levis, QC H1K4L7, Montréal, QC H1P2N5, Saint-Leonard, QC H1P3E9, Saint-Leonard, QC H2B2P5, Montréal, QC H2B2V9, Montréal, QC H2E1M3, Montréal, QC H2E2Z1, Montréal, QC H2G2H1, Montréal, QC H2V3W1, Outremont, QC H2X3R4, Montréal, QC H3H1H5, Montréal , QC H3P2J3, Mont-Royal, QC H3R2N7 Mont-Royal, QC H3Y2K9, Westmount, QC H3Y2T5, Westmount, QC H3Y3A4, Westmount, QC H3Z1M2, Westmount, QC H4A1H1, Montréal, QC H4A1L8, Montréal, QC H4A3N3, Montréal, QC H4B1Z2, Montréal, QC H4B2W4, Montréal, QC H4H1B5, Verdun, QC H4V1B2, Cote Saint-Luc, QC H4W3H8, Côte-Saint-Luc, QC H7M3B5, Laval, QCH7M5Z2, Laval, QCH7N1B5, Laval, QCH7W4R4, Laval, QCH7X1M2, Laval, QCH8Y2W8, Roxboro, QCH9G2O7, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, QCH9H4Z5, Kirkland, QCH9W4R5, Beaconsfield, QCJ0E1A0, Abbotsford, QCJ0E1M0, Dunham, QCJ0E2L0, Valcourt, QCJ0L1B0, Kahnawake, QCJ2K2L6, Cowansville, QCJ3H6J8, Mont-Saint-Hilaire, QCJ3L5W1, Chambly, QCJ3P5N3, Sainte-Anne-de-Sorel, QCJ3Y8G8, Saint-Hubert, QCJ4B5S9, Boucherville, QCJ4B8L8, Boucherville, QCJ4G2L2, Longueuil, QCJ4H3G4, Longueuil, QCJ4K2T8, Longueuil, QCJ7R5M1, Saint-Eustache, QCJ7V0G4, Vaudreuil-Dorion, QCK1C1C6, OntarioK1R0A2, OntarioL3P2T5, OntarioL9H2B1, OntarioM2R3E7, OntarioV8S3V4, British ColumbiaV9T4M3, British ColumbiaQUESTION # 2 Description of party: men, women, children: Surveyers asked respondents for the total number of people in their party including men, women and children. We were not specific about age of adults or children. Largest percentages of visitors were women; this may be due to the Street’s dominance in women’s apparel and accessories. Total PercentagesMen/Hommes 96 38%Women/Femmes 117 46%Children/Enfants 40 16%*Total number of people in party surveyed. 253 100%Additional Sources:* Statistics Canada; http://www.statcan.ca/menu-en.htm(link is external)* Bank of Montreal: The State of Retail in Canada:http://www4.bmo.com/popup/0,2284,35490_15688524,00.html(link is external)* Promoting consumer goods and services in Quebec, Canada’s distinct, French-speaking market Business America, Nov 1, 1993 by Julie Snyder. Copyright 1993 U.S. Government Printing Office; Copyright 2004 Gale Group;* Burlington Branding Study, Charism Advisors, January, 2007.Prepared by Ron Redmond, Executive Director, Church Street Marketplace District; Edited by Scott Hendrickson.