Agricultural and work-from-home business owners sought for countywide survey |

Agricultural and work-from-home business owners sought for countywide survey

— Routt County officials are seeking more agricultural and work-from-home small business owners to complete an upcoming survey.

It’s been easier to identify plenty of “brick-and-mortar” businesses that might participate, but other sectors, including location-neutral business owners and some agricultural businesses, have been harder to establish contact with, said Jane Blackstone, Steamboat Chamber Resort Association economic development director.

“We’re asking for people to self-identify,” Blackstone said. “These folks are a little harder to capture, but we think it’s important to include them in the sample.”

Funded by a grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, the survey is being shaped by a committee of representatives from the chamber, the city’s Economic Development Council, Routt County, the city of Steamboat Springs, the Community Agricultural Alliance and Colorado Mountain College.

The survey aims to take the pulse of ways in which local businesses are excelling or struggling, getting a feel for the local business climate and business needs.

Blackstone said that survey organizers are working to build an inventory of businesses from which to pull a sample that will be asked to participate.

Before the survey begins, business owners who feel they might not be on the radar of survey organizers can fill out a business survey contact form on the county’s website,

It’s important to include location-neutral and agricultural businesses in the survey because they represent part of the local business economy but are often under-represented in statistics because of the difficulty in identifying such businesses, Blackstone said.

“They don’t show up on brick-and-mortar databases,” she said. “And they don’t show up in a lot of the statistics that are available to use because they’re one-man bands, solo proprietors.”

Chamber CEO Jim Clark said in a Steamboat Today column last week that he’s spent much of his first six months as CEO listening to businesses share their challenges and opportunities in doing business locally.

“But it’s only a small sample of employers,” Clark said in the column. “There are a number of issues we’ve heard about, but lack data on.”

Business owners who are unsure if they’re on the survey team’s radar yet should self-identify anyway, as organizers will scour the inventory for duplicates, Blackstone said.

“People shouldn’t worry about signing up if they aren’t sure,” she said. “We’d rather have too many than not enough.”

Organizers are hoping to have enough businesses identified by the end of March to disseminate the survey to the selected businesses by April and have results back by June.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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