2019 Vista CARES Business Walk Report
Data and Insights from the 2018 Business Park Walk
VISTA CARES PROGRAM
The Vista CARES (Communicate, Assist, Retain, Expand, Support) program is the City’s targeted approach to business retention. The program consists of two functions: meetings between business leaders and City officials and two annual business walk events. The goal of the program is to learn about key business trends and insights that inform strategies and tactics to maintain a vibrant local economy.
The program began in 2004 with targeted business meetings and expanded to include business walks with the first business park walk in September 2011. In May 2017 the program added a second annual business walk downtown.
The Vista CARES business meetings and the business walks reveal important business sentiment trends and insights that can help City officials and the community proactively work together to retain businesses and help them grow.
BUSINESS PARK WALK EVENT SUMMARY
The eighth annual Vista CARES Business Walk was held in the Vista Business Park on October 18, 2018. The City and Chamber partnered to host the event. 33 business professionals, elected officials, and City staff, working in teams of two received 81 completed surveys.
The survey included questions covering topics such as whether the business anticipated an increase in growth or hiring, whether the company conducted business internationally, what obstacles impeded their progress, and how the City and Chamber can help them succeed.
BUSINESS PARK WALK KEY FINDINGS
In 2018 the Business Park surveys reflected a positive outlook. 93 percent of businesses expect business to increase or remain stable over the next three years, slightly lower than the 96 percent in 2017. The slight decline is statistically insignificant and most likely reflects the fact that different businesses are surveyed each year.
Above: Vista CARES business park survey responses to the question, “During the next three years do you anticipate your business to grow, decline, or remain the same.”
94 percent of survey respondents indicated they plan to see employee growth remain stable or grow over the next three years and no respondents anticipate a decrease in employees over the next three years. Six percent of survey respondents did not provide an answer to the question. A blank, or no response for a question often indicated the individual responding to the survey does not have sufficient information to answer the question or declined to answer.
Above: Vista CARES business park survey responses to the question, “During the next three years do you anticipate your number of employees to increase, decrease or remain the same.”
As businesses grow and need additional space, it may be necessary for the companies to move within or outside Vista when they have outgrown their current space. Because the industrial building vacancy rate is 5.8 percent companies may also look elsewhere to find a location that suits their needs. The City works closely with other cities in the region to help retain these companies in North County through Innovate78 efforts. If a company cannot expand in Vista, the city works with them to locate within the 78 corridor.
Keeping jobs and resources in our region is a top priority for the City of Vista and Innovate 78 partners including the Cities of Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside and San Marcos. One percent of respondents in the business park this year expected hiring to decline in the next three years with 64 percent expecting to increase hiring over the same time period.
Business Park leaders were asked if they conduct business internationally. Nearly 51 percent of businesses surveyed indicated that they do conduct businesses internationally. In addition, two business park companies are currently MetroConnect companies, a World Trade Center – San Diego international trade accelerator program to help increase a company’s internationally presence in foreign markets.
Above: Vista CARES business park survey responses to the question, “Do you conduct business internationally?”
During the walk, businesses were also asked open ended questions such as “what one thing would help your business grow?” Popular responses in the park were reductions in costs, more investment from outside sources, access to a more local talent pool, better marketing, and increase in customers.
After the survey results were recorded, staff identified companies that indicated they would like to be contacted by the City. Staff is currently following up with these businesses. Additionally, companies indicating they intend to relocate have been targeted for Vista CARES retention meetings. City staff will continue to communicate and follow-up with these companies in an effort to answer questions and connect them to resources or meet with them as appropriate.
The survey results show that businesses are planning to stay and grow in Vista which is the sign of a healthy local economy. City staff is working one-on-one with businesses that requested support locating resources to maintain a presence in Vista. The insights gathered from these surveys will be used to help inform programs and strategies to help retain and grow businesses in the City of Vista.
If you are a business owner seeking support, please visit CityofVista.com/EconomicDevelopment to learn about programs and incentives to support your business.
Economic Development contact for the City of Vista:
Economic Development Director