County wide survey will analyze spending habits

On Tuesday, Oct. 1, the North Fork Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with California State University, Fresno and Yosemite/Sequoia Resource Conservation & Development Council, will launch its first ever county-wide research study to analyze consumer behaviors and recreational habits of Madera County residents.

Historically, the timber industry has been the primary economic driver of local mountain communities in Eastern Madera County. Today however, the disappearance of that industry has created a vacuum effect within our communities leaving recreation and leisure based industries the leaders in the Mountain Area economy.

"The seasonal nature of this industry calls for an economic analysis of this extent because the viability of small-town local economies depend on liquidity entering, remaining in circulation, and never leaving the community" says Chamber of Commerce Manager, Neil O'Brien who is spearheading the research project.

The questionnaires will identify the tendency of Valley Madera County residents' to engage in leisure and recreational activities found in Eastern Madera County areas, while identifying what goods and services Eastern Madera County residents demand the most from outside their communities.

The data collected will allow various chambers, existing businesses, and aspiring entrepreneurs to visualize the unique demands of Eastern Madera County communities, while also "providing a snapshot of our progress towards building economically sustainable communities Ð which is a goal of the area's 'Think Local First' campaign," said Brittany Dyer, program development manager for the council.

"I think that this exercise of people answering these questions is a good start for individuals to bring the conversation home to the dinner table," Scott Marsh, president of the North Fork Chamber of Commerce. "They can talk about how their shopping habits contribute or not contribute to our county's overall economic and employment picture."

"Anyone living in Madera County can help us out by providing feedback," said Madera County District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler, who is also president of the council. "Completing a survey takes three to five minutes, it doesn't cost respondents a dime, and personal information will not be collected."

Madera County residents and business owners of all ages are encouraged to complete a survey by visiting, or by scanning the QR code provided in this article using a Smartphone device to be directed to the questionnaire. The survey begins Oct. 1 and will close Oct. 31.

Details: Neil O'Brien, (559) 877-2410, (559) 772-2747.