The poverty rate in the south part of Lancaster city is 40 percent — nearly double that of north’s 22 percent – and a new study by Assets Lancaster examines business in that less-considered sector
“No one — not the city Economic Development department, not the Mayor’s office, not the Chamber of Commerce — knew exactly which businesses were operating in the south of the city, who owns the businesses, or what type of support they might need,” a news release says.
Assets realized that after moving from North Prince Street to Southern Market Center in September 2013 and subsequently embarking on a three-month mapping and survey project.
The study “serves as baseline data about the economic condition of a significant portion of our city, and an identification of the private sector stakeholders who can be engaged in the work of economic development and increasing access to prosperity for all Lancaster citizens,” Assets says.
Some notable findings of the study are as follows:
• Grocery retail is the most common business type.
• 71 percent of business owners are male, 29 percent female.
• 46 percent of business owners are Hispanic.
• African Americans are 18 percent of the population and 3 percent of the business owners.
• Southwest Lancaster has twice the number of businesses as Southeast.
• Of 70 businesses surveyed, 45 reported a positive relationship with the city; eight said it was negative; 13 were indifferent; and four said the relationship was complicated, with positives and negatives.
A nonprofit, Assets Lancaster “has focused on microenterprise support for entrepreneurs in Lancaster County for 20 years.” The news release thanked Lancaster City Alliance and the City of Lancaster Economic Development & City Revitalization Department for supporting the study.