As part of Professor of Geography Olga Medvedkov’s Geographic Information Systems class, seniors Ben Bozic and Walter Kropp compared Springfield with the rebounding “Rust Belt” cities of Muncie, Ind., and Columbus, Ind. When market segments were compared, all three were surprisingly similar with the top four lifestyle segments, representing 75 percent of all households in each county: Factories and Farms, Upscale Avenues, Senior Styles and Traditional Living.
However, their research and visits to the two cities showed a large difference in their downtowns. Both had an average of 20 downtown area restaurants as compared to only four in Springfield. Within Springf ield, the average household earnings of the top four segments ranged from $36,000-$64,000. Bozic and Kropp calculated that Springfield and Clark County have an untapped potential of $63 million consumer dollars available, among just an upscale segment with 12,000 households, to spend on apparel and dining out – monies that most likely are being spent outside Springfield. Based on their findings, the seniors concluded that greater Springfield can support restaurants, groceries stores, movie theatres and recreation in the downtown area.