LITTLETON—What if we could know our many visitors’ first impression of Littleton? The Littleton Area Chamber of Commerce (LACC) has found a way to do just that.
LACC recently took part in First Impressions, a new program through the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension (UNH CE) that pairs two similar towns to evaluate their strengths and opportunities for improvement. With successes across the U.S. and Canada, UNH CE selected Littleton and Rochester to pilot the program, noting their river districts and comparable Main Streets. President of the Littleton Area Chamber Carrie Gendreau revealed, “They [UNH CE] knew Littleton would get the job done.”
Gendreau continued, “People will make a judgment of a person and a website fairly quickly. With a town, however, people will make a first impression almost instantaneously. Participating in First Impressions gives us an opportunity to find out what those fresh eyes are seeing, and fill in the gaps of what’s needed.”
Eight Rochester area representatives from a variety of backgrounds and demographics trekked to downtown Littleton earlier this summer in a secret shopper-style visit, evaluating areas from infrastructure to customer service from Main Street businesses. Littleton representatives did the same in Rochester.
The findings from Rochester’s visit will be presented at a public information forum Nov. 1 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at The Littleton Opera House. Downtown Director Jessica Bunker is excited to welcome Littleton residents to the forum, stating, “This type of third-party feedback from First Impressions is extremely valuable and will effectively allow the Chamber to track the success and return of our programs, evaluating areas for improvement.”
Overall, Rochester participants found Littleton’s downtown charming, noting our cute shops and eateries as well as the welcoming vibe from the hanging flowers and Piano Project.
“Although we have been in the newspaper, on TV, and in many publications,” Gendreau noted, “there’s still room for improvement.” Critique of Littleton will be presented at Nov. 1st’s meeting. On the feedback received from Rochester, Gendreau commented, “We are very encouraged, and the opportunities stated are well within our range of being able to accomplish these tasks.” In order to do so, however, the Chamber needs Littleton residents as well as the Town to stand behind their ability to bring Littleton to the next level and make improvements.
Anyone who would like to know what visitors think of our town are invited to attend the public forum on Nov. 1.