Poster Presentation C Thursday, 5:00 – 6:00 pm C Edmund Fitzgerald Exhibit Hall
Comparison of Trade Area Models for a Small Business
Christina M. Brandel, Robert Werner
College of St. Catherine and University of St. Thomas
2115 Summit Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105
Trade areas spatially represent where customers
live or originate from. They help business owners and planners determine what
type of demographic area they should focus on for new development and expansion.
Trade areas can also be effective advertising and marketing tools for a
business. By understanding who its customers are, a business can market their
products more effectively, more efficiently, and target the right people.
Models are often used when determining a trade
area. A hand drawn trade area is the most specific model and gives the best
representation of where customers are, but is time consuming and difficult to
determine. Common models businesses use include buffers, drive time polygons,
and gravity models. Buffers create a crude delineation of a specified area, for
example a five-mile ring around a location. Drive time polygons also create a
delineation of an area, but take into account the importance of roadways and how
they influence time. Gravity models determine a trade area by comparing other
business locations and how their size and distance from each other influence
To determine which trade area model best represented the hand drawn area, I compared the hand drawn area and demographics (age, income, and education level) of the customers to the results of the other models. My results will show the most appropriate model that represents the hand drawn trade area of the small restaurant that I used. The results can be used to help business owners or planners to consider the most appropriate model for their needs.