The Docking Institute releases 2022 Retail Gap Analysis survey



From the FHSU University Communication

HAYS, Kan – The Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University was commissioned by the FHSU Region of the Kansas Small Business Development Center to conduct a retail market gap analysis covering 29 counties in Northwest and Northern Kansas.

The survey focused on various market dynamics in predominantly rural Kansas, including decisions about where to buy goods (local vs. non-local), where to shop non-locally, which locally purchased goods and services are most desirable, business-to-shopping practices from Corporate and retail activity and related indicators.

“The Kansas SBDC is pleased to provide this data analysis tool to help entrepreneurs understand the needs of potential customers in their region,” said Gregory Jordan, director of the Kansas Small Business Development Center.

“This information provided by the Docking Institute can be of great use to those looking to start a new business or expand their existing product lines to create new revenue streams.”

The Docking Institute has created a website portal at that provides access to interactive chart, map and table versions of the survey results and all documentation related to the design of the Survey provides -northcentral-kansas-retail-market-gap-analysis-2022/.

A random sample of households in each county were surveyed using a multi-wave mail-out/mail-back questionnaire. Using address-based sampling (ABS), the Docking Institute’s Center for Survey Research conducted a multi-wave postal survey of 44,260 randomly selected households in 29 counties in Northwest and Northern Kansas from March 2 to May 17, 2022.

The cover letter to the questionnaire asked “the adult (18 or older) in the household with the best knowledge of the household’s purchases of goods and services” to complete the questionnaire. The survey measured perceived gaps in 73 categories of retail consumer goods and services in the region.

“We expected that smaller communities would generally do more out-of-county and online shopping than larger communities,” said Dr. Brett Zollinger, director of the Docking Institute and principal investigator behind the survey.

“However, it is important to note that not all communities of the same size have the same types or levels of non-local purchases of goods and services. For this reason, a close look at the county-by-county results is instructive for those who may be considering starting a business or expanding an area of ​​activity.”

About the Kansas Small Business Development Center

The Kansas Small Business Development Center, sponsored by Fort Hays State University, serves entrepreneurs and small businesses in 105 Kansas counties. SBDC was formed in 1983 as a partnership between the US Small Business Administration and eight Kansas colleges. It is funded by the US Small Business Administration. Working in partnership with the Kansas Department of Commerce, the Kansas SBDC helps new entrepreneurs realize their dream of starting their own business and assists existing businesses in their efforts to remain competitive. SBDC services enable Kansas entrepreneurs to make better, more informed business decisions, avoid costly mistakes, and create the thorough and complete business plans necessary for both raising finance and effectively managing their operations. Learn more at

About the Docking Institute of Public Affairs

The primary mission of Fort Hays State University’s Docking Institute of Public Affairs is to facilitate effective public decision-making between government and non-profit entities. The institute’s work focuses on four main areas of focus, including:

  • Public policy and public opinion, survey research for government and non-profit organizations
  • Strategic planning and consulting
  • Public affairs programming through conferences, speakers, forums, television and radio programs, newspaper columns and scholarly publications
  • Training programs for public administration and executives

Learn more at


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