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Newton had an estimated 2012 population of 2,863 and an estimated 1,226 households. However, the City of Newton businesses and service providers are frequented by a much larger population. Through the use of Reilly’s Law of Retail Gravitation and local information on consumer shopping patterns, the determined Primary Trade Area (Primary Trade Area Map) includes consumers residing within a 12-mile radius from the center of the downtown area (which includes the majority of Jasper County). This larger population included an estimated 9,557 people within 3,857 households in 2012. The median age of this population was 43.1 years and per capita income was $20,983. Nearly 75% of households owned their homes with a median home value of $120,256.  Over 75% of the Primary Trade Area population belongs to the Prairie Living or the Heartland Communities tapestry segments. These segments are described as enjoying a rural lifestyle by mowing large lawns, planting

gardens, enjoying outdoor recreation and tackling home projects. They tend to
be bargain shoppers, are active in their communities, enjoy family-style restaurants
and watch the news, NASCAR, hunting and fishing shows on television. Many
listen to country music and most own a satellite dish.
For full descriptions of tapestry segments click here.

The local economy is driven largely by agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (NAICS 11), which is not surprising due to the three state recreation areas, several privately-owned fishing/hunting businesses and large agricultural-base found in Jasper County. This sector accounts for 7.49% of all employment in the county, which makes Jasper County unique when comparing it to other neighboring counties and to the State of Illinois. Two hundred and thirty-two businesses are classified in this industry sector, employing over 400 people (in the Primary Trade Area: 218 businesses; 405 employees).

The majority of the businesses found in Newton, and within the TIF District, are locally-owned businesses or “mom-and-pop” shops. Some of these thriving businesses have been a part of Newton for more than 100 years and serve as the lifeblood of the community.

Franchises and/or nationally-branded stores are present in the City as well. The City has been successful in sustaining three automotive dealerships (Dodge-Chrysler, Ford, and Chevrolet-Buick) and three implement dealerships (Case International, John Deere, and New Holland).  This cluster of dealerships makes Newton a
regional hub for auto and implement purchases and services that benefits not
only these businesses but all others as well. Consumers travel greater
distances to have access to the variety and selection this provides them. The
City also has nationally/regionally recognized stores including Dollar General,
IGA, Tractor Supply Co, Hardee’s, Dairy Queen and Subway. 

During a recent survey, business owners stated that the internet has opened up the local market considerably over the past 5 years. It allows venues to benefit
from a global market instead of relying solely on the local one. Newton is an
ideal location for “global business” because the City is serviced by fiber
optic lines that provide reliable high speed internet service. Some of the
potential issues forecasted for the near future include keeping up with the
demands of manufacturers (when selling branded goods-mainly dealerships),
finding skilled labor, price-driven consumers, and consumer internet shopping. Businesses are already implementing measures to increase viability while adapting to
changes in the marketplace. Dealerships are becoming more tech-savvy while expanding their service departments and adding training centers. Local businesses are working with the schools and colleges to develop training programs specific to
their needs, retailers and service providers are educating consumers on the
importance of quality and strong customer service, and businesses are becoming
global by opening web-based marketplaces.

The City of Newton has a high quality of life with a vision founded on high morals and faith-based beliefs. Although it does not have ahospital, it is serviced by three medical clinics and the Jasper County Health Department that provides medical and specialty care along with lab, screening and imaging services. Senior care and independent living options are provided through a nursing home and an independent living facility. Two pharmacies service the community and surrounding areas. Many home health care options are available as well. The majority of pre-K through grade 12 schools are located in Newton and are attended by the majority of Jasper County children. Newton is within the Illinois Eastern Community College district—containing 4 schools. It is also near Lake Land College in Mattoon. Illinois Eastern University is only 37 miles away in Charleston. The City has a lower or equal crime rate to the
surrounding communities and is perceived as safe by local business owners and
residents. The City of Newton has Peterson Park, which has become a regional
destination since the City completed the state-of-art aquatic center. The
Jasper County Boys and Girls Park in Newton is home to many Jasper County
families during the spring and summer months. All summer league softball and
baseball games are played at this park, as well as the Newton Eagles baseball
and softball leagues and several regional and statewide tournaments. Four
outdoor recreation facilities are within minutes of the City of Newton. These
facilities attract visitors from around the nation and are very popular with the
locals as well. Newton is also home to several regional festivals, including
the Fall Festival, Strawberry Fest and the Burl Ives inspired Holly Jolly
Christmas event.

Several industry sectors were identified in a recent study as showing opportunities
for growth in the City of Newton TIF District in order to better meet consumer
demands. These determinations are based on substantiated evidence
revealing that current market demand is not being met with the current business
mix in the identified areas. Consumer data was verified through the use of
local resources and opinions. These opportunities range from restaurants to
rental companies to boutiques and entertainment venues. Potential companies to
recruit are included within these recommended focus areas.

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