By Ron Wolfe

This week I want to share some of the findings of the Greater Sun City Center Purchasing Power Survey conducted by the Hillsborough County City/County Planning Commission in cooperation with the Ruskin Community Development Foundation, the Ruskin Chamber of Commerce and the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce. The data was compiled during November and December of 1998 and the results were released on May 11, 1999.

While the demographics of SouthShore has changed since the survey, the concentrated purchasing power among seniors and retirees of Sun City Center remains and must be considered by all SouthShore merchants.

The survey was mailed to 1,500 randomly selected households in Greater Sun City Center. This area was defined as the area south of 19th Avenue, west of U.S. 301, north of the Manatee County line and east of I-75. Response to the survey was outstanding with 383 households responding for a response rate of 25 percent.

Some of the more important highlights of the survey were:

  • Approximately one-third of the households in Greater Sun City Center spend six or more weeks away from the area, usually during the summer.

  • The average annual household income in Greater Sun City Center area was $48,620. This equates to a total area combined gross annual household income and potential purchasing power of more than $432,000,000.

  • Based upon the selection among 28 different categories of purchase, the combined total annual purchase of $73,795,357 was recorded.

  • The estimated total annual amount of these purchases being made in south Hillsborough County (now SouthShore) was $30,026,564.

  • The amount of purchases being made outside the SouthShore area was the difference of $43,768,793, amounting to 59.31 percent of the total.

These survey results lead to the logical question, "How can SouthShore merchants divert these purchases and bring their business message to these buyers to encourage them to "Buy SouthShore."

In addition to sharpening their business practices, SouthShore merchants may wish to consider the use of the Internet to deliver their business message to this important customer base.

Last week, I mentioned that seniors (50 and over) are now the fastest growing part of the U.S. Internet audience, according to The Media Audit. Sun City Center now has a computer club with more than 2,000 members!

How many SouthShore businesses now offer senior specials or discounts? Do senior buyers know about it? If you do, how about sending me the details by letter or e-mail so I can compile a list and make it available to the SouthShore senior citizens?

Finally, while the demographics of SouthShore will change over the next 5 to 10 years, there will continue to exist an important concentration of purchasing power among seniors and retirees.

Send letters to: THE VOICE of SouthShore, P.O. Box 476, Ruskin, FL 33575-0476. Phone: 813-273-8976.


Web site:

 Observer News Front Page