Strengthening the retail industry in Pittsburg was the objective of a project conducted by a group of Pittsburg State University graduate students.

PSU’s MBA Association completed a survey of 1,160 PSU students and community members during the fall 2012 semester in an attempt to pinpoint the retail needs and desires of local residents.

“What we were trying to do was figure out what needs to be done to keep local dollars here,” Sonya Bhakta, MBA Association president and the project’s lead investigator, said. “We wanted to know what the people of this community want and need so that they don’t always have to go Joplin or Kansas City to shop.”

The project was conducted in conjunction with the City of Pittsburg and the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce.

“We’ve been talking a lot about going straight to students in our community and asking what we’re missing,” Blake Benson, Chamber president, said. “We want to know what type of items they are leaving the community to buy. As it turns out, the MBA Association was talking about the same thing.”