My, what nice trees you have.
Yes yes, money doesn’t really grow on trees. But recent research from the Center for Urban Horticulture at the University of Washington points to the next best thing — that trees in business districts have a positive effect on consumer behavior.
“Healthy and well maintained trees send positive messages about the appeal of a district, the quality of products there and what customer service a shopper can expect. They are an important component of any program to attract shoppers and visitors.”
Trees don’t just amplify the appeal of the shopping district itself, thereby attracting customers to the local shops. They also increase the willingness of visitors to use paid parking options. Consumers even price goods an average of 11% higher in tree versus no-tree areas. This so-called “amenity margin” applies to low-cost convenience goods as well as higher-cost, luxury item goods.
That lack of trees could impact your bottom line.
Apparently, most retail districts in the United States average only 5% or less of tree canopy cover. Non-profit agency American Forests suggests aiming for 15%. Yikes.
Business districts, which often function as the main pedestrian artery in a given community, are a great initial focus for ambitious street tree plans. The central location means that improvements efforts can be enjoyed by everyone, and the ancillary benefits — greater willingness to pay for parking, longer visits, and more positive interactions with merchants themselves — are very persuasive.