Readers of Black Press community newspapers in the Cowichan Valley and across Vancouver Island have a chance to win a cool $1,000 for completing an online survey that will help local businesses better understand customers in their community.Black Press has partnered with respected research company Pulse Research to bring the Pulse of Vancouver Island survey to readers, which looks at the shopping plans and priorities of our readers and their media reading habits. Reader answers will help gauge the current consumer climate at the local level to help business from mom-and-pop outlets to national retailers craft new ways to serve their clients and customers.Responses will be kept completely confidential; reader contact information will only be gathered in order to enter the name into a prize draw for one of five $1,000 cash prizes to be given away on Vancouver Island. Readers who submit survey before Nov. 15 will also have their name entered into a draw for a $20 grocery gift card.The online survey will take about 35 to 40 minutes, erasing the need for readers to spend long periods of time on the phone answering questions.“We are very excited to be a part of this service to the business community,” says Lake Cowichan Gazette publisher Dennis Skalicky. “We are pleased to be able to offer this information and are certain it will be beneficial.”The Pulse Research survey has already been successful for businesses. In fact, one client took the results of the research to the bank and was able to secure a loan to expand their business, on the strength of the research.Among the benefits of the study is allowing businesses to identify niche areas of their business, including showing potential areas for growth or expansion.Pulse Research was founded in 1985 to provide publishing clients with research-based advertising sales and marketing programs designed to get results. They are able to deliver insight to businesses who are currently faced with an ever-changing mix of products and services, including web, niche, special sections and deals.Check out pulseresearch.com/vi to complete the survey and to enter the prize draws.