Main Street Blog

Main Street Blog

September 28, 2022 | Small Business Saturday Neighborhood Champions Application Opens Mid-October | For 13 years, the Shop Small® movement has helped rally communities around the businesses they love. The Main Street America network has been a proud supporter since the beginning, starting with the launch of Small Business Saturday® in 2010. We are honored to once again team up with American Express to help rally communities to support their local businesses, culminating with Small Business Saturday on November 26, 2022. We hope you’ll join us to help make this year an even bigger success by serving as a 2022 Neighborhood Champion. Let's make this a ...
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September 27, 2022 | Main Spotlight: Beyond Passing the Plate, The Main Street Small Deal Initiative | By Patrice Frey, Senior Advisor, Main Street America | During the nine years I've worked at Main Street America, I’ve observed one particularly persistent and seemingly intractable obstacle to revitalization in our downtowns and districts: a lack of capital to support small-scale development, whether it’s a rehab of a corner store, the creation of upper floor housing, or any number of other creative new uses. (For purposes of this project, I define small-scale development as those projects under $5 million in project costs.) "The banks just aren't interested," ...
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September 20, 2022 | Announcing the 2023 Great American Main Street Award Semifinalists! | The applications are in and the national jury of community development professionals has convened, deliberated, and selected the 2023 Great American Main Street Award Semifinalists! Join us in offering heartfelt congratulations to the eight Main Street America communities that are in the running for being recognized for their exemplary use of the Main Street Approach™ to transform their downtowns and neighborhood business districts. Keep reading to learn more about each community and stay tuned to our social channels this week for daily Semifinalist shout outs! And ...
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September 16, 2022 | Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month | September 15 through October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month! From Texas and California to Boston and Milwaukee, Hispanic and Latino communities are at the heart of the Main Street movement. This month, join us in sharing Hispanic Heritage stories from our vibrant network! We would love to see how your community is celebrating your Hispanic heritage. Download the Main Street Hispanic Heritage Month social media toolkit to show your support for the Hispanic members of the Main Street movement, and be sure to tag us on social media! Facebook: NatlMainStreet Instagram: natlmainstreet ...
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September 15, 2022 | Community Spotlight: Community Spotlight: Staunton Stories | By: Greg A. Beam, Executive Director at Staunton Downtown Development Association | Greg Beam (SDDA Executive Director) chatting with Ms. Sarah Lynch, owner of Baja Bean Co. and founder of Staunton’s Queen City Mischief & Magic festival which brings thousands of Harry Potter fans to downtown each fall. Staunton Stories is a collaboration between the Staunton Downtown Development Association (SDDA) and 106.3 WQSV. During the program, SDDA Executive Director Greg A. Beam interviews a local business owner or community member. These are the voices of the folks who ...
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September 13, 2022 | Main Spotlight: Four Steps Towards More Resilient Main Streets | By: Hannah Mira Friedland, Associate Manager of Strategic Projects at Main Street America, and Marta Olmos, Communications Coordinator at Main Street America | September is National Preparedness Month! The past few years have illustrated the increasing urgency of creating more resilient communities, and Main Streets can play a critical role in supporting these efforts. Climate change is an unprecedented threat, and it can often seem daunting to try and tackle the changes we need to make, so we are sharing four actionable steps that Main Streets can quickly implement ...
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September 8, 2022 | Community Spotlight: Old Algiers Main Street Pilots Workforce Training Project | By Amanda Lanata, Assistant Director at Louisiana Main Street | Tout de Suite Café, a Main Street business for almost 20 years. Photo credit: Kim Summerlin. Note: This article was previous published by Louisiana Main Street on their Facebook page , and will be published in their inaugural e-newsletter. “We’re supporting people and small businesses at the same time,” said Aaron Jackson of Old Algiers Main Street Corporation . “It’s not just about the places, it’s about the people too.” Founded in 1719, the Old Algiers neighborhood sits across the ...
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September 6, 2022 | Main Spotlight: 30 Years of Dynamic Growth Across Illinois Main Street | By: Alicia Gallo, Senior Manager of Strategic Communications at Main Street America | Downtown Mt. Sterling, IL. Courtesy: Action Brown County. Since its inception, Illinois Main Street (IMS) has been extraordinarily effective at working with communities across the state to revitalize downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts through place-based economic development. IMS programs have collectively secured nearly $1.2 billion in public and private reinvestment, added over 11,000 jobs, created over 2,400 new businesses, and rehabilitated 1220 buildings ...
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September 1, 2022 | Request for Proposals for Accreditation Platform | Main Street America (MSA) seeks to retain the services of an experienced company to provide a software solution to serve as a collection tool for MSA Accredited & Affiliate programs. This number is approximately 1200 currently but we anticipate this will grow. Background The Main Street program was founded 40 years ago to counter the serious threat facing thousands of downtowns and commercial corridors. Changes in the underlying economy had seemed to make it all but inevitable that shopping malls and big box retailers were the way of the future and downtowns and small businesses ...
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September 1, 2022 | Community Spotlight: Honoring Sue Kumro with Niantic Main Street | By: Marta Olmos, Communications Coordinator at Main Street America | Sue Kumro stands with colleagues at the sign marking the field in her honor. Photo courtesy of Niantic Main Street. Last week, Niantic Main Street’s long-time board member and current Vice President Sue Kumro saw her many community contributions recognized with a field named in her honor. The field is located behind the Niantic Kari-Hill VFW Post 5849, known locally as the Niantic VFW. Since 2015, Sue has held a Cornhole Tournament as a fundraiser for the VFW. “Sue has been the backbone of the ...
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August 30, 2022 | Main Spotlight: Results from the Small Business Census Pilot | By: Diana Goldsmith, Inclusive Economic Development Intern | The storefronts of Colville, Washington’s Main Street offer a glimpse into the demographics of small business owners. Photo courtesy of Colville Together. In 2020, Main Street America and the Brookings Institute released research focused on understanding, sustaining, and investing in the hyperlocal strategies that are working to bring economic growth and equity to increasingly diverse and dynamic rural areas. In the process, the Research team realized that little is understood about the backgrounds or identities ...
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August 25, 2022 | Community Spotlight: Welcome Back Student Block Part with Emporia Main Street | By: Marta Olmos, Communications Coordinator at Main Street America | Members of LatinFit (a local Zumba Group) take a break from dancing to snap a picture. Event goers were encouraged through-out the event to dance with the group and learn about classes. Photo courtesy of LatinFit. Last weekend, Emporia Main Street in Kansas celebrated with students from Emporia State University and Flint Hills Technical College at their annual Welcome Back Student Block Party. The event brought new and returning students into the heart of the downtown and introduced ...
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August 22, 2022 | Main Spotlight: Backing Black Businesses on Main Streets | By: Marta Olmos, Communications Coordinator at Main Street America | From left to right: Kimberly Moore Davis, Abayomi Jones, and Lena Cooper. August is Black Business Month, a celebration of Black-owned businesses and the vibrancy and resiliency they bring to communities across the country. Main Street programs have an important role to play in supporting existing Black-owned businesses and fostering entrepreneurial ecosystems that facilitate the creation of new ones. We spoke to three Black business owners who were awarded Inclusive Backing grants from Main Street America ...
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August 18, 2022 | Allied Member Spotlight: Creating Pollinator Gardens in your Community | By: Kerry Kelly, Sales and Marketing at Garden Artisans Crofton Village Garden Club Pollinator Garden. Photo by Kerry Kelly. Pollinator gardens are fantastic ways to increase green space, promote sustainability, and educate your community on the local environment. We have collected some key considerations for designing and populating your pollinator garden to help you get started attracting bees, bugs, and butterflies to your Main Street. Choosing a Site The first step to creating a pollinator garden in your community is to find your growing zone so that ...
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August 9, 2022 | Main Spotlight: How Farmers Markets Can Activate Main Streets | By: Marta Olmos, Communications Coordinator at Main Street America Collage of fresh produce and a vendor booth from Market on Main. Photos courtesy of Stuart Main Street. August 7-13, 2022 is National Farmers Market Week! From farm-fresh veggies to artisanal delicacies, in communities of all sizes, farmers markets are beloved across the country. Many Main Street programs host farmers markets in their districts to bring in revenue, connect with local businesses, reduce food deserts, and increase foot traffic. We spoke to Main Street directors about their farmers markets ...
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August 4, 2022 | Community Spotlight: Friendly City Fortune in Downtown Harrisonburg | By: Marta Olmos, Communications Coordinator at Main Street America | Raffle staff at Friendly City Fortune in Downtown Harrisonburg. Photo courtesy of Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance. Named Best Fundraiser by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, the Friendly City Fortune is Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance’s (HDR) biggest fundraising event. Each summer, HDR raffles off $250,000 in cash and prizes to 54 lucky winners from the local community. The funds support HDR’s work to make Harrisonburg a destination for locals and visitors. HDR ...
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August 2, 2022 | Main Spotlight: Catalyzing Upper Floor Housing with the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant Program | By: Emily Kurash Casey, Director of Community Programs at Rethos | Interior upper floor in Red Wing, MN. Photo by Megan Tsui. The quantity and quality of housing in Main Street districts has become an increasingly important focus point for many programs. Research conducted by Main Street America and funded by the 1772 Foundation has found that 75% of Main Street managers feel that there is not enough housing to accommodate everyone who wants to live in their district. Established development models often are not well-suited to ...
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July 27, 2022 | Letter from the President: Our New Strategic Plan | By: Hannah White, Interim President and CEO, Main Street America | Dear Main Street America Network, I am excited to share with you Main Street America’s new strategic plan . This is the result of months of hard work, listening, conversation, co-creation, and wrestling with big, exciting, difficult ideas. The result is a plan I’m immensely proud of – one that leverages our strengths and will push us to grow and stretch in new ways. From its beginnings as a pilot project of the National Trust for Historic Preservation to the coast-to-coast forward-looking movement it is today, the Main ...
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July 25, 2022 | 2023 Main Street Now Conference Call for Proposals | Downtown Crossing in Boston, Massachusetts. Submit a session proposal for our 2023 Main Street Now Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, March 27-29. Start planning your session now to share your brilliant ideas by the submission deadline on September 6, 2022! Along with our partners at the Boston Main Streets, we invite proposals for educational sessions on perennial downtown and commercial district management topics guided by the Main Street Approach , as well as in three thematic areas: Building Community Connections Community Wealth Building & Shared Prosperity ...
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July 21, 2022 | Community Spotlight: Main Street Programs Receive AARP Community Challenge Grants | By: Marta Olmos, Communications Coordinator for Main Street America | Rendering of corner at New Street and Center Street in downtown Metuchen. Photo courtesy of Downtown Metuchen Alliance. The AARP Community Challenge program gives out quick-action grants to activate public spaces and build momentum for local change. This program is a great opportunity for many Main Streets, and this year, eight Main Street programs were awarded grants. Here are some of their projects. Downtown Boise Association (Idaho) DTPlays is an electric cargo bike that ...
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