2013 National Main Streets Conference: Learn What You Need to Lead Your Main Street


Main Street and those who love it are all about resilience—bringing commercial districts back to life by managing change and facing new challenges. And providing Main Street professionals with the tools to save the heritage and character of their downtowns while making them vibrant and profitable is what we’re best at. The 2013 National Main Streets Conference is the ideal place to learn new skills, explore new ideas, discover innovative strategies, and share best practices. Find out how other communities have solved common problems on Main Street and get the latest how-to tactics from experts in the field.  Join us in New Orleans for three information-packed days of learning and networking.

To start you thinking about your schedule, here’s a small sampling of the learning opportunities you’ll find at this year’s conference, from battling the food truck "wars" and improving wellness downtown to channeling your inner Main Street rock star!

Beyond Branding: Why Buzzwords Make Us Waste Money. This 45-minute crash course will explore the difference between “pretty” and “strategic and help inspire you to capture the essence of your district or downtown with coordinated marketing messages.

Building from Within: Mentoring Youth in Business. This 75-minute classroom session shows local managers the value of investing in and training young entrepreneurs to build a community that is able to sustain a viable culture that understands the relationship between risk and growth.

Committee to Task Squads: A Volunteer Driven Action Plan. This 75-minute classroom session offers a unique solution to the problem of sustainable volunteer engagement. Learn from a fellow Main Street manager how to apply this new approach in your town or neighborhood.

Creating Entrepreneur Ready Communities. Communities that build local capacity to support entrepreneurs have seen dramatic increases in startup and growth of successful businesses. This session will help you assess the “entrepreneur readiness” of your community

Food Truck Wars. Food trucks have burst onto the streets of communities across the nation, spurred by a unique economy giving way to entrepreneurs. Most downtowns, however, aren’t prepared for the proverbial question: Do we want food trucks? This 3-hour in-depth session will explore the pros and cons of food trucks and explore regulations from many communities and perspectives from real-life food truckers.

Good Neighbors: Improving Downtown’s Edges. What happens when downtown is successful and needs to expand beyond its traditional borders? Or when a new high-density, mixed use development backs onto an established single-family residential neighborhood? This 45-minute crash course offers creative design and management solutions to promote positive interactions along Main Street’s edges.

Healthy Main Streets: Employee Wellness like “The Big Guys.” Learn how one small rural community used its downtown as a site for worksite wellness, local food sourcing, and small business support to create a healthier place for workers.

Secrets of a Main Street Manager.  Being a Main Street director is a calling. It’s an incredible job filled with amazing opportunities and interesting challenges. But the potential for burnout is high. This session will help you stay positive (starting with getting out of bed every morning), find your happy place, and keep your downtown moving forward. Learn how to embrace your inner downtown rock star!

Social Media in 15 Minutes: Grow Your Online Presence Without Going Crazy. Get the skills you need—by way of step-by-step instructions—to share your Main Street message through social media, which is crucial to managing your time AND growing your online presence. 

Stop Texting and Buy Something: Main Street Meets Modern Retail. In a world where 46 percent of young Americans would choose surfing and texting over driving, it’s obvious that consumer behavior is shifting and that our retail environments must create both economic and emotional connections. Hop on board for a fascinating trip to meet the modern consumer and contemporary retailers —and persuade both to fall in love with your downtown.

The 4Ps of the Creative Economy: People, Products, Places and Partnerships. This in-depth session will give you a better understanding of what a creative economy encompasses and how any community can gain from nurturing a creative, innovative, cultural environment. You’ll examine specific resources for creative people, places, and products and identify strategies and best practices of communities that have successfully cultivated vibrant creative economies within a Main Street environment.

Special Opportunities for Main Street Directors and Board Members

Facilitated roundtable discussions developed specifically for Main Street Board Members and Main Street Among the wide range of educational opportunities are our facilitated roundtable discussions, which have been developed specifically for Main Street directors and board members. In order to plan appropriately, these events are ticketed, although there is no cost to attend. Look for them on the online registration form.

Board Members only. Gather with board members from across the country to identify and discuss pressing issues for local programs and boards. Share successes and challenges and the lessons you've learned. Facilitated session with NTMSC staff and other Main Street leaders.

Leading the Next Phase of Main Street: Our Input, Our Role, Our Vision. Whether you are a new Main Street manager or a seasoned director, you have a unique opportunity to join your peers and offer your vision for the next phase of the National Main Street movement. Come together in a roundtable format to discuss the needs of your local program and share your voice on what is also needed to build the position of Main Street managers as key leaders in community revitalization.

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