Community Spotlight: Storefront Activation Through Storytelling in Fredericksburg, VA

January 8, 2021 | Community Spotlight: Storefront Activation Through Storytelling in Fredericksburg, VA | By: Abby Armato, Communications Coordinator, NMSC | 
Small business owners showing off the branded posters in their storefronts. Photo credit: Dan Craddock, Metro Nova Creative

Fredericksburg Virginia Main Street (FVMS) is taking storefront activation to a new level. Last month, the Main Street program kicked off their Scan & Love Project: an initiative that tells the stories of business owners through personal and engaging videos. Accessed via QR codes placed in storefront windows, the videos are helping to create a more immersive and meaningful shopping experience throughout the district and strengthening the emotional connection between businesses and the public.

This award-winning initiative was installed in the commercial district in time for holiday shopping, but the design of the program is a great way to active storefronts through storytelling any season. Check out the steps that FVMS took to implement this initiative below. You may want to consider replicating the initiative in your own community!

Bringing Stories to Life

Step 1 – Videos: FVMS worked with a film company to record interviews with business owners, who shared details about their business’s offerings and their connection with the downtown. These interviews were then edited into engaging 30-90 second clips, complete with upbeat music and footage of the business’s bricks-and-mortar location.

FVMS then uploaded the videos to their YouTube channel. The Main Street program strategically added additional details in the description of each video—such as a link to the business’s webpage, an online menu and a physical business address—to make each video as much of a resource to the viewer as possible.

Step 2 – Branding: Next, posters were designed and printed with each video’s corresponding QR code. They included the Main Street program’s logo, the project’s sponsor logo, and a rendering of the downtown’s skyline. Leaning into the “love” theme of Scan & Love Project, the QR codes were placed in the middle of a big heart.

Step 3 – Sharing: The branded posters were then placed in storefronts, making it as easy as possible for visitors downtown to scan a QR code and view one of the video spotlights. Or, as the Main Street program wrote in their promotion of the initiative, “Scan the QRC code to visit with the owner(s) of the business and to hear their story. Enjoy this safe way to discover a new place or learn more about your favorite business!”

Learn More

Filming_pic_w_cap.jpgThe Scan & Love Project was funded through Fredericksburg Virginia Main Street and the City of Fredericksburg Economic Development Authority and executed by Metro Nova Creative and Ignite Cinemas. The initiative was named the winner of the 2020 Main Street Idea Pitch Competition, hosted by Virginia Main Street.

As of this writing, video spotlights have been published for: 2 Hearts 1 Dress, Apricot Lane, Dog Krazy, Freedom Society, Irish Eyes, Italian Station, Whittingham / The Kitchen at Whittingham, Juan More Taco, Monkees of Fredericksburg, PONSHOP, Skin + Touch Therapy, Taste of Oil Vinegar Spice, The Card Cellar, Curitiba Art Cafe, Wildflower Collective, Kimman's Co., Agora Downtown, Fredericksburg Center for the Creative Arts, FOODE, Hyperion Expresso, Latitudes Fair Trade Store, Rebellion FXBG, River Rock Outfitters, Spencer Devon Brewing, and Sugar and Spruce.

Learn more about this project here.