Main Street Blog

Main Street Blog

April 22, 2021 | Announcing the Winners of the American Express Shop Small Order In, Help Out Innovation Challenge | Since the beginning of the pandemic, downtowns across the country have encouraged their communities to support local restaurants in creative and engaging ways. We’re thrilled to celebrate the ingenuity of these Main Street programs by announcing the winners of the American Express Shop Small Order In, Help Out Innovation Challenge. From promoting curbside pickup hours through a music video to launching a downtown burger tour, the winners of the Order In, Help Out Innovation Challenge rallied their communities to support restaurants when they ...
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April 15, 2021 |  Thank You for Attending the 2021 Main Street Now Conference! | Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2021 Main Street Now Conference ! We were truly inspired by the engaging discussions, thoughtful chat conversations, and energy of the nearly 4,000 conference attendees at our largest Main Street Now Conference ever! After three days together, we hope you're feeling renewed, recharged, and ready to rebuild stronger, more equitable Main Streets.   Give us your feedback on Main Street Now 2021! Please remember to review individual conference sessions in the conference platform and take our conference survey. Your feedback ...
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April 14, 2021 | Announcing the 2021 Mary Means Leadership Award Recipient | Left: Breanne Durham, Norma Ramirez de Miess (MSA), and Ellen Gamson (Mount Vernon)     Center: Breanne Durham     Right: Breanne with her Washington Trust colleagues at the 2019 Main Street Now Conference in Seattle Breanne Durham, director of the Washington State Main Street Program (WSMSP), is this year’s recipient of the Mary Means Leadership Award. Selected by a national jury, Breanne is being recognized for her collaborative and visionary approach, which empowers Washington State Main Street leaders to strengthen local economies, preserve historic assets, and work together ...
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April 12, 2021 | Announcing the Recipients of the Main Street Forward Awards Clockwise from top left: The Argenta Outdoor Dining District in North Little Rock, AR; Missouri Main Street Connections' virtual Directors Meeting; an outdoor cleanup on Emporia Main Street in Emporia, KS; a food distribution event organized by Main Street Lincoln Park in Duluth, MN; downtown Gloucester, VA; an outdoor yoga class in downtown Royal Oak, MI Main Street America presented six downtown commercial districts with the Main Street Forward Award at the 2021 Main Street Now Conference . The awards program recognizes communities that have shown exemplary recovery ...
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April 9, 2021 | Welcome to the 2021 Main Street Now Conference! | We can't wait to kick off the 2021 Main Street Now Conference with you in just three days! You'll join thousands of commercial district revitalization professionals, small business owners, civic leaders, and others from across the country—and the world—for a Main Street Now Conference like no other. To ensure you have the best conference experience possible, keep reading for important information about building your conference schedule, navigating our virtual platform, getting your computer ready, and more. Haven't registered yet? There's still time! Register here. GO TO THE CONFERENCE ...
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April 7, 2021 | Creating Boundaries and Having Courageous Conversations: A Q&A with Ohlay | The past year has been filled with long hours, difficult conversations, and tough decisions for the Main Street America Network. The converging impacts of COVID-19 and the national and local reckoning related to racial justice and equity have challenged Main Streets in new ways. In light of these challenges, we wanted to highlight two live workshops at the Main Street Now Conference that aim to help attendees take care of themselves and their communities, advance equity, and have courage in the face of tough conversations.  These sessions will be led ...
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March 31, 2021 | A Toolkit for Building Small | By Jim Heid, FASLA | Small creates an enduring, fine grained street fabric that allows buildings to come and go over time, without disrupting the larger community’s sense of place as here on King Street in Charleston, SC.  (C) Jim Heid, CRAFT Development, 2020 As spring emerges and we think about what is on the other side of the pandemic for our communities and its small businesses, my new book published by the Urban Land Institute provides a refreshing and inspiring view of what is possible. Started three years before the onset of Covid-19, Building Small: A Toolkit for Real Estate Entrepreneurs, ...
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March 30, 2020 | Main Street Now Session Preview: Why Fighting Inequality Will Make You Feel Better | By Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD, Professor of Urban Policy and Health, The New School The following post was originally featured on Dr. Mindy Thompson Fullilove's blog, Countdown to Main Street in May 2020. Dr. Fullilove is the author of the book Main Street: How a City's Heart Connects Us All . Join in a discussion with the author at a special Main Street Now Conference session to delve into the ways in which Main Streets are integral places for identifying and understanding the key issues facing society and how innovative problem-solving on Main ...
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March 24, 2021 | Announcing the Recipients of the Main Street Resiliency Grant Program | Pictured clockwise from upper left: Biddeford, Maine, courtesy of Heart of Biddeford; Winchester, Kentucky, courtesy of Main Street Winchester; Las Vegas, New Mexico, courtesy of Main Street de Las Vegas; Moultrie, Georgia, courtesy of Downtown Moultrie; Manassas, Virginia, courtesy of Historic Manassas, Inc.; San Luis Obispo, California, courtesy of Downtown SLO; Hartsville, South Carolina; courtesy of Main Street South Carolina; Carbondale, Illinois, courtesy of Carbondale Main Street; Erie, Pennsylvania, courtesy of Erie Downtown Partnership; Logan Circle Main Street ...
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March 22, 2021 | Early Bird Rates for the Main Street Now Conference End Tonight | Early bird rates for the Main Street Now Conference end tonight at 11:59pm CDT. Register now to recharge with peers from across the country, renew your focus, and reimagine the future of Main Street together. Attendees will have access to more than 50 education sessions with revitalization experts, interactive networking opportunities, and plenaries with leaders in community economic development, organizational capacity building, and more. All recorded content will be available for up to one year after the conference. Keep reading to learn about some fun opportunities ...
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March 19, 2021 | Our Top 3 Reasons to Register for Small Business Day at the Main Street Now Conference |  COVID-19 has presented challenges and disruptions for small businesses unlike any we’ve known before, so it’s more important than ever to give entrepreneurs opportunities for support. That’s why the virtual Main Street Now Conference is offering a special content track dedicated entirely to small businesses for a discounted registration rate of only $25! * This educational, informative, and dynamic day will offer guidance and actionable insight to help small business owners move forward in their communities, while also giving them the tools ...
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March 18, 2021 | There is No Place for Hate in Our Communities | There is no place for hate in our communities. Main Street America mourns the lives lost in Tuesday’s shooting targeted at the Asian American community in Atlanta, and resolutely stands against the exponential rise of anti-Asian violence in our country. We do not tolerate racism, xenophobia, or violence of any kind and reaffirm our commitment to being advocates for organizations, networks, and communities that are free of discrimination in all its forms. The dignity of every person must be honored and respected in our public spaces. Take action and support Asian, Asian American, and ...
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March 18, 2021 | Main Spotlight: Windows of Opportunity – The Transformation of Empty Storefronts on Main Street | By: Lisa Morgen, Retailworks, Inc. |  A window display for Diedrich Jewelers in Ripon, Wisconsin, designed by Retailworks, Inc. Photo credit: Retailworks, Inc. With winter solstice behind us, and spring just ahead, longer days and warmer temperatures have arrived. People are slowly coming out of hibernation and hopefully soon, our Main Streets will experience an increase in pedestrian traffic. Unfortunately, many downtown landscapes are still dotted with one too many empty storefronts. However, there are ways to turn these empty windows ...
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March 17, 2021 | Get Inspired at the Main Street Now Opening Plenary | Join us for a high-energy Opening Plenary at the Main Street Now Conference , featuring remarks by entrepreneur and philanthropist Howard Schultz, former ceo and chairman emeritus of Starbucks Coffee Company. In a conversation with Main Street America’s Director of Urban Programs Dionne Baux, Mr. Schultz will touch on his experience as an entrepreneur, his insights into leading through crisis, and his vision for a comprehensive solution to support small businesses in recovery. Plus, don't miss a special welcome from Main Street Programs across the country and from Patrice Frey, President ...
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March 16, 2021 | Main Street America and Brother International Award Grants to Small Businesses Clockwise from upper left to bottom right: Karson Butler Events at the Ah Louis Store in San Luis Obispo, CA; photo credit: Cameron Ingalls. A yoga class at LiveWell Camas in Camas, WA; photo credit: Mad Fizzy Photography. Alyssa Olive, owner of oLive Juicery outside her storefront in Kosciusko, MS; photo courtesy of oLive Juicery. The Small Time Skates storefront in Hammond, LA; photo courtesy of Small Time Skates. The interior of Bunyaad Marketplace in Lititz, PA; photo credit: Jenni Leister. The exterior of PJ’s Barbers and Stylists in Washington, DC; ...
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March 12, 2021 | Advocacy Alert: American Rescue Plan and Main Street Impact | By: Kelly Humrichouser, Director of Government Relations, NMSC |  Yesterday, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP), a $1.9 trillion dollar package with broad, robust support for new and existing federal programs to help the nation through the remainder of the pandemic. Several provisions of this package have the potential to support both our communities and the specific local economic development work of Main Street programs. The package includes: Small Business Support : The package allocates an additional $7.25 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program ...
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March 11, 2021 | Small Businesses’ E-Commerce Usage Continues to Increase as Holiday Revenues Were Mixed: Results from Our January 2021 Survey of Small Business Owners | By: Michael Powe, Ph.D., Director of Research, NMSC |  In late January, we launched a new text message-based survey to assess the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on small businesses. Our questions focused on holiday revenues, usage and impact of e-commerce, and the renewed PPP program. We heard from 289 business owners in 35 states plus the District of Columbia. Because our survey is tracking hundreds of business owners over time, we were also able to link data from 223 business owner respondents ...
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March 11, 2021 | Community Spotlight: Paving the Path from Pop-up to Permanent at the Batavia Boardwalk Shops | By: Kelly Humrichouser, Director of the Illinois Main Street Program, NMSC |  The Batavia Boardwalk Shops. Photo credit: April Duda Photography This article was originally published on the Illinois Main Street webpage, and has been republished here with permission. Main Street programs in Illinois and across the country work to ensure that their commercial district is vibrant, buzzing with activity, and supporting the development and expansion of locally-owned businesses. This is no small task, but with entrepreneurship rates soaring ...
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March 10, 2021 | Civic Leader Opportunities at the Main Street Now Conference | With session topics ranging from transformative placemaking and disaster preparedness to the relationship between elected officials and Main Street, this year's conference will feature a specialized education session track tailored to local elected officials and senior-level local government staff. Main Street America will offer a special discounted rate of just $50 to civic leaders. Mayors, county executives, city councilmembers, elected municipal leaders, and staff at the director level and above in Main Street-related departments, like economic development and planning, ...
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March 9, 2021 | Main Spotlight: Using StoryWalks to Bring Reading and Fun Downtown  | By: Dr. Noah Lenstra, Assistant Professor of Library & Information Science, University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Founder & Director, Let’s Move in Libraries Since their creation, StoryWalks® have been leveraged by Main Street programs to create walking trails in commercial districts. By posting pages from books in storefront windows, families are encouraged to explore their local small businesses while piecing together the storybook’s plot. This family-friendly downtown activity has been trending since it was initially developed in 2007, but the pandemic ...
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