Main Street Blog

Main Street Blog

January 14, 2021 | Now Open: Nominations for the Mary Means Leadership Award |  Nominations for the Mary Means Leadership Awards are Open! Since its founding, the Main Street program’s success has depended upon the vision and determination of leaders committed to community transformation. To celebrate these directors and recognize the outstanding leadership of the Main Street program’s own founder, Main Street America introduced the Mary Means Leadership Award in 2019. Announced annually at the  Main Street Now Conference , the award is a celebration of an outstanding leader per year and highlights the critical role that leadership plays ...
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January 14, 2021 | Jump off the Business Recruitment Train: The Real Returns are in Cultivating Local Entrepreneurship | By: Matthew Wagner, Ph.D., Vice President of Revitalization Programs, NMSC |  Historically, whether it’s been traditional economic development or Main Street economic vitality efforts, business recruitment has been an area in which a great deal of our revitalization activities, resources, and capacity were largely allocated. But new research by Main Street America, coupled with emerging trends from COVID-19, suggests greater returns on our missions and resources can be had by transitioning to more deliberate economic vitality work centered ...
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January 13, 2021 | The Grills Fund for Main Street Revitalization: Project Progress | In May, eight Accredited Main Street America Programs received $10,000 each from the Grills Fund for Main Street Revitalization to implement innovative projects to address the current and/or legacy impacts of COVID-19. Nearly eight months later, these communities have implemented a range of inspiring projects and are seeing impressive results – from leveraging local investments and creating new partnerships to sparking more jobs and increasing entrepreneurship. Learn more about their progress below. Wooster Comeback: Main Street Wooster, Inc. (Wooster, OH) ...
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January 12, 2021 | Just Released! Main Street's Comeback |  We are excited to announce that Main Street’s Comeback and How It Can Come Back Again , the new book by Mary Means, is now available. Covering more than 40 years of the Main Street revitalization movement, the book recounts the origins of the Four Point Main Street Approach in the 1970s, chronicles its growth into a nationwide movement, and describes why its principles and practices continue to be relevant today. Perhaps most importantly, the book brings the stories of the people and places across our network to life and lays out the case of how and why Main Street organizations will be essential ...
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January 12, 2021 | Announcing the “At Your Side” Small Business Grant Program | As small businesses continue to weather the challenges of the pandemic, we’ve teamed up with Brother International on a grant program to provide support. The “At Your Side” Small Business Grant Program will provide funding to brick-and-mortar small businesses in designated Main Street districts as they work to adapt to COVID-19 and prepare for the next phases of reopening across the country, while also helping to revitalize and strengthen older and historic commercial corridors. The program will provide a total of $75,000 to Main Street small businesses in need. Applications ...
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January 8, 2021 | 2020 Year in Review: A Letter to the Network | By: Patrice Frey, President & CEO, NMSC |  Main Street America Network,  Unfortunately, this week – like so many in recent memory – has brought with it renewed national anguish, with the violent insurrection at the United States Capitol. We join with our parent organization, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in  condemning this act in the strongest possible terms  and standing with the causes of peace and justice.  The early days of a new year usually carry with them a feeling of hope and anticipation as we think back on what has passed and what is to come. Even ...
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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 ...
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January 6, 2021 | Main Street America and The Hartford Award More Than $430,000 in Grants to Small Businesses |   Top photo from left to right: Bricolage Art Collective: Paducah, KY, Credit: Landee Bryant; Curitiba Art Cafe: Fredericksburg, VA, Credit: Curtiba Art Cafe; MiLadies 182: Florence, SC, Credit: Downtown Florence; Terra Running: Cleveland, TN, Credit: Sue Joyner; Starlings Coffee & Provisions: Charleston, WV, Credit: Jon Steele; Cakewalk Chicago: Chicago, IL Credit: Cakewalk Chicago;  Main Street America and The Hartford are pleased to announce the second-round recipients of the HartBeat of Main Street Grant Program . ...
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December 22, 2020 | HartBeat of Main Street Grant Program: First Round Recipient Spotlights | Top (left to right): The Bankery in Skowhegan, Maine; Center of the Yarniverse in Ashland, Virginia; Tina's Timeless Threads in Dover, Delaware; and Griff Goods in Opelika, Alabama .Bottom (left to right): The SoMa Outdoor Dining Room (a project from Mockingbird Bar & Tacos in Little Rock, Arkansas; BuzzBomb Brewing in Springfield, Illinois; and The Owl Wine Bar & Home Goods in Elgin, Texas. In October, we announced the first-round recipients of the HartBeat of Main Street Grant Program . These 67 recipients from across the country ranged from ...
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December 22, 2020 | HartBeat of Main Street Grant Program: Spotlighting Tina's Timeless Threads | Left: The new Point of Sale at Tina's Timeless Threads. Center: A model shows off an outfit on the new website platform. Right: New security monitors at the shop. Photos courtesy of Tina Hudson-Beamer. Tina's Timeless Threads : Dover, DE Owner: Tina Hudson-Beamer Tell us a little bit about yourself and your small business. Tina's Timeless Threads is a vintage and vintage-inspired boutique. I sell hand-curated vintage for both women and men who are tired of fast fashion consumerism, and love to express their individuality in an eco-friendly ...
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December 22, 2020 | Congress Throws Lifeline to Small Businesses, But Fight for Main Streets Continues into New Year | By: Patrice Frey, President & CEO, NMSC |  Dear Main Street America Network, Last night both houses of Congress passed the Coronavirus Response And Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act , ending a months-long stalemate in Congressional response to the pandemic. While provisions of the legislation will offer short-term relief to both businesses and Main Street programs, our specific $100M proposal to support Main Streets through a competitive grant program was not included. We will continue the fight for federal funding for Main ...
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December 22, 2020 | HartBeat of Main Street Grant Program: Center of the Yarniverse | Left and right: The shop's collection of yarn. Center: A pop-up flower show at the shop. Photo credit: Center of the Yarniverse Center of the Yarniverse : Ashland, Virginia Owner: Stacey Williamson Tell us a little bit about yourself and your small business. After careers in accounting and education, I wanted to try something completely different. I decided to create a happy place for knitters and crocheters to come for supplies, instruction and social stitching. Center of the Yarniverse is a local yarn shop right next to the train tracks that run ...
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December 22, 2020 | HartBeat of Main Street Grant Program: Spotlighting The Bankery | Left: The Bankery's bakery case. Center: The exterior of The Bankery. Right: The Bankery's outdoor check-out area. Photos courtesy of The Bankery. The Bankery : Skohegan, Maine Owner: Matt DuBois Tell us a little bit about yourself and your small business.  We are a from-scratch baking company in an 1864 bank building. The best part of our retail business is getting to share our family recipes with our community; a community that has welcomed us since 2008.     How has your business been impacted by COVID-19? A large portion of our business ...
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December 22, 2020 | HartBeat of Main Street Grant Program: Spotlighting BuzzBomb Brewing | BuzzBomb Brewing Company's outside space in Springfield's open street initiative. Photo credit: Josh Flanders BuzzBomb Brewing Company : Springfield, Illinois Owner: Josh Flanders Tell us a little bit about yourself and your small business. Partners Josh Flanders, Benjie Gines, and Bill Larson had been avid homebrewers for years when they took their beers to a local festival in 2016. The reception from the public there was so good that with the help of the Small Business Development Center by the end of 2016 financing had been secured, a location ...
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December 22, 2020 | HartBeat of Main Street Grant Program: Spotlighting The Owl Wine Bar & Home Goods |  The exterior of The Owl Wine Bar & Home Goods. Photo credit: Molly Alexander The Owl Wine Bar & Home Goods : Elgin, Texas Owner: Molly Alexander Tell us a little bit about yourself and your small business. I moved to Elgin, TX in 1990 to become Elgin's second Main Street Manager. In 2012 my partner Gary and I had a terrific idea for a retail store, and while we never aspired to be retailers, we realized that if we weren't willing to invest in downtown retail, who would?  I got the idea of our first store after being part ...
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December 22, 2020 | HartBeat of Main Street Grant Program: Spotlighting Griff Goods | The exterior of Griff Goods' bricks and mortar location. Photo credit: Abby Griffin Griff Goods : Opelika, Alabama Owner: Abby Griffin Tell us a little bit about yourself and your small business. I am an Alabama native, and moved to Downtown Opelika right before returning to school at Auburn for fashion design in 2015. I was immediately connected to this place and the people who inhabit it and decided to put roots down. Griff Goods began as a destination for sustainably sourced clothing and goods, focusing on menswear. We retail independent designers ...
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December 22, 2020 | HartBeat of Main Street Grant Program: Spotlighting Mockingbird Bar and Tacos | SoMa Outdoor Dining Room created by Mockingbird Bar and Taco for outdoor dining. Photo credit: Jack Sundell Mockingbird Bar and Tacos : SoMa District , Little Rock, AR Owner: Jack Sundell Tell us a little bit about yourself and your small business. Mockingbird Bar & Tacos is a farm-to-taco restaurant in the SoMa neighborhood of downtown Little Rock.  We'd been open for about a year and a half before the pandemic hit. How has your business been impacted by COVID-19? We normally do about 33% alcohol sales and 90% dine in, ...
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December 23, 2020 | Top Blogs of 2020 | Photo credit: Top Row: Maris Yurdana | Myrna Segura-Beltchenko | Bottom Row: Downtown Laramie | Emporia Main Street As 2020 comes to a close, we're taking a look back at some of our most popular blog posts from the past 12 months. From COVID guidance to inspiring community spotlights, these articles serve as a reminder of all that we have accomplished together as a network despite a very challenging year.   BIPOC Pop-Up Markets on Alberta Street Abby Armato, Communications Coordinator, NMSC Over the summer, Alberta Main Street in Portland, Oregon, launched their BIPOC Pop-Ups on Alberta program. ...
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December 18, 2020 | Survey Confirms Small Businesses Need Congressional Support | Immediately following Thanksgiving and Small Business Saturday shopping promotions, Main Street America conducted a survey of over 1,000 small businesses to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our survey results indicate that, even with enthusiastic community support for shopping local, small business owners continue to suffer financially with the effects of the pandemic.  Our findings indicate that:   More than half of businesses (51%) had laid off or lost employees thus far in the pandemic. 88% of small business owners were concerned about the risk of permanent ...
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December 17, 2020 | Community Spotlight: The Holidays on Main Street | By: Abby Armato, Communications Coordinator, NMSC |  Part of Downtown Fredrick's virtual tour of their festive holiday decorations. Photo credit: Downtown Fredrick Partnership Over the past few months, we’ve been inspired to see the clever and engaging ways Main Streets have kept the holiday spirit alive both in their commercial districts and their communities despite the pandemic. Read on to learn about a few of our favorite COVID-friendly holiday initiatives we’ve seen across the network. Virtual Holiday Markets. Online marketplaces are a great approach for supporting ...
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