Main Street Blog

Main Street Blog

August 7, 2020 | Support Small Businesses by Sharing this Special Offer  Now more than ever, the small businesses that make Main Street thrive need our support. According to Small Business Recovery Research from American Express, 62 percent of U.S. small businesses reported that they need to see customer spending return by the end of 2020 in order to stay in business. 1 Fortunately, there’s also a growing desire to support small businesses. Seventy five percent of consumer respondents said they are currently looking for ways to Shop Small® and support their community. From cozy corner coffee shops to quirky boutiques, we know that small businesses add vibrancy ...
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August 6, 2020 | August is National Black Business Month |  August is National Black Business Month! Please join us in highlighting and sharing stories of Black-owned businesses to build awareness of the impact that Black entrepreneurs have on our local economies. We also want to hear how your Main Street is championing Black-owned businesses and working to advance equitable entrepreneurship. Be sure to tag us by using #NationalBlackBusinessMonth or #WeAreMainStreet.  To get started, please view the social media toolkit we created to help spread the word about National Black Business Month and stay tuned to our communication channels for ideas on how to take ...
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August 6, 2020 | Small Business COVID Resiliency: 12 Ways to Reimagine Your Business Model | By: Matthew Wagner, Ph.D., Vice President of Revitalization Programs |  As we approach the five-month mark of the global pandemic within the U.S., Main Street businesses are still adapting to the ever-changing realities of operating a business during a public health crisis. Adjusting to reopening guidelines that change on a regular basis as conditions unfold, coupled with lingering safety concerns among many consumers and an economy hampered by millions of unemployed, has resulted in a highly volatile and cloudy situation for small businesses to navigate as they try ...
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August 6, 2020 | Flash Webinar! Main Street Advocacy Alert: Webinar Tomorrow |  For the past several months, Main Street America has been engaged in a federal advocacy campaign to support Main Street coordinating programs, local programs, and specific COVID-19 related operational shifts of Main Street businesses. Action on Capitol Hill to create the next COVID-19 response package is moving swiftly. Join us tomorrow for an up-to-the-moment look at this proposal and actions you can take to speak up for Main Street. Main Street Advocacy Alert! Friday, August 7, 12pm ET / 9am PT We're calling on every Main Street staff member, board member, volunteer ...
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August 6, 2020 | Recordings Available for our Online Training Course: Advocacy in Focus |  Whether making a specific policy ask or maintaining sustained support, community revitalization professionals and historic preservationists need to develop and hone advocacy skills. View recordings of this online course offered through the  Main Street America Institute  and presented by the  National Trust for Historic Preservation  for an in-depth overview of five key advocacy areas. This 5-part series features expert speakers and practitioners from across the community revitalization and preservation fields. View recordings in our Advocacy Toolkit or below. ...
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August 5, 2020 | Celebrating National Farmers Market Week 2020 | By: Abby Armato, Communications Coordinator, NMSC |  This week we are celebrating National Farmers Market Week! From stimulating local economies to supporting healthy communities, farmers markets play an essential role in Main Street communities and commercial districts across the nation. Our markets may look different in the times of COVID-19, but farmers markets continue to bring people together—even when they're 6 feet apart. The Impact Farmers markets have a clear positive economic impact on local communities. “For every dollar of sales, direct marketers are generating twice as much ...
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August 4, 2020 | Commercial District Design: Small Businesses |  Main Streets across the country have long been centers of innovation. Since the proliferation of shopping malls and big box stores that started in the 1970s, community leaders, and small business owners have rallied together to attract customers, new local businesses, and shoppers back downtown by leveraging their own unique, place-based assets, and implementing creative approaches to retail and services. The inherent drive toward innovation and adaptation found among many Main Street commercial district leaders and business owners serves communities well—and is important now more than ever ...
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July 28, 2020 | Announcing the HartBeat of Main Street Grant Program |  Updated August 4, 2020: The HartBeat of Main Street Application is now closed. We appreciate your interest in the program, and encourage you to check out additional COVID-recovery resources from  Main Street America  and  The Hartford.   We will open another round of the HartBeat of Main Street grant program soon. For more information, be sure to  sign up for our emails  and follow Main Street America and The Hartford on social media to be in the know about when applications re-open.   First round grant applicants will be notified about the status of their submissions in early ...
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July 23, 2020 | Main Spotlight: The ADA at 30: The Power of Inclusion on Main Street | By: Steve Wright, Disability Rights Advocate |  I adore main streets, historic districts, restaurant rows, quirky corridors and all the unique urban flavor they deliver with mom and pop shops, sidewalk cafes, scratch bakeries, used bookstores, restaurants, beautiful architecture and other unique experiences that are far from cookie cutter any town. When I’m on Main Street, I also demand wheelchair access – on wide, unobstructed sidewalks, along safe crosswalks, through easily-accessible doorways, around the shelves at shops, at tables in different areas of restaurant and ...
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July 22, 2020 | Commercial District Design: Public Amenities |  The quality of infrastructure and amenities is not only important to a district’s basic functioning, but also has a direct impact on whether it is a great place. In recent years, entrepreneurs and employers alike are increasingly prioritizing place in their decisions on where to locate. Though Main Street commercial districts generally offer many of the qualities and amenities that attract small businesses, there are infrastructure elements that can dramatically increase their performance from an economic, health, and community perspective. In this brief, produced in collaboration with  AARP ...
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July 16, 2020 | Announcing the Small Town America Civic Volunteer Award Program |  We are thrilled to be a co-sponsor of the  Small Town America Civic Volunteer Award , a new awards program sponsored by  CivicPlus . Its purpose is to recognize and reward the efforts of civic volunteers in small towns across America; and, to shine a spotlight on the growing need for people to serve as grassroots volunteers to fill a variety of critical local public service roles.   CivicPlus will provide the top 100 national nominees with custom websites and 12 months of complimentary annual services to each of the local governments represented by these honorees. In ...
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July 15, 2020 | Main Spotlight: Parklets + Pedlets | In light of COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, local leaders across the country are increasingly looking to parklet and pedlet programs as an easy, quick, and relatively inexpensive design solution to create more physical space for businesses in commercial districts. Essentially sidewalk extensions, parklets and pedlets repurpose one or more parking spaces or lanes and offer space for myriad uses, including additional seating, greenspace, public art, curbside pickup, or walking space.  In this brief, produced in collaboration with  AARP Livable Communities , we explore the history and benefits of ...
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July 9, 2020 | Main Spotlight: Open Streets + Design | From big cities to rural towns, communities around the world are temporarily opening streets to people by closing them to trucks and cars. These open streets programs and initiatives are meant to encourage walking, biking, and rolling, support age-friendly and intergenerational events, slow automobile traffic to increase personal safety, strengthen commercial districts, and/or create space for activities such as dining, retail, and group exercise. Open streets programs are becoming even more prevalent and popular in recent months during the COVID-19 crisis as local leaders strategize on how to reopen ...
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July 2, 2020 | COVID-19 and the Impact of Retail: Part 2 | By: Matthew Wagner, Ph.D., Vice President of Revitalization Programs, NMSC |  This article is part of the COVID-19 Trends Blog Series. In Part 1 of “COVID-19 and the Impact on Retail,” we examined what are likely to be longer-term impacts on retail bricks-and-mortar shopping. Part 2 presents an agglomeration of many economic and societal trends resulting from COVID-19 and explores how those shifts may translate into new product/service opportunities. Here are ten post-COVID-19 business opportunities broken down into four main sector categories for Main Streets to consider: Health and Fitness ...
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July 2, 2020 | Community Spotlight: A Month-Long Snapshot of Racial Equity Advocacy on Main Streets | By: Abby Armato, Communications Coordinator, NMSC |  A new block-long mural in Gallup MainStreet Arts & Cultural District . Photo Credit: Ramona Emerson  Against a background of COVID-19 and state-by-state reopenings, local leaders have been working hard to address the second pandemic: racial inequity. Here is a snapshot of how Main Street programs have been supporting and amplifying Black voices and standing up against racism over the past month. Advocating for Change. As the State of Mississippi considered removing the Confederate symbol ...
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July 1, 2020 | Speak Up for Main Street: New Opportunities and Support | By: Patrice Frey, President & CEO, NMSC |  Dear Main Street America Network, Since the onset of the pandemic, every Main Street program has found innovative ways to support small businesses while recognizing that funding for our local and coordinating programs is at risk.   Your hard work under pressure has been astounding, but our research has proven the stark need for additional support, with up to 7.5 million small businesses in peril. Further research proves that minority businesses have been hardest hit nationwide, with a 41% drop in the number of Black-owned businesses ...
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June 30, 2020 | COVID-19 Trends and the Impact on Retail | By: Matthew Wagner, Ph.D., Vice President of Revitalization Programs, NMSC |  This article is part of the COVID-19 Trends Blog Series. Throughout history, there have been profound economic, technology, and societal shifts that have greatly influenced the kinds of products and services we consume and how we consume them. Examples include everything from the transition of DVD rentals to streaming services, bank tellers to ATMs, big box and malls to e-commerce and experiential shopping at “mom and pops”. And in many cases, these shifts have also resulted in new business opportunities; one only ...
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June 24, 2020 | UrbanMain Communities Stand Against Racism Mural by Shannon Harris. Photo credit: Mia Watkins. In response to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others, the National Main Street Center’s President and CEO Patrice Frey shared a letter to the Network calling on Main Streets to be, “a force for good in addressing the challenge of racial inequity.” In the weeks that followed, we highlighted the ways in which  Main Street programs across the country did just that, standing up for racial justice and continuing to use their connections and platforms to address racial equity . Keep reading to learn more ...
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June 24, 2020 | COVID-19 Community Response Roundup: Ideas from the UrbanMain Network The SoMA Outdoor Dining Room in Little Rock, Arkansas. Photo courtesy of Downtown Little Rock Partnership. The COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery blog series features ideas and approaches that local Main Street programs are taking in response to the pandemic and during the recovery process. To view the full collection of roundups from downtowns across the country, as well as access our robust collection of related resources, please visit our COVID-19 resource center. Keep reading for responses from across the UrbanMain Network. A Community Dining Room. Downtown ...
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June 24, 2020 | Neighborhood News: Community Wealth Building and Equity |  By: Dionne Baux, Director of Urban Programs, NMSC |  Alberta Main Street in Portland, Oregon. Photo credit: Notice Pictures Greetings Neighborhood News subscribers!  As I write my blog post for this edition of Neighborhoods News , I consider everything going on in our world today – from the unprecedented Novel Coronavirus to a civil uprising— all things I would not have expected to occur in my lifetime. For my fellow comic book fans, I feel like I am in Superman’s Bizarro World. Please do not take my comic book reference to minimalize what we are facing together; I just can’t ...
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