business on main street

Take Advantage of Downtown Business Associations

Are you taking full advantage of what your Downtown Business Associations have to offer?

Norm Pappas, Kristi Trevarrow, Jeff Sloan
Norm Pappas, Kristi Trevarrow, Jeff Sloan

Kristi Trevarrow from the Rochester, MI Downtown Business Association and Darrin Wisniewski from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) share how you can work with your downtown Associations to boost your business.

Look at your downtown. Why did you choose to open your business in this downtown and not another? It’s the feel, the values, the people, the look, the other businesses in town and the design. Those all match what your business represents and that downtown “experience” is compliments of your Downtown Business Association.

Their success is realized through the comprehensive and incremental approach of the Main Street Program. Four elements combine to create this well balanced program:

Design involves creating an environment where people want to shop and spend time. First impressions can have a lasting influence. Rehabilitated buildings, attractive storefronts, enticing window displays, clean streets and sidewalks, and properly designed signage together present an appealing image to potential customers, tenants and investors.

Organization involves building a Main Street framework that is well represented by civic groups, merchants, bankers, citizens, public officials and chambers of commerce. Everyone must work together to renew downtown/urban neighborhoods. Fundraising, volunteer development and public relations are examples of organization activities.

Economic restructuring involves analyzing current market forces to develop long-term solutions. Sharpening the competitiveness of Main Street’s traditional merchants, recruiting new businesses, and creatively converting unused space for new uses are examples of economic restructuring activities.

Promotion creates excitement in the downtown/urban neighborhood district. Street festivals, parades, retail events and image development campaigns are some of the ways Main Street encourages consumer traffic in the downtown. Promotion involves marketing an enticing image to shoppers, investors and visitors.

Even if your business is not sponsoring the event financially, you can still get some free promotion. These events draw loads of new people to your downtown. Your job is to find ways to draw them into your store – be different, be creative. The DBA’s are

literally putting thousands of people in front of your store at no cost to you! Hear how a hand-crafted furniture store had no new business at one year’s event to going to “too much business” by doing one simple adjustment that cost him nothing.

There are DBA’s (or WEDC’s) in almost every city and they are always adapting to today’s events while preparing for the future. Jeff, Norm, Kristi and Darrin recapped the 2015 National Main Street Conference and what new programs they have in place for you today and for the rest of 2015.

Did you know that 68% of every dollar spent at a local main street business goes directly back in to that community compared to only 48% from a big box retailer? Hear more stats, tips and how to Keep It Local by working with your DBA on this edition of StartupNation Radio.

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