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Enhancing the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of historic downtown business districts in Missouri.

Public and Private INVESTMENT

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Designated Missouri Main Street communities report economic impact in their districts each quarter. Cumulative totals for the program.

 

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The Downtown Strong: Building Resilient Economies grant is a grant provided by the U.S. Economic Development Administration through Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) that continues to impact Missouri communities. During the application phase of this grant, the Downtown Excelsior Partnership saw this as their opportunity to apply for assistance, and thought outside the box to consider how they could leverage current activities, additional funds, momentum, and partnerships to get the most out of the Downtown Strong Grant.  As a result, Downtown Excelsior Springs received two unique services that will assist in gaining new businesses, utilizing empty properties, and directing people to all downtown businesses.

 

 


Excelsior Springs is a naturally beautiful city, with reminders of the City’s historic mineral water resources reflected both inside the city and in its surroundings. Because of these influences, the street layout is unique resulting in many businesses being located off the main corridors but within the downtown Excelsior Springs district. Downtown Excelsior Partnership’s first service was to find solutions to showcase the downtown businesses located on these side streets. This is being accomplished through developing a Wayfinding Plan that could outline their signage needs and layout, with a strategic focus on making sure people knew where the businesses are and how to get to them. This was due to their current signage’s limitations and narrower focus which didn’t necessarily direct people to businesses and parking. Through the grant, the Downtown Excelsior Partnership and its volunteers are working with Fora Planning and the City of Excelsior Springs to develop a plan that everyone can utilize, and that the city will help implement.


Downtown Excelsior Partnership has also been able to updated their Market Analysis and built a Real Estate Development Strategy including business recruitment ideas with their second service. These services were completed by Joe Borgstrom of Place + Main. Both of these enhance Downtown Excelsior Partnership’s ability to strategically impact their downtown’s economic base by knowing the needs and having a plan to address them. Then, Downtown Excelsior Partnership took these plans and invested, through additional funding with the City of Excelsior Springs’ grant program, in developing the plans further through Joe Borgstrom to provide in-depth market analysis, detail strategies on improving business and real estate development, and finally, provide strategies to develop and recruit business
specifically for some of their high-profile empty buildings.

 

 


Leveraging their resources and building partnerships allowed the Downtown Excelsior Partnership to multiply their results from this grant! These plans will realize results into the future as they continue to be utilized by every entity involved. Leveraging, diversified budgeting, and utilizing available resources is integral to how local Main Streets continue to have extraordinary and long-lasting impacts in their communities. Without opportunities like the Downtown Strong: Building Resilient Economies grant and many others, that 501(c)3 nonprofit main street organizations can apply for, many communities would not have the capitol or equity to access community-saving services or implement community revitalizing strategies.


The services included in this article were prepared by Missouri Main Street Connection, Inc. using Federal funds under award 05-79-06056 from Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Development Administration or the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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The City of Canton, Missouri and the local Main Street program, Canton Main Street, boldly joined forces to enhance their community economically and socially.  Canton is located in the northeast corner of the state on the Mississippi River with a population of 2,455 and is home to Culver-Stockton College.  It is a rural community with farming as one of the main industries, which serves as a port for grain distribution using the river and railroad. 


The local Main Street program began in late 2013 with a group of downtown stakeholders wanting to improve the trajectory of their downtown.  Like many downtowns, Canton saw years of deferred building maintenance, absentee property owners, and increased storefront vacancies.  Other issues were commercial retail space used for storage or part-time or hobby business owners with very limited store hours.  The goal of the small group was to start a Main Street program and turn that situation around. 


Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC), using the Affiliate Grant Program (now called the Community Empowerment Grant), partnered with city officials and district stakeholder to form a not-for-profit Main Street organization using the 40-plus year template of the National Main Street Center to form a board of directors, utilize Main Street ApproachTM committees, and implement projects and initiatives using economic development-based action plans.  This partnership and implementation of the Main Street Approach™ created Canton Main Street. Canton Main Street utilized additional grants and services from MMSC to gather economic and market demographics, provide board training and support, assist in developing a list of priorities, and strengthen stakeholder relationships.  All of these activities lead to the community wanting more.  The leadership in downtown and throughout the city wanted to use the Main Street ApproachTM to provide a focused direction for the future of the entire community.  That is where the idea of a community-wide master plan was born. 

 

 

 

Through a partnership with the City of Canton, Canton Main Street, community stakeholders, and Missouri Main Street, the process of planning began in February of 2020, right before the COVID-19 pandemic began.  This first meeting set the foundation for the Master Plan by meeting with various stakeholder groups for a larger community input session to gather viewpoints of the current community assets, what the community would like to see in the future, and how the community and downtown can be activated.  The consultants, representing the Main Street comprehensive approach to vibrant community development brought their expertise to the input sessions but also began formulating themes or focus areas.  Main Street calls these focus areas Transformation Strategies which help guide the community development activities from brainstorming to funding to implementation. 

 

 

 

Future visits both virtually and in-person helped to refine these strategies and put more detail to the plan with the outcome being a 96-page document with visuals for potential projects, guidelines of how to implement, and recommendations on potential funding sources.  The report was presented in November of 2021 to a packed house at the new City Hall building.   Wayfinding signs, building renderings, new branding for downtown and the community, and business recruitment tactics were included in the plan and were featured during the presentation. 


Following the adoption of the plan, MMSC checks in with the leadership of Canton on their implementation progress, helps to remove obstacles, or assists with partnerships as the community moves through the timeline of implementation as outlined in the plan.  


 



MMSC provided 60% of the overall costs for the City of Canton Master Plan and the community contributed the remaining 40%.  MMSC provided a team of professionals to lead the community vision and provided the technical resources and trainings throughout the implementation of the plan’s goals and objectives.  If your Main Street community is interested in a community-wide Master Plan, please reach out to 
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Ben White »

Cleaning exterior masonry walls not only improves the overall appearance of your building, but also helps maintain the wall's structural integrity. Embedded dirt keeps in moisture and hosts harmful microorganisms, both of which damage a building's surface over time. However, inappropriate masonry cleaning can also cause irreparable damage to the masonry, so the decision to clean the masonry comes with these considerations: 


1. Mortar | The mortar between masonry units may need to be repointed before any cleaning method is undertaken. Otherwise, water will seep through deteriorated mortar, damaging exterior surface, inner metal support, and wall finishes. Infiltrating water can additionally cause salt deposits on or below a wall's surface upon evaporation, known as subflorescence and efflorescence, respectively.  Water itself can contain minerals which discolor or stain masonry, as can dissolved de-icing salts from adjacent sidewalks. An expert can help you determine if such salt deposits on your building are indicative of a need to repoint.


2. Masonry Type | The term "masonry" encompasses a multitude of building materials (i.e., brick, limestone, granite, cast concrete, glazed terra cotta, etc.), each with their own respective cleaning methods. Knowing the type of masonry is important because certain cleaning agents are incompatible with certain types of masonry. Ideally, multiple methods should be patch-tested to assess compatibility with your building's geological composition.


3. Building condition | Do you know what has changed since your building's construction, or prior treatments? What exactly needs to be removed, and where did it come from? These answers affect the type of cleaning agent is the best fit for your building and preventing future deterioration depends on the nature of the building's damage. Other potential cleaning prerequisites include replacing damaged masonry units, sealing doors and windows, investigating your building's architectural history and assessing environmental conditions.


4. Paint | As a rule, unpainted brick should remain unpainted. Paint is notoriously difficult to remove from bricks to the point where it is generally more practical to leave it on. Reasons for having painted a building range from design choice to protective coating; in some cases, buildings were painted later on to cover repairs and alterations. More information can be found in our one-pager, "Painting Your Building".

 

   


The importance of identifying your building's history, environment, and materials cannot be overstated, along with doing test patches. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that some stains remain impossible to remove, and environmental conditions can impact the effectiveness of many cleaning methods. Resources exist to help you determine appropriate cleaning methods. The Technical Preservation Services (National Park Service) website, local historic commission, independent preservation consultants, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Main Street Center are among many that can provide guidance. 

Ultimately, the goal is to clean as gently as possible, and that means different things for different materials. As a rule, abrasion is an inappropriate cleaning method for historic materials because of the irreparable damage it will cause to the surface of the masonry; sources of abrasion include metal bristle brushes, high pressure washing, and sand blasting (as well as blasting with other mediums, such as pecan shells, dry ice, crushed glass, etc). Seek verification from reputable resources before attempting anything more than a simple low-pressure water cleaning to ensure masonry surfaces remain intact and pollutants stay out of the environment.  

 


How To Clean Masonry Buildings 


1. Make sure all openings are watertight prior to cleaning, caulking around windows and doors. If using chemicals, protect the surrounding flora with a water-resistant material and line up appropriate receptacles to collect chemical runoff, also known as cleaning effluent. Also make sure all automobiles are removed well away from the building to avoid etching their paint finishes since these chemicals can be carried by even a light breeze!


2. Spray building with water using a low-pressure nozzle at least 18 inches from the surface. Pressure should be below 600psi – not much more than a garden hose jet spray nozzle. Research the mineral composition of your city's water supply to understand how it will affect your building, as some minerals have been known to stain.


3. Water is one of the gentlest cleaning agents, often paired with a non-ionic detergent and natural or synthetic bristle brush. This method is often the most economical. For particularly acid-sensitive masonry, steam cleaning is an effective, yet expensive option, but constant misting is a more affordable alternative.


4. Alternatively, use water to soften dirt before applying an appropriate chemical solution, using either a low-pressure sprayer, roller, or paintbrush. 
Leave cleaner on masonry for the time recommended by the manufacturer.


5. Start cleaning at the bottom of the wall and work your way up. Periodically check surface for signs of abrasion - pock marks, rough surface texture, rounded edges, or disintegration.


6. Graffiti removal often requires a cleaning agent separate from traditional paint and tar removal methods. The best product will depend on the type of masonry and graffiti, as well as the surface dimensions. The methods range from paste of inert clays to cellulose products mixed with water or other appropriate solvent. If applying paste, cover with plastic sheet to prevent evaporation.


7. Thoroughly rinse off any chemical treatment with water. Residue left behind can cause efflorescence. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for capturing the run-off to prevent polluting local waterways.


8. Make sure that all cleaning effluent is safely and legally disposed of after rinsing. Masonry walls can take several weeks to dry completely, at which point paint can be applied.

 


Safety First 


While we’ve highlighted the hazards cleaning chemicals pose to the environment, they can also be dangerous to your health. Airborne particles can enter surrounding buildings and cars, affecting nearby individuals and can badly burn the skin or eyes. It may be necessary to clean during non-business hours, nights, or weekends. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be provided and worn at all times, especially when removing graffiti; cleaning agents of this level must be disposed of professionally. Always check manufacturer's guidelines before cleaning. 

 


You can download this article as a PDF by clicking this link: Masonry 101: Historic Building & Cleaning Masonry.


This "Masonry 101: Historic Building & Cleaning Masonry" is brought to you by:

 


     

You can download this article as a PDF by clicking this link: Shading Downtown: Awnings and Canopies

 
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Ben White »

Painting can be one of the most dramatic improvements you make to your building. However, only paint a building that has been previously painted to maintain the historic look of the building. Measures should be taken to remove old paint from brick to restore the original brick, if applicable. In addition, if repointing must be done to prep the façade, before painting, consult with a mason experienced with using the type of mortar for the age of your building. If the building is metal or has metal components, we recommend consulting with a  professional company for cleaning and preparatory work. The following steps will help smooth the way for a successful paint job on your historic building:

 

1. Evaluation. Determine what you need to prepare for painting. Check all the wood. Is it sound or rotting? Does it have insect damage? Repair or replace any damaged areas that you find. If you need to repaint your masonry building, first check the mortar. Make sure the surface is prepped correctly before proceeding, including looking for moisture damage or possible areas where moisture could come in. If the building needs repointing, do that before painting.


2. Timing. Plan a painting schedule. Some times of the year are better than others for painting. Good weather usually ensures a better paint job. Ask your local paint dealer for assistance.


3. Windows. Check the condition of your windows. Glaze and repair windows as necessary. Replace any deteriorated putty with a glazing compound; be sure to put it all around the window. Wait two or three days for the compound to dry before painting.


4. Old Paint. Prepare the surface adequately. Be sure to remove all peeling and loose paint. A variety of tools can be used: a wire brush, a scraper, a blow torch, or an electric heat gun. Use these last two devices carefully; employ only enough heat to soften the paint so that it can be easily removed. Do not blast masonry as this can ruin the old brick; instead, use a chemical application to help remove the old paint.


5. Primer. A primer should be used for all bare wood surfaces as it helps the final coat adhere. Mix a little of the finish coat paint with the primer to achieve a richer color. If working with metal, primers need to be chemically compatible with the type of metal material before painting; be sure to choose a paint that is rust-inhibiting as well.


6. Building Material. Determine the type of paint best suited for your building. Stone, brick, wood, concrete block, and metal all require different paints and primers.


7. Oil vs. Latex. Which kind of paint should you use, oil or latex? That can depend on the material!
We recommend reading more about this from Preservation Brief 11 from the National Park Service. There are advantages and disadvantages to each:


8. Shine. Be aware that there are three degrees of shine for paint: gloss, semi-gloss, and flat/matte.


9. Quality. Remember that quality paint will last longer than a cheap brand. It will not fade or peel as quickly and usually gives better coverage.

 

A Note on Lead Paint

If your building is more than 50 years old, it may contain lead-based paint. If you are removing the existing paint as part of the repainting process, have a sample tested. It is imperative that the testing be done by a reputable company or by a state testing lab. If there is a problem, contact your state environmental department for information on options for removing or encasing the lead-based paint.

 

    


An important reminder: Once you use latex, you must continue to use it. It is difficult to switch back to oil. If you have been using an oil-based paint, it is best to continue with oil.


The color you paint your building, window trim, or door is, to some extent, a personal decision. It is an expression of yourself and your commercial establishment. However, there are other people and things to think about. The following procedures can help you decide what colors to use on your building.

 

 


1. Look Around! Be a good neighbor and look at your building in the context of the entire block or downtown. The color of your building can affect the overall character of Main Street.


2. Investigate. Decide whether you'd like to return your building to its original paint colors. If you are seeking historical accuracy, carefully scrape a small area to reveal different layers of paint. Please note that over time, the original color may have faded. To get a better idea of the true color, wet the original surface. The base color will appear more accurately when moist.


3. Research. Color schemes for commercial buildings differ by region of the country. They also differ according to the period when the building was constructed. Scrape a small area of the building to determine its historic color. Sherwin Williams also has a line of historically-used colors to choose from. Choose a swatch that fits with the era of your building and what it was historically painted.


4. Sunlight. Think about how the sun strikes your building. The amount of sunlight can change the hue of paint color. Hold a paint splotch against your building on cloudy and sunny days. To be certain about your color choice, invest in a quart of paint and apply it. There is a great difference between a small color spot and an entire wall.


5. White Paint. It is important to remember that white paint was not used as widely during the Victorian period as it is today. White is a glaring color that does not blend in readily with most downtown environments. Historic downtown buildings traditionally used dark colors, especially on the window’s trim and architectural features.


6. Trim. Traditionally, building trim was painted as decoration, often in a contrasting shade lighter or darker than the primary building color. This paint treatment defined the trim, but it was not so overpowering that the trim colors dominated the buildings.


7. Aluminum Frames. Today, aluminum frames have frequently replaced traditional wood doors and windows. The shine and metallic color of the aluminum do not complement historic buildings. Paint them a more neutral color or choose darker, anodized frames if the original window has to be replaced or the original window has previously been replaced.


8. Accent. Paint color should be used to tie together all building elements, including the cornice, upper facade, windows, storefront, and doors. Use at most 4 colors to accent the features of your building that bring character.


9. Express Yourself! With these procedures in mind, express the identity of your business through paint color. It adds to the richness and variety of Main Street.

  

 You can download this article as a PDF by clicking this link: Painting 101: Historic Buildings & Paint Color.


This "Painting 101: Historic Buildings & Paint Color" is brought to you by: 

 

    

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Ben White »

Awnings are fabric structures on a metal frame or roller system that are bolted to the front wall. Canopies are usually flat projections that are suspended over the sidewalk entry usually built with beams extending into the interior of the structure, usually at the ceiling joists, to support the canopy and often with chains or rods tied back to the second-floor wall for additional bracing. Canopies would not be a good choice for new storefront improvements if they didn’t exist already as they can cause a major structural stress load on the front wall of the building.

 

An awning or canopy can be both a decorative and functional addition to your storefront. It serves as an energy saver by regulating the amount of sunlight that enters your window. Shaded by an awning or canopy, shoppers are enticed to stop, look, and step inside. Awnings contribute color and variety to the building design and can soften the transition between the lower and upper portions of the façade. Original awnings or canopies found on buildings should be maintained, be structurally sound, and should not be removed from the building. There are a variety of new awnings and canopies that could be appropriate to use, depending on the building’s time period of construction. 

 

Canopies were generally not used on downtown storefronts until about the 1920s or 1930s. If there is currently a canopy, then one may consider taking it off and using a canvas awning, which might be acceptable if it is not the original treatment on the building. However, owners may also focus on repairing or refinishing an existing canopy. Some canopies historically served as the ledge for signage with lettering resting on top of the edge of the canopy or by placing lettering on the edge/face of the canopy. The following points will help determine the best solution when selecting an awning or canopy for your historic building: 


1. Atmosphere: An awning or canopy creates a pleasant space in front of your building. It provides shade, shelter, and a resting place where pedestrians can pause and get out of the flow of traffic.


2. Temperature Control: Awnings and canopies regulate the amount of sunlight that comes in your windows. Buildings facing north probably don’t need an awning or canopy but for a south facing building, awnings and canopies can be excellent climate control devices.


3. Type: Operable or fixed? An operable, roll-out awning shades your window during the hot, sunny days. It also lets sunlight into your building on cold days, allowing the heat into the interior. Granted, operable awnings are more expensive; however, the reduced energy consumption utilizing one could offset the extra cost.


4. Visual Appeal: As a visual element, an awning or canopy can add character and interest to your storefront. Be sure to look at the neighboring buildings and imagine what impact the addition of an awning or canopy will have on the character of the streetscape. Generally, flat awnings are more appropriate to match the style of the building.


5. Materials: Awnings can be constructed from a variety of materials. The choices are endless with canvas, vinyl, metal, and acrylic. A vinyl awning can be very attractive but be sure to consider the look with the rest of your building. Vinyl is also shiny most of the time and tends to be inappropriate for buildings on Main Street.


6. Fastening: Canopies are usually constructed of metal and wood. They should be securely fastened to the façade typically with steel beams and rods or chains angled back to the wall for added support. Be sure to position these rods or chains so that they blend into the design of the upper façade.

 

Before choosing a color for your awning or canopy, look at the entire building. If your building has minimal architectural details, then a bright colored awning or canopy may be appropriate. However, if your building is more decorative, then a subtler colored awning or canopy would be more appropriate.  

     

• Select an awning or canopy color that enhances the existing building features and colors.

 

• The choice of pattern would depend on the character of the façade.


• Awnings and canopies have long been used to display the names of businesses. Keep the message simple and direct. Signs are best located on the sides and flaps of the awnings to be visible to pedestrians and be sure that they are attached at the fascia of the canopies.


• Make sure the material that you choose is guaranteed weather resistant. Most woods and metals used in canopies should be painted to resist weathering. Sun bleaching is another aspect of weathering that needs to be fully considered.


• Awnings or canopies are not appropriate solutions for every storefront design. However, when they are well-designed and properly placed, awnings or canopies can save money, protect window display merchandise, spruce up the storefront, and create a pleasant sidewalk space for shoppers.


• Ensure proper placement for awnings by placing them at the edge of display window and entry openings. They may not need to extend to the outer edge of the façade.


       

 

*Please refer to Preservation Brief 44 for additional information*

  

You can download this article as a PDF by clicking this link: Shading Downtown: Awnings and Canopies


This "Shading Downtown: Awnings and Canopies" is brought to you by:

 

      



 
 
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This year’s Missouri’s Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference is taking place in Kansas City, Missouri! At conference you will find new ideas for making places meaningful and working with your community to become a place that everyone can call home as well as attend amazing events to both inspire you and recognize communities across Missouri for the revitalization they have accomplished.

  

Tour of Downtown Kansas City

Wednesday, August 3, 20221:00 pm to 4:00 pm

This walking tour starts in the Kansas City Marriott Downtown lobby with attendees meeting at 12:45 pm with their tickets. You will explore the great places throughout downtown Kansas City experiencing an uptick in growth.  We will take advantage of the streetcar and then walk a short distance to some of the impressive projects we will see. All of the projects will be examples of adaptive re-use projects that have created both commercial and residential space rejuvenating the area. There are a number of Historic Tax Credit projects that we will see—and we may even get a sweet treat on the way! Be sure to wear comfortable shoes!

Tickets available, until sold out, online ($20) until July 25 and onsite at the conference registration office.

 

 

Guided Scavenger Hunt with Prizes through Downtown Kansas City

Wednesday, August 3, 20221:00 pm to 4:00 pm;

This adventurous tour starts in Kansas City Marriott Downtown lobby with attendees meeting at 12:45 pm with their tickets. You will explore the unique sites and architecture that make downtown Kansas City one of a kind. Using the streetcar, attendees will explore historic and cultural sites while making a game of the tour to see who can find the most sites or architectural features within the time allowed. The group will stop off at several areas along the streetcar route to allow participants to explore and find clues while learning about Kansas City’s history. Prizes will be awarded in several categories and will be announced soon.

Tickets available, until sold out, online ($20) until July 25 and onsite at the conference registration office.

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The Downtown Strong: Building Resilient Economies grant is a grant provided by the U.S. Economic Development Administration through Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) that continues to impact Missouri communities. One of the recipients, Clinton Main Street, recently received their final deliverables. Clinton Main Street was awarded the Downtown Strong grant in 2021, which included two services that their Executive Director and Board of Directors identified as opportunities for the organization to enhance their capacity to serve their district and its business owners.



 

Clinton Main Street was able to turn the challenges of the COVID 19 pandemic into an opportunity to better connect with their businesses one-on-one.  This approach of intentional engagement with business owners in the downtown district during a time of economic uncertainty helped Clinton Main Street better understand their businesses and their needs. In addition, they were able to form a clear picture of the real strengths, opportunities, and areas where their organization needed help.  


The first service they received from the grant assisted them with their need for a robust building and business inventory. These two inventories would allow Clinton Main Street to better identify and document information about the businesses and properties in their district. Using the information gathered for these inventories allows for an accurate understanding of the district and easy accessibility to develop a recruitment plan that would seek businesses that fit their specific gaps. Jim Thompson, Downtown Economic Development Specialist from Iowa, was the consulting expert that worked with them and gave them the tools to do just that. Jim first conducted an on-site walking tour, then gave a presentation to staff, board, and volunteers that provided information and data specific to their community. On top of the presentation, he helped Clinton Main Street understand their market and learn new processes. When he left, they had the information needed to build their recruitment plan, more knowledge about how to use information, where to get information, and how to build and maintain a useful and relevant building and business inventory. Jim said of the district, “Clinton is an interesting example of quality downtown development opportunities.”

 

 

Example (above): The downtown map was originally provided as a proof to Downtown Waterloo by Jim Thompson and Main Street Iowa.

 


The second service that concluded their grant was the development of a Service Business Engagement Plan that would accomplish the goal of reaching the large number of service businesses in their district. Clinton Main Street worked with Dana Thomas, of BOLD Marketing, to develop this Service Business Engagement Plan. After an on-site visit, Dana worked with Clinton Main Street to identify strategies to better communicate the value proposition of Main Street as well as ways to better engage with service businesses specifically. These tactics included opportunities driven both by Main Street and by the businesses themselves. BOLD also identified ways for Main Street to assist the businesses through various trainings and support specific to the service industry, as well as trainings and support for all businesses in the district. In addition, BOLD provided creative graphic email assets to assist Clinton Main Street further in engaging their businesses.

 

 

 

 

Tina Williams, Clinton Main Street Director, says “The Downtown Strong Grant gave our organization the opportunity to assess what we needed and put plans in place to achieve those goals. We recognized we wanted better relationships with our service businesses but had no clue where to start. Working with Dana at BOLD was wonderful because she did background research to identify our needs, and gave us a clear plan to follow with lots of talking points, ideas, and data. Using this we can potentially bridge the gap and turn naysayers into our best defenders and assets! We have gone from clueless to informed, prepared, and ready in such a short time; we could not have achieved that on our own!”

  

 

The services included in this article were prepared by Missouri Main Street Connection, Inc. using Federal funds under award 05-79-06056 from Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Development Administration or the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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The pandemic has been a true test of the resiliency for communities across Missouri. As we continue to navigate a world still battling various strains of the Coronavirus, many communities across Missouri have started to make a comeback. They have adapted their business model, implemented health and safety protocols in their business, and have received aid from private and public sources to get the help they need to take their business to the next level meeting the needs of today’s consumers.  This is true for Earl “Chip” Smith Jr. who is a recipient of the Downtown Strong Grant that Missouri Main Street Connection provided in partnership with the Economic Development Administration in 2021.

 

In early 2019, prior to the start of the pandemic, Chip quit his job to start his own business, Cross Grand, in a building in the Dutchtown neighborhood of St. Louis. He anticipated a robust business of interior photography and video shoots of weddings, sports, and special events using his honed skills of narrative building, photography, videography, and other mediums to tell people’s stories well! His plan was to use his indoor space at 3304 Meramec as a multi-purpose space to facilitate shoots and consultations. These dreams were soon halted as the pandemic took over and most in person events were postponed or cancelled. Yet Chip didn’t let the pandemic squash his dreams and successfully pivoted to virtual videography as a new revenue stream.  


 

As the pandemic continued through 2020 and into 2021, Chip knew that his pivot to include virtual videography would not be enough to continue to sustain him for much longer and he needed to set himself up to take advantage of the market as soon as things started opening up again. That is when he took advantage of Missouri Main Street’s new Downtown Strong grant that opened in 2021 to Missouri Main Street programs, of which Downtown Dutchtown was a part of the new St. Louis Main Streets pilot program. Chip saw this grant opportunity that would provide direct business consultations to support downtown businesses through a variety of services.  He applied and was awarded the grant. Chip was paired with BOLD Marketing to rework his website in order to take his creative agency to the next level and increase his sales.  He also needed help to rethink creative ways he could increase his return on investment and better utilize his space.


BOLD Marketing has worked with Chip to revamp his website and rethink what he was doing and how he was doing it. Setting him up for success by teaching him how to market himself and his new refreshed website. They had quickly figured out Chip needed to up his game – Chip said “They helped my business by simply giving me confidence in showing off my website. In the world we are living in now it's all about image and I think my new website represents what Cross Grand is – Quality!”  As part of the grant, Chip received training on managing his website and utilizing marketing tactics to grow his business.

 


This article was prepared by Missouri Main Street Connection, Inc. using Federal funds under award 05-79-06056 from Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Development Administration or the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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Communities of every size have buildings they consider ‘white elephants’ that are hard to tackle. For Cape Girardeau, it was the old Marquette and H&H buildings. until a locally-led effort brought Old Town Cape, the City of Cape Girardeau, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and developer such as Codefi and other local developers together. This partnership led to the rehabilitation that won the “Best Large-Scale Project” in 2019. Since the completion of this large-scale project, the tide of economic success has swept across the downtown district and raised the boats of many small businesses as well as given others reason to set their own boats asail on the adventure of starting their own business or renovating their own property.


The accomplishments that the project has achieved in the community are outstanding both on an economic and preservation standpoint. Coordinator of the Historic Preservation Program at Southeast Missouri State University, Dr. Steven Hoffman, made this remark about the project’s historical integrity:

               “Both properties have outstanding architectural features from the early 20th century that were neglected due to the time, money, and work it takes to own a building. Thankfully by using historic tax credits and following the Secretary of Interior’s Standards, the project was able to be publicly and privately funded to restore this amazing building that has an incredible amount of detail that cannot be matched by modern construction.  For instance, the tile and furnishings call back to its previous life while the cornice that had been previously removed was rebuilt.”

 

Public and private funding is an important aspect of Main Street because when used together they can get projects moving in the right direction by using tools like the historic tax credit and Tax Increment Financing (TIF). The impact that rehabilitating an old building is huge because of the revenue generated from businesses utilizing it for commerce as well as increasing property value—far exceeding the revenue beforehand. Former Cape Girardeau Mayor, Bob Fox, made this remark about the project’s economic impact:

“The Marquette and H&H building rehabilitation was a game changer for Cape Girardeau. It took the Marquette, which was a difficult building to rehabilitate due to it being all concrete, and the H&H and turned them into a space that now welcomes visitors from all over to downtown. The hotel houses many businesses and organizations in amazing offices spaces equipped with conference rooms for collaboration.”


 

The block that these properties sit on is now alive thanks to the development that used these two fantastic, historic buildings and breathed new life into them with help from the local community. That is one of the many distinctions of Main Street, that it is not just developers making money by putting a building back in service, but that the community has an integral part as a partner to inject new life into and invest in downtown. 

 

Main Street also has a comprehensive mindset that guided the connector of this development, Old Town Cape, to identify 3 components for this property, which were space, technology, and talent. Executive Director of Old Town Cape Liz Haynes remarked:

“The available building [that is the Marquette building] would house a commercial space to be a hub for the Marquette tech district. After renovating the over 1,450 sq. ft. Marquette building, installing state of the art fiberoptic and Wi-Fi for the downtown Cape Girardeau area, and partnering with Codefi to provide training for tech focused careers, we could start to see the impact right away. Everyone started to look at downtown as a viable location to start their business because of access to high speed Wi-Fi for businesses which came as an amenity provided by this development. Like the saying goes everyone wants to be a part of a winning community.”


Old Town Cape has reported 4+ new business opening downtown especially in the blocks surrounding the development with more still to come. While many times Main Street is about a bunch of small efforts building into big change, Old Town Cape shows us that in some special cases, with just the right property and partners, a big project can be a catalyst for a bunch of smaller projects to build on the success of Main Street. This is a perfect example of how the heart of Main Street, historic preservation, can save and rehab a vacant property that impacts local job markets and supports small businesses. 

 

If you haven't already watched the 1 Billion highlight, check out that video through this link: https://youtu.be/Oh1FqLI4xts

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A good idea doesn’t always translate into a successful business.  There are steps and details along the way that are necessary but often overlooked. The Hive by Honey Creek was one of those “good ideas.”  The entrepreneurial minds of a sister duo in Lebanon, Missouri had already successfully created Honey Creek Media when they had the idea for “The Hive.”  In their words, “a space for makers to make, minds to grow, ideas to form, and networking to thrive.”  A traditional hive is full of worker bees and that’s what these sisters wanted to foster. The Hive by Honey Creek was to be centered around co-working and rental event space. They had purchased a historic building in downtown Lebanon that was being renovated…but they needed help with the details.


They saw the Downtown Strong grant as an opportunity to move their idea forward. They applied and asked for someone to help in evaluating their idea and developing a business plan. BOLD Marketing assisted in the development of their process, amenities, pricing comparisons, the structure of their leases and rental agreements, and even a liquor license for events. In addition, BOLD helped them develop a “community norms” document or expected behavior for their tenants. To wrap it up, BOLD had it all evaluated by an attorney.

  



It is the details that can make or break a business. The Lebanon sister duo was delighted and grateful they used the Downtown Strong grant to help with their business details. In their words, “As entrepreneurs in a rural community, we are passionate about opening our doors and creating a home, a place for people to gather, a space to cultivate ideas and secure dreams, a site to celebrate, a destination.”   Now they have the plan and tools to do it.

Comments 0 Rating: Rated 5 star by 1 people.
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