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.
The startup of a downtown organization takes hard work that often initially goes unseen by the community. The Pleasant Hill Historic District (PHHD) was no different. Their volunteer board of directors spent 2019 working to organize the nonprofit organization, setting up the 501(c)(3) status, adopting bylaws, and preparing materials for fundraising. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit just as they were gearing up for their first public partnership drive resulting in a loss of momentum for the organization.
Realizing that effective communication with their community was now more important than ever, they looked to the Downtown Strong Grant to solidify and enhance their communication efforts. Under the grant, consultant firm Mysamaris helped the volunteers develop a communication plan and build a website to gain support and build confidence as they began to make their plans public and share future goals.
The PHHD board saw that even though the organization’s momentum might have slipped, the COVID-19 Pandemic brought a renewed interest in small businesses. PHHD’s board wanted to build on this interest to both rebuild their momentum and to continue to build more interest in the local downtown business community. They worked with Mysamaris to develop a welcoming and engaging website that created interest in the district.
Mysamaris helped them develop a website that is easy to manage, which also provides a strong business directory, up to date event information, and maps of surrounding bike trails to help draw a broader customer. These features promote the district bringing feet to the streets and into stores and is a tangible sign of the investment PHHD was making in support of the downtown business community.
But the website wasn’t enough. The Board needed a plan to better communicate on all levels. If the organization was going to regain momentum and move forward, it had to not only sell the downtown, but it also had to find solutions that allowed for better communication. Mysamaris helped the Board set up organizational emails to support incoming communications. They went on to help the organization set up and utilize Constant Contact and aided in developing a strategy for how to use it. In addition, they provided documented training that could be used to train future volunteers and staff.
The behind the scenes work with Mysamaris provided PHHD the tools necessary to regain momentum, to more effectively communicate both internally and externally, and to better promote the district as a destination.
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.