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

Public and Private INVESTMENT


Net new businesses


Net New jobs


volunteer hours


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



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Blog Home > Downtown Strong Grant:The Good Along the Way
Downtown Strong Grant:The Good Along the Way

We have calculated the numbers of the Downtown Strong grant, which are impressive. However, the important takeaway in the end is the impact. Good news is we don’t have to wait until the end of the Downtown Strong Grant program to see this impact in small businesses in Missouri communities.


Let’s look at The Rail 1868 Restaurant & Tavern in Lebanon, a new restaurant that received a Downtown Strong grant. They had purchased their historic building in March of 2019 and started remodeling shortly afterwards. They got through most of the challenges of working on an old building and set their opening for March of 2020. But then COVID happened, delaying their progress a year. They opened their doors after that delay and have been going non-stop.


But this delay of their opening by a year facilitated a change in their plan. The leadership team of Chris, Nicole, and Ronda had a combined 50 years of restaurant experience in the industry and developed what they felt was a solid plan.  They needed help making sure their plan was still on track and needed help refocusing on some of their business processes in order to become the best version of their vision. They wanted to set some goals but wanted to be realistic about what they were trying to accomplish. They wanted help to make sure they were marketing themselves appropriately. So, they asked for help through the Downtown Strong Grant with their business processes and marketing.


The process is still on-going, but the initial parts of the process were extremely beneficial. Nicole said, “We have had our first initial meeting with Vicky of Cygnet Strategies and that meeting went great. We gained some wonderful insights into the directions we could go in increasing our revenue centers, expanding our customer base, and even missed opportunities to take advantage of our strengths. We also were able to breathe a sigh of relief when she agreed with our vision and mission for our business as a whole! Just hearing we are on the right path gave us a little pep in our step.” 


Vicky said, “Ronda, Nicole, and Chris are a stellar example of how harnessing the power of family, working to your strengths, and being skilled enough to jump in and help wherever you’re needed drives sustainability when managing a restaurant. They were open to new ideas to deal with their challenges and were eager to start implementing right away.”


Finalizing each service will insure the maximum benefit for sure but let’s not ignore the good along the way!


The service highlighted 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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