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Designated Missouri Main Street communities report economic impact in their districts each quarter.
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Missouri Main Street Blog Section

Blog Home > Author > Janie Dennison
Janie Dennison

Missouri Main Street Connection welcomed in Seanette Corkill and Anne Marie Luthro, the creative minds behind creating attractive stores and storefronts through their consulting company called Frontdoor Back.  Seanette, the founder of the company, explains that the name, Frontdoor Back, refers to the “holistic” approach she takes when working with small business owners.  Her perspective and the customers takes into account everything from the front door back.  

The Frontdoor Back duo came to Missouri Main Street’s attention at the Seattle National Main Street Conference in 2019.  One of the sessions presented at the conference was entirely on the subject of lighting, a more complex topic that most would realize.  Did you know there are six layers to lighting in a storefront?  Not all lightbulbs are created equal. The second session presented by the ladies really caught our attention.  It was entitled, “The How Behind the Wow: Creating Stellar Stores.”  Missouri Main Street felt this session and theme would be of great benefit to Missouri Main Street businesses and districts.  


Fast friends were made between the Frontdoor Back owners and Missouri Main Street staff this spring and summer as services and presentations were discussed via ZOOM, a new reality in a COVID-19 environment. The “How Behind the Wow” subject matter was the structure and theme that would be utilized for a fall visit to Missouri.  Plans were hatched and arrangements made, all with safety protocols and social distancing in mind.  

Five communities were chosen based upon previous work with Missouri Main Street along with two businesses per community for one-on-one consultations. Two of the “How Behind the Wow” presentations were given to accommodate the business owners in the communities chosen, but also a requirement for those business owners receiving the one-on-one consultations.  A foundation was needed for those consultations.  

The presentations set the stage for small business owners on a variety of topics from storefront window displays, signage, and lighting to the in-store experience of creating WOW moments.  They also discussed the behavior of customers and how to utilize that information to increase sales by attracting attention to products and services through the creation of “Magic Moments.” Those are the WOW moments that customers remember because it was unexpected. They then tell others because it has exceeded their expectations.  

The real magic happened in the one-on-one consultations with the business owners in the five Main Street communities.  Seanette and Anne Marie have this knack for connecting with people.  One hour of time was allocated for each visit, but the conversations were still going strong past that hour mark.  The businesses were at various stages in their lifecycle from a thought about what to do in a newly acquired vacant building to how do I take my business to the next level.  Many conversations included ideas and thoughts by the business owner on changes they wanted to make, but were unsure of the return or impact.  They explained the merits of the idea along with the science or psychology behind their thoughts.  

Seanette and Anne Marie are creating a checklist type report for each of the business owner to address the areas of opportunity along with recommendations based upon their product or service.  Concerns will be noted along with solutions and recommendations on products, colors, or items to enhance the space which in turn will enhance the customer experience.  We plan to do a follow-up article to this one and share the results of the report and actions taken by the various business owners.  

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Clinton Main Street's plan of action for their space is a huge step forward to making the space more useable than it is already due to the Community Resiliency Grant by MMSC and AARP Missouri. While already a great space in downtown, this multi-phased plan will help to enable much needed greenery and vibrancy to this gathering place in downtown Clinton and become a true showpiece in the downtown district.



Stay tuned for more updates of the five communities selected for this grant!

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Winter is coming and with that can come all sorts of cold and water related issues. This is a crucial time for your building and if potential problems are not dealt with now, the repairs will just become more expensive down the road. Make sure the building is prepped correctly so these next few months don’t cause a headache down the road in the spring and summer time. 

-Check weather stripping around windows and doors. Install to prevent air filtration (1 hour, depending on type)

-If applicable, install interior storm windows for winter (2 hours)
Caulk any gaps in wood for a temporary water tight seal (30 min)

-Inspect basement crawl spaces for excessive water during wet weather (30 min)

-Sweep debris from flat or low sloping roofs (30 min)
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Things have been going AMAZINGLY in Marceline and Willow Springs with their Storefront Activation projects. Each community has their initial grant investment and created additional investment into their downtown. 

Willow Springs had an incredibly attractive window display that quickly turned heads and garnered a sale on the property within 2 months. Here is a testimonial from the project building owner: “I was surprised at how quickly the grant helped move my building. It had been vacant for more than six months when the group put their first set of displays in the window. The displays went into the windows sometime around the beginning of July. The scenes they created to depict an upscale women’s boutique were creative, including backdrops, mannequins clothed in fashionable outfits, and various accessories in the window shelves. Two months later, we’ve closed on the sale. I couldn’t be more impressed.” The building will house an upscale leather store; their data shows that the community is lacking in outdoor-related businesses and this type of business will help immensely in helping to fill that gap. The Willow Springs group has now moved their project to another building and hope for continued success with this building as well. 

In Marceline, the Zurcher building is undergoing major renovations right now! The window displays have helped to activate partners with downtown Marceline to renovate the building with an $180,000 investment. They are also still raising money for the continued revitalization efforts of the building. When completed, their plans are to continue to sell the space as an incubator for small businesses. 

We are incredibly excited to see two success stories from two dedicated communities and we can’t wait for more to come!

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Is your community a designated Certified Local Government? Certified Local Governments are an invaluable tool in the tool belt of local governments. They bring both financial and technical historic preservation resources to the community in the form of a 60/40 matching grant and show a strong preservation ethic by the community.

These 60/40 grants can provide funding for many different projects, including: 
Architectural, historical, archeological surveys, and oral histories that help identify significant and ordinary properties;
Preparation of nominations to the National Register of Historic Places;
Preparation of preservation plans;
Public information and education activities;
Development and publication of design guidelines;
Development and publication of walking/driving tours;
Development of architectural drawings and specifications;
Preparation of streetscape, facade studies, or condition assessments; and
In some years, rehabilitation or restoration of properties individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places or contributing to a National Register historic district.

Money is specifically designated each year to Certified Local Governments for these types of projects; communities must first pass a Historic Preservation Ordinance in order to become a Certified Local Government.
For more information what this looks like, visit the State Historic Preservation Office’s website at https://dnr.mo.gov/shpo/certifie.htm. You can also reach out to MMSC Program Outreach Specialist, Ben White, to help get started. 

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Missouri Main Street Connection Inc. (MMSC) in partnership with AARP Missouri, is excited to award this grant opportunity to five Missouri communities. AARP Missouri is investing in projects that inspire change and improve communities for all ages. The five selected communities will receive $5,000 each to implement their proposed Community Resiliency Project as well as the opportunity to receive design assistance to make their resiliency project a reality. It is important for small businesses to activate spaces in new ways to meet the changing business climate as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The awarded projects will be accessible for all ages to ensure the entire community can utilize them as well as provide new spaces for small businesses to use. This grant is specifically designed to be implemented for the betterment of a downtown area by including community input and implementation while celebrating and encouraging inclusivity.

The five communities selected for this grant are Clinton, Dutchtown (St. Louis), Independence, Jackson, and Lee’s Summit.

Clinton Main Street proposes for improvements to their current JC Smith Park to make it more useful to the community and local businesses. The goal of this project is to improve the park’s function and accessibility while ensuring it meets new social distancing standards and be more appealing for citizens and visitors.

Downtown Dutchtown (St. Louis) aims to transform their NIC (Neighborhood Innovation Center) Parking Lot into a multi-functional outdoor event space. It's underutilized and can be transitioned into a flexible, but multi-purposed outdoor space for downtown businesses, non-profit organizations, and families.

Independence Square Association plans to create Liberty Lounge. It will be a place that provides adequate physical distancing while being an outdoor venue to gather. Plans call for painted activity zones for different ages and repurposing a vacant lot into a programmable zone that will function for years to come. The area will tie in local eateries, pop-up shops, music, and games.

Uptown Jackson Revitalization Organization intends to modify a trailer to create a mobile “ped-let” or event space and pop-up market. The mobile trailer will accommodate seating and flexible arrangements with bar top tables and an umbrella covering that can become a pop-up market or include a combination of all uses.

Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street envisions an alley activation project that will create a safer space for the public to gather for both small events and informal interactions. The goal of the alley activation project is to take the next step in creating a more pedestrian friendly environment that can serve as flexible pop-up event space for special events, activities, and informal interactions.

State Director, Gayla Roten stated, “We are so thrilled to be partnering with AARP Missouri to bring this grant opportunity to our Missouri communities. We are excited to see these projects become realities and make such a positive impact in the communities after a difficult year. It’s important to showcase how resilient downtown can be now more than ever.”

These projects will provide other communities with concrete examples of how they can utilize Main Street principles to create resiliency in their communities. Work on these projects are set to begin in September and be completed by November. The projects proposed by these five communities emphasized creative, physical solutions to the evolving business climate of downtowns.

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Adding some new paint to a downtown building is one of the easiest and visually appealing things that a building owner can do to enhance the appearance and perception of their building. However, if not done correctly, it can actually harm the building and cause issues down the road. Here are some things to consider when painting a downtown building:

1. Make sure surfaces are prepped correctly before painting. Replace rotten wood and repoint brick if necessary. Remove all peeling and loose paint with a scraper, wire brush, or carefully apply heat to the area.

2. Prime the area, especially on wood surfaces.

3. Talk with the local hardware store on the appropriate paint for the project and that it will provide the desired effect and color. Oil-based paints are generally more durable but harder to apply; latex-based paints are easier to apply but don’t last as long. Use quality paint so that it will last longer and not peel. 

4. Use two or three complementary colors to accent the architectural features on the building. Choose colors that express your likes and/or the business color scheme, but that also complements the historic fabric of your downtown and the other buildings in it. 

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Mornings on Main with Seanette Corkill and Anne Marie Luthro
Wednesday, September 16 at 8:30AM

To say that COVID-19 has changed things is quite the understatement! In this 60-minute, “Getting Back in the Game” presentation, retail specialists, Seanette Corkill and Anne Marie Luthro, will explore where shoppers are now both emotionally and physically and what retailers can do to accommodate them and still deliver a great store experience during this pandemic. This presentation and conversation will cover shopper expectations and behaviors, best practices for storefronts, what a new level of customer service means, floor plans and visual merchandising tactics that accommodate social distancing, and no-touch shopping.

Seanette Corkill is the owner of Frontdoor Back, a store design and visual merchandising firm. Seanette’s focus is helping independent businesses stay competitive. She is an experienced and objective retail environment expert. Seanette is also a frequent National and regional Main Street speaker and presents on topics such as store design, building facades, window displays, lighting terminology and techniques, and visual merchandising to retail groups and business districts across the country. Seanette provides custom training and design solutions for store owners. She is effective at applying retail space planning and design principals to improve a store’s “retail sophistication“ and stimulate sales. Her forte is identifying small changes that create big impacts.


Anne Marie Luthro, principal of AML Insights, is a shopper behavior and retail strategy expert trained at focusing a critical eye and a keen ear on all things retail. Anne Marie researches the MAZE– any retail environment, the MOUSE– key shoppers, and the CHEESE– the stores’ products and services. Finding the right balance of power, the pain points, and the moments of joy in stores are keys in creating profitable retail experiences. She spent twenty years studying Fortune 500 retailers and their shoppers’ behaviors. AML combines databased research and historical perspective when consulting for retailers.


Register here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3373867231777344784

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Missouri Main Street Downtown Revitalization Awards – 2020

Missouri Main Street Connection Inc. (MMSC) presented downtown revitalization awards on July 30, 2020, recognizing revitalization excellence during the annual Evening of Excellence Virtual Ceremony on Facebook Live.

MMSC is a statewide non-profit organization designed to help Missouri communities preserve their historic commercial districts through economic revitalization. MMSC currently provides services and trainings to over 160 communities across the state. MMSC has empowered downtown revitalization in Missouri communities since 2006, resulting in $964 million of private and public investments, the creation of 829 net new businesses, and the development of 4,097 net new jobs in Main Street communities.

The virtual ceremony Thursday night honored communities, individuals, businesses, and organizations from across the state that have completed exemplary revitalization work. Competitive nominations were submitted for projects, activities, and individuals in 15 different categories that covered aspects of design, economic vitality, organization, promotion, and other efforts in downtown revitalization. We are proud to announce the following winners. 

The Outstanding Community Education Campaign award presented to Blue Springs for The Story of Blue Springs Missouri.

The Daughters of the American Revolution Blue Springs Chapter, with the cooperation of several civic groups including Blue Springs Downtown Alive!, researched and wrote a book, The Story of Blue Springs Missouri over a two-year period and published it in 2019. It is a children’s story book about area history written in a poetic format with illustrations. 

The Story of Blue Springs Missouri starts with early settlement period and concludes with the present day. One distinguishing aspect of this project that sets it apart from other histories is that many members of the committee and community provided the stories. The Story of Blue Springs Missouri references downtown Blue Springs many times throughout the book. Like many American downtowns, it is located near the railroad and water source where commerce and history began and expanded throughout the area’s history. Copies have been distributed to all current fourth grade students and are available at public libraries and for purchase. 

This project exemplifies what all of the organizations included believe Blue Springs stands for: pride in their community, including multiple viewpoints, and working together to achieve common goals. These are important characteristics of all Main Street work. 

For more information on this award contact Blue Springs Down Alive! Executive Director Pam Buck at 816-645-0287 or downtownbluesprings@gmail.com.


Washington’s Community & Economic Development Director, Sal Maniaci honored as Outstanding Public Official.

Sal Maniaci exemplifies the connection between the Main Street movement and local government. As a downtown Washington home-owner and the Community and Economic Development Director of the City Washington, Sal is on the front lines when it comes to the City of Washington and the development of the downtown area. 

During his years of service in Washington, Sal has helped create a new TIF district to create 30 new downtown housing units, worked on a grant to receive the Busch Creek Greenway funding, is currently working to develop a new industrial park, and has facilitated incentive packages with industries to create jobs. Sal’s current responsibilities include working with the Planning and Zoning Board, Board of Zoning Adjustment, and the Washington Historic Preservation Commission. 

Sal has served as a board member for Downtown Washington, Inc., acting as the liaison between Downtown Washington, Inc. and the City of Washington, and also sits on the design and economic vitality committees. He has been a major champion of the Main Street approach, historic preservation, and small businesses.

For more information on this award contact Downtown Washington Inc’s Executive Director Tyler King at 636-239-1743 or tyler@downtownwashmo.org. 


University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg is presented with the Premier Partner award.

In 2019, University of Central Missouri Alumni Foundation staff reached out to Warrensburg Main Street to strategize ways to strengthen their long standing partnership. From that meeting a new and invigorated relationship between Warrensburg Main Street and the University of Central Missouri (UCM) was born. By strengthening their partnership, Warrensburg Main Street has been able to receive funding, volunteers, events and the ability to highlight their downtown businesses and business owners.

Warrensburg Main Street has provided two downtown business owners as guest speakers at their UCM Big Idea Speaker Series. The partnership also led to a group of Event Management students developing a photo contest to be held at the first Art Walk in 2020.

The University of Central Missouri created an Integrated Business Experience (IBE) project. Students would be placed into a team and create a business selling a product of their choice. They then paired with a non-profit organization and profits were then donated to that non-profit. They began a business, EZ Straws, selling reusable straws around campus and partnered with a downtown coffee shop to sell product in store. The students presented Warrensburg Main Street with a check over $4,000 from their small business efforts. 

Warrensburg Main Street plans to add a UCM student to their board and hired a student intern for the Farmers Market this summer. Future projects include an advertising class working on comprehensive marketing products for the Farmers Market, a website building class to revise the Burg Fest festival website, and a history class to archive and compile the organization’s history. Warrensburg Main Street is excited to continue to strengthen the partnership with the University of Central Missouri in the many years to come.

For more information on this award contact Warrensburg Main Street Executive Director Jill Purvis at 660-429-3988 or director@warrensburgmainstreet.org. 


Nick Parker of Lee’s Summit awarded the Volunteer of the Year award.

Nick Parker is a valuable and trusted volunteer for Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street. Nick joined the Downtown Days Committee in 2012. Willing to help plan another DLSMS event, Nick joined the Emerald Isle Parade Committee and has served as the committee chair for 2019 and 2020. His talents for steady communication in a crisis shined this year. Nick was incredibly helpful as the decision was made to cancel the parade due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He provided calm reassurance and showed the utmost care for public safety as the public was notified on the parade cancellation. Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street could not have provided such swift and consistent communication without his support. 

In 2018, Nick joined the DLSMS board. Nick is also a member of the Lee’s Summit Arts Council board. Nick became the Economic Enhancement Committee Chair in 2019. Additionally, Nick has led the Block Captains Initiative and recruited additional board members and volunteers to assist with the initiative. He also took a leadership role in planning the Haunted and Historic Spaces tour. This tour has raised around $6,000 for the organization in the past, but this year changes will allow the organization to raise an additional $10,000.

“Link 2 Lee’s Summit” is Nick’s business, a local news source. He puts out a weekly podcast showcasing what’s happening in the city. In 2018, Nick and his wife Stephanie moved their family to downtown. Nick not only champions downtown businesses, his family is often found eating and shopping in downtown. If looking for Nick and Stephanie on Friday night, you can almost always find them in a downtown establishment. His dedication to Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street and support of downtown businesses showcase why he was chosen as the Volunteer of the Year. 

For more information on this award contact Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street’s Executive Director Donnie Rodgers at 816-246-6598 or donnie@downtownls.org.  


Old Town Cape in Cape Girardeau receives the Creative New Event Award, Accredited/Associate Tier, for the Monster Mash Car Bash.

The Monster Mash Car Bash was developed because of the lack of a Halloween events for families in downtown Cape Girardeau. This event is a unique spin on the traditional trunk-or-treat event. Monster Mash Car Bash took place on a Sunday afternoon, and the trunk-or-treat line up was filled with classic cars from local car enthusiasts, attracting families, couples, and individuals alike. There was something for everyone with the addition of the classic cars. 


The event started with a modest budget, overall event plans, and enlisted help from a few volunteers while relying on their relationship with the local car club to draw in automobile participants. On the day of the Monster Mash Car Bash event, over 1,000 people got in line for the new trunk-or-treat, classic car mash-up event. Lasting only two hours, the trunk-or-treat line never slowed down, the side activities and games that were being overseen by staff also stayed steady for the duration of the event. 


Monster Mash Car Bash was considered by staff, event volunteers, and the Old Town Cape Board of Directors to be an organizational success in its first year. The event accomplished many goals that were set by staff, including attracting new and returning foot traffic to the downtown area, growing the awareness of Old Town Cape, Inc., and offering a family-friendly, Halloween-inspired event in the downtown area.


For more information on this award contact Old Town Cape’s Executive Director Liz Haynes at 573-334-8085 or lizhaynes@oldtowncape.org. 


Clinton Main Street recieves the Creative New Event Award, Affiliate Tier, for the Clinton Quilt Walk.

The 2019 Clinton Quilt Walk had a very successful first year and brought local business owners together, some who had never met before, and approximately 500 attendees to participate in the event and shop downtown. 


Retail businesses as well as the local library, museum, restaurants, and a realty office within the downtown district welcomed the idea of showcasing quilts in their storefronts and offering a free pattern for a quilt block. The goal was to encourage people to register for a quilt to be given away and visit each downtown location to receive a free copy of a quilt block pattern. Other activities for shoppers were a keynote speaker, a special display of quilts on the downtown courthouse lawn, and a "bed turning" on the courthouse parking lot. The local quilt guild organized and narrated two scheduled "bed turnings" of vintage and antique quilts from the area. The Optimist Club provided volunteers, a local bank furnished a utility terrain vehicle to assist walkers when needed, and the Henry County Museum offered space for a speaker. 


Shops reported strong sales for the day and at least one restaurant ran out of food and borrowed from another! The participating businesses met on the following week to evaluate the event. Plans for 2020 were interrupted by COVID-19, but continue to evolve to make the Quilt Walk in October 2020 a bigger, better event. This event was successful in targeting a population that sees Clinton's historic downtown as a destination stop for day trips.


For more information on this award contact Clinton Main Street’s Executive Director Tina Williams at 660-351-3384 or mainstreet@clintonmo.com. 


Vickie A. Jack CPA’s, P.C. aka Buttress & Jack CPA’s, P.C. of Blue Springs receives award for Business of the Year.

Vickie and John Jack had always had an interest in small towns, especially those rich in historical significance. They were pleased when the opportunity came along to purchase the oldest and most dilapidated building in downtown Blue Springs. Originally “Citizens Bank,” this tall, old red-brick building on the corner of 12th & Main was built in 1905. In 1985, over a span of 9 months of intense labor and perseverance, the tall, old red-brick bank building was restored by the Jacks to its original glory. 


Vickie Jack is Charter Board Member of Downtown Alive! She has served in the position of as Treasurer since its inception in 2011. In addition to securing the 501c3 tax status for Downtown Alive, she is known for helping other non-profits in the community to obtain the same status. When Downtown Alive! became stable enough to hire an 5 Executive Director, the Jacks donated office space for Downtown Alive! The Jacks support all Downtown Alive! events and fundraisers, giving generously and inviting friends. 


The Jacks support all Downtown Alive! Events and fundraisers, giving generously and inviting friends. They have always been major sponsors of the annual Piccadilly Gala, supported Corks & Canvas Art and Wine Walk, and John Jack often displays his own artwork at the event. Vickie can be found serving guests at the annual Chili Lunch Fundraiser and has been a group host at the Halloween Pub Crawls. They support and donate to the special projects such as the Remnants Restored Public Art Project and Gateway Monument. There is no one more deserving of this award for all they have given to and done for Blue Springs Downtown Alive!


For more information on this award contact Blue Springs Downtown Alive! Executive Director Pam Buck at 816- 645-0287 or downtownbluesprings@gmail.com.


Outstanding Economic Impact Project awarded to Main Street Trenton for the Main Street Mercantile.

Main Street Trenton purchased a downtown building at 905 Main Street in the summer of 2018 in order to preserve it and recruit a new business to downtown. This two-story building sits in the heart of the downtown district and is full of character, charm, and historic features. Among the top preservation priorities were saving the mezzanine, restoring the original hardwood floors, and saving the original ceiling tiles. In addition, new windows were installed, storage rooms and an ADA bathroom were created, and new electrical, HVAC system, and plumbing were completed.


Main Street Trenton received several interested business prospects; however, none of them wanted to fully commit to purchasing or leasing the building. Main Street Trenton decided to use the space as a home to a variety of local small business owners to help them grow their businesses. A few months later, Main Street Mercantile was launched.


The goal of the Main Street Mercantile was to provide businesses with the tools and resources for success while creating a place for the community to shop and enjoy. The Mercantile opened in early October of 2019, as the home to nine small businesses with a variety of products. Additionally, the mercantile created 3 part-time jobs. 


After six successful months, two of the business owners decided to join together to co-own the Main Street Mercantile. They kept the same business concept and all of the current small businesses, while adding three additional businesses to the store. The Main Street Mercantile continues to have a positive impact on downtown Trenton and the entire community through the revitalization of a historic building, job creation, and economic growth.


For more information on this award contact Main Street Trenton’s Executive Director Megan Taul at 660-654-3716 or director.mstrenton@gmail.com. 


Most Innovative Project for Repurposing Vacant Space awarded to Three on the Square in Albany.

In June 2019, a group of dedicated folks who makeup 3 on the Square, LLC. purchased two vacant buildings on the town square. The purchase was not planned, and in fact happened at an auction nearly by accident. The group purchased the properties in order to keep them as commercial spaces instead of being into residential. 


The hope was to rehabilitate two beautiful old buildings, to restore activity on the square, boost the downtown economy, and help to revitalize the business district. There was much support of this project by family and friends, and the community was grateful for the effort. The new owners wanted the exterior to be a centerpiece for the north side of Albany’s square. The aluminum siding, a 40-foot long aluminum awning, and wood that covered the original bricks were removed. Four completely intact windows on the east building were discovered that had been covered for years. 


The interior changed daily as architectural details were discovered and saved. While dealing with two distinct buildings connected by a 12-foot arched opening, it was easy to envision two types of venues, so the decision was made to make the building on the east a youth gathering space. The other side of the two buildings was to be an attractive adult venue which could be rented for special occasions. 


“On the Square,” as it has come to be known, has rescued two vacant yet beautiful, historic buildings in Albany’s downtown. The owners hope this rescue will encourage entrepreneurs to start their own business.


For more information on this award contact Main Street Albany at 660-562-8667. 


Best Downtown Housing Project awarded to Front Street Development of Washington.

The owners of Front Street Development, Andy and Collene Unerstall, recognized the need to bring people downtown to live, work and play, and came up with a plan to develop and build a large-scale housing unit in a blighted area of downtown Washington.


Front Street Development planned and built a large-scale housing project in the Downtown Washington Historic District over the past few years expanding in 2019 on Front Street. This project includes four buildings consisting of eighteen townhomes, two apartments and five garages. All units were sold before completion and has added twenty-one families who are now living in the Historic District. The façade brick patterns are influenced by the brick facades of historic buildings throughout downtown.  


The project was facilitated by utilizing a TIF program. Front Street Development partnered with the City of Washington to design and layout the redevelopment of two and a half city blocks downtown cleaning up property designated as blighted by the City. It also brought much needed infrastructure improvements to the area including sewer and water line replacement, burial of all overhead utilities, sidewalk replacement, and street overlays. 


Front Street Development’s commitment to the project provided a vital partner to the City of Washington and Downtown Washington, Inc. to redevelop a portion of downtown that had been targeted for redevelopment for decades. 


For more information on this award contact Downtown Washington’s Executive Director Tyler King at 636-239-1743 or tyler@downtownwashmo.org. 


Downtown Joplin Alliance awarded Creative Placemaking Project over $1,000 for Mural: “& At Night, We Glow.”

The Downtown Joplin Alliance’s (DJA) Design committee created a project that united community members to beautify a dark, undesirable walkway with a lighted, colorful mural named, “& At Night, We Glow”. This mural was an undertaking that took more than 500 volunteer hours. The time investment and financial support from the community was a huge help and allowed the project to be completed with minimal expense to the organization. DJA is proud of the impact this project has had on the development of Joplin’s historic Main Street.


To begin the project, the idea needed to be accepted by the property owners and Joplin City staff. DJA worked with Missouri Southern State University art professor, Burt Bucher, to create a design that promoted community pride and drew symbolism from the town’s history. The concrete wall that hosts the design is 12 feet tall and 150 feet wide, with 4 separate designs. This mural will be an enduring symbol of Joplin history and unification, of growth and strength, and of light overcoming darkness.


For more information on this award contact Downtown Joplin Alliance’s Executive Director Lori Haun at 417-501- 9649 or lori@downtownjoplin.com. 


Outstanding Development Project awarded to Warrensburg for 202 North Holden.

In 2018, local real estate agents Brian and Julie Ryberg acquired a property that was a former tanning salon with an upstairs apartment that was in very poor condition. They focused on the building structure, façade, and ground level during the first phase. The building needed roof repairs, brick repair, a HVAC system, and new windows. The first phase was complete with new floors, repaired walls, new updated light fixtures, and paint. The renovations, repairs, and upgrades cost $17,000 and were completed in three months which allowed the tenant to move in quickly.


The new tenant, a popular downtown ice cream shop called The Market, moved from a location with 720 square feet to their new space with 2,000 square feet. They added 3 staff members to their business and saw an increase in business by 30% after 3 months in their new location.


The second story apartment was renovated changing the layout from a one-bedroom to a two-bedroom. In addition to the plumbing, electrical, and other renovations, they also removed 6.2 tons of lathe and plaster. The total cost of renovating the second-story apartment was $57,000. Previously the apartment rented for $450 a month and now, furnished, is bringing $1000 per month. Brian and Julie took a tired building in downtown Warrensburg and put new life and energy into the space. 


For more information on this award contact Warrensburg Main Street’s Executive Director Jill Purvis at 816-429- 3988 or director@warrensburgmainstreet.org. 


Mary Jane bourbon + smokehouse of Cape Girardeau awarded Best Façade Rehabilitation under $10,000.

The Erlbacher Buildings in downtown Cape Girardeau were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009 for their architectural significance. Constructed in 1957-58, the nearly twin buildings, are an example of the Streamline Modern style of architecture, and because of preservation efforts by past and present owners, have been well preserved, today much as they did upon their completion.


In 2019, Carisa Stark, owner, began rehabilitation for the restaurant which included minimal impact to the building itself, while at the same time creating maximum impact to the aesthetic of the downtown community. All the original features of the building were maintained, only repaired and reinforced. 


Carisa Stark shared that having a business in a downtown district is important to her. She went on to explain, “there is a support system there, a family like no other.” There was no question that is where she wants to be.

For more information on this award contact Old Town Cape’s Executive Director Liz Haynes at 573-334-8085 or lizhaynes@oldtowncape.org. 


Best Façade Rehabilitation over $10,000 awarded to 22 SW Third Street of Lee’s Summit.

The building at 22 SW Third Street was one of the first buildings constructed after a devastating fire the morning of April 16, 1885 that witnessed virtually a complete loss of the entire Lee’s Summit business district. Originally constructed as Ocker & Martin Furniture, it served as a restaurant and tavern for most of its history. Since 1961, the building had housed the Do Drop Inn. The building was modernized in the 1970s, adding metal screening to the second floor and bricking up the first floor for a more “modern look.” The building was sold in 2019 to new owners, John and Kim Carlson. 


Carefully removing both the metal exterior and interior brick walls that were built to modernize the building, they found both good and terrifying surprises. With appropriate metal bracing, the side of the building was rebuilt and tuckpointed. The Carlsons returned the corner entry to the building, having a custom mahogany door built by a local craftsman. The building once again looks very much like it did when it was first constructed in 1886.


22 SW Third Street is one of the oldest buildings in downtown Lee’s Summit, but also one of the last to see the 1970s modernizations undone, it is an important gateway into the downtown Lee’s Summit district.


For more information on this award contact Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street’s Executive Director Donnie Rodgers at 816-246-6598 or donnie@downtownls.org. 


The Brunke Building of Excelsior Springs awarded Best Historic Preservation Project.

In August 2017, Gary & Kim Sanson, local preservationists, purchased the Brunke building in order to repair and restore the building to its original condition. Work lasted a year and a half and the building reopened in 2019. The Brunke family, in business since 1921, had owned the building since 1969. 


The building is over 9,000 square feet and there were several items to address. The roof had to be replaced to protect the original wood floor. There were 60 decorative metal tin 2’x2’ ceiling squares that needed to be replaced and the ceiling was repainted. In the display windows the wood parquet flooring was sun & water damaged and covered up with green astro-turf. It was uncovered, repaired, and refinished. The original façade of the building had a beautiful brick pattern with 24 hand painted and handmade cast stone rosettes. When the façade reveal began, it was an amazing surprise to find most of the original façade intact. Seven of the 24 rosettes were damaged and had to be reproduced. 


The awning was made up of three sections that had to be custom made. A total of over $80,000 was invested in the restoration process. Both the Downtown Chapter 353 District Tax Abatement and a $1,000 Downtown Excelsior Partnership Façade Grant was approved to assist in the project. This building holds many memories cherished by locals, and is one of the reasons this is a favorite place to visit by many who come to Excelsior Springs Historic Downtown.


For more information on this award contact Downtown Excelsior Partnership Executive Director Lyndsey Baxter at 816-719-9912 or exec@visitesprings.com. 

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Missouri Main Street Connection has partnered with AARP to launch Community Resiliency Projects that will take place in selected Missouri communities. The five selected communities will receive $5,000 each to implement their proposed Community Resiliency Project and can request to receive design assistance. It is important for small businesses to activate spaces in new ways to meet the changing business climate as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The downtown districts chosen for these projects will be accessible for all ages to ensure the entire community can utilize them as well as provide new spaces for small businesses to use. The application is available now on MoMainStreet.org.

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