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

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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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Blog Home > Author > Janie Dennison
Janie Dennison
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.
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Wednesday, January 6th at 8:30AM

MMSC will host Mornings on Main on Wednesday, January 6th at 8:30 AM. The nation’s economy continues to recover from the COVID shock that triggered the deepest recession since World War II. How will Main Street businesses and households fare in 2021?

There are limits to what government policies can do, so the answer depends to a great extent on how quickly business people and consumers are able to return to something like the pre-pandemic normal.

William R. Emmons is an assistant vice president and economist in the Supervision Division at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. He co-founded and served as the lead economist in the Center for Household Financial Stability from 2013 to 2020.

Register here!

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MMSC will host Mornings on Main on December 2nd at 8:30 AM with a panel of three retailers that are located in rural communities across Missouri discussing how 2020 has been different for each of them. Success stories will be shared on how they reinvented themselves by enhancing their online presence to grow their business and what their strategy is going into 2021. 


Best friends for over 15 years, Rachel Mifflin and Karen Vick decided to open a little clothing boutique together called MKT Clothing in downtown Warrensburg. When COVID hit, MKT had to close their doors to customers, but Rachel & Karen still needed a way to drum up business. So one night, Karen took home a basket of jewelry and did her first live video. In just a few hours she had $600 in sales and realized this was something that could keep them afloat. Since that first live video, Rachel & Karen have done a live sale every Friday for the past 7 months. It has become a ritual within the shop and a habit their shoppers can't get enough of!


Mary Cupp and Cheryl Craig opened White Flower Quilt Shop in 2016 on the Historic Downtown Square in Clinton. They had both been quilters for some time and by pooling their efforts they were able to turn their passion into a business. They were recognized as the Business of the Year in 2018 and have developed a very successful “Quilt Walk” event for downtown Clinton. In 2019, they expanded the store into the space beside them in order to have space to teach quilting classes.


In 2006, Laurie Everette chose to make the move to become a small business owner by purchasing Annie Laurie’s in Cape Girardeau. Laurie has owned and operated Annie Laurie’s for fourteen years, winning numerous small business accolades during her tenure. In 2016, Laurie expanded her business holdings by purchasing and subsequently remodeling a historic 18th-century property adjacent to Annie Laurie’s. “The Indie House” as it has been renamed, is a shared retail space home to several retail businesses and a nightly rental cottage, “The Guesthouse."

Register here!

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The first week of November provides several opportunities for workshops and trainings by MMSC. Below are the descriptions the links to register.


Wednesday, November 4th at 8:30AM

Missouri Main Street Connection, Inc. (MMSC), will host Mornings on Main on November 4th at 8:30AM. This webinar will discuss business recruitment related to supporting new entrepreneurs that have been effected by the current economy. How do we support those efforts from a cultivation standpoint? Jim Thompson, with Main Street Iowa, will present business incubation, microbusiness efforts, business plan development, and working with property owners and the city.  

Thursday, November 5th from 5:00PM - 6:00PM

We are excited to announce a Virtual Happy Hour the evening before the quarterly workshop! We invite you to bring your favorite beverage of choice and join us on November 5th from ´╗┐5PM - 6PM. The link to join this networking event will be sent via email to all attendees of the quarterly workshop. Register for the workshop here.

Friday, November 6th from 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Navigating A New Reality: Doing Things Differently In The Age of COVID-19

Jay Schlinsog, principal with Downtown Professionals Network and creator of Reopen Main Street, will provide a timely inside perspective on this special project developed to help small businesses, community leaders, and organizations advance COVID-19 recovery efforts.

Jay will share valuable insights and examples of how communities and businesses are thinking and responding differently to the COVID-19 pandemic’s lingering effects. Learn more about how communities are re-imagining the public realm and re-energizing the local economy; how businesses are adapting and marketing differently; and how some changes could become part of our districts’ fabric and the way we do business in a post-COVID-19 era. You can register for the workshop here

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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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