We love historic downtowns!

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.



Missouri Main Street Blog Section

Blog Home > Author > Janie Dennison
Janie Dennison

Welcome to spring and with it, hopefully spring temperatures! 

The Historic Preservation Committee is excited to bring a lot of resources to our communities, including the one-pager on painting your building and additional one-pager documents in the future. The committee is really dedicated to bringing tangible resources to your community, so be on the lookout in the future for more of these types of resources. Also, the committee has a really exciting announcement at the Missouri Main Street Conference July 28-30, so be on the lookout for that. 

Have you begun preparations for Preservation Month in May? This important time of the year is a big opportunity to celebrate your historic downtown, the unique-to-you part of your community. You can celebrate this in a myriad of ways, ranging from an architectural scavenger hunt to walking tours. As long as you celebrate your community’s history, that’s what’s important! How will you celebrate?

Now is the time to check on those downtown buildings to make sure they withstood the freezing and thawing of the winter. Look for popped our brick, paint that has weathered off and more. In April, we will talk a little more about this, but start walking around your downtown now to make sure the buildings are well-taken care of and don’t need work as we head into warmer weather.

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Main Street America brings to light the impact of COVID-19 through its recent survey with particular interest dedicated to our local main street businesses. They found that despite the troubles over the past year there is much to hope for in the power of people.

Over the past year, whether you’re in a metropolis, rural suburb, or quaint town, COVID-19 has affected everyone including the people we talk with daily—from our cashier during grocery runs to the local store, our barber during our weekly haircuts, and our Saturday shopping sprees at boutiques:
“88% of small business owner respondents were concerned about the risk of permeant closure… 29% reporting they wouldn’t last beyond the next three months… 45% reporting they won’t last beyond the next six months… 51% of businesses had laid off or lost employees…net loss of 2,380 jobs” (Small Business and Main Street Program Insights, Michael Powe).

These places are bearing the burden under imposed regulations and lockdowns that have put barriers and hurdles in the way of providing what their communities need and their livelihood; including our beloved historic mom-and-pop shops or new innovative entrepreneur ventures. This has created further duress as the tools that have equipped many in both urban and rural centers to attain financial freedom, have now been pulled out from under them as a result of the pandemic:
“frustrations with changing regulations on business operations…new expenses to adapt operations…coping with reduced demand…frustration with requiring customers to abide by mask and social distancing regulations…additional credit card debt [and more financial strains] … leaning on savings [and other assets] to keep their business afloat” (Small Business and Main Street Program Insights, Michael Powe).

Then what has kept communities across Missouri afloat throughout the ongoing pandemic? Is it the hope of a promised stimulus check, I doubt it? It is the measures that small businesses and local organizations have taken to not only support their communities but to support themselves, which have been far beyond what many could imagine and have carried us this far. This exceptional strength, dedication, and collective power grows out of the resilience of people in their communities that won’t give up no matter what odds are stacked against them. They adapt to what life throws at them because their livelihood depends on it and that is the life they are used to as members and owners of working-class America. Main street programs are continually supporting their communities in lieu of government aid and help allocate the aid that is available to those who need it most:
“feeling the crisis in their own work… 63% of programs expect to have reduced budgets” “but 58% of programs expect they will try to do more with less” (Small Business and Main Street Program Insights, Michael Powe).

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Missouri Main Street Connection has developed an online training series providing in-depth details on the National Main Street Four-Point Approach. Main Street 101 will benefit board members, volunteers, and city officials on the principles of Main Street and the best practices related to a comprehensive approach to downtown revitalization.  The Main Street approach and structure have been used in over 2,000 communities across the country since the 1980s.

The Main Street 101 online training is available free of charge to all communities in Missouri and was developed by the Missouri Main Street Connection staff with the help of specialists and partners.

What's included in Main Street 101?

  • The Main Street 4-Point Approach
  • National Main Street Background
  • Main Street Principles
  • History of Missouri Main Street Connection
  • Missouri Main Street Connection Available Resources

 Resources Available:

  • Handbook for all 4-Points
  • Executive Director Handbook
  • Main Street Approach Guide
  • Community Engagement Guide



All Missouri Main Street programs with an agreement will be required to have all new Board Members and Executive Directors/Managers complete the online training series and pass a multiple-choice test to gain their certificate of completion.  Each new individual will have six months from joining the organization to complete the online training series and gain their certification to meet the terms of their annual agreement with Missouri Main Street Connection.  The current fee to access the test for certification is $50 per person.

Once the exam has been completed and a passing score has been received, the certificate of completion can be downloaded or printed.  Please provide a copy of this document to the local Main Street Executive Director or Board President and it will be required as a part of the annual program review process. 

Certification details:

  • 50 question online exam
  • Questions based upon the 4-Points and Main Street Principles
  • Questions are either multiple choice or true/false 
  • One hour to complete the exam
  • Must pass with a score of 80% or higher


Take the Main Street 101 free training here

This project has been funded in part by a grant from the Kemper Fund for Kansas and Missouri of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, USDA Rural Development (an equal opportunity organization), and Karen Bode Baxter. 

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Why your community should send people to MMSC Quarterly Trainings:

  1. Making sure that a variety of people from your community attend quarterly training will help develop leadership in your program at home. The more people that understand Main Street and contribute ideas for your program, the more that will be shaped as leaders for the future of your community. 

  2. It’s good to network, connect, and learn from other communities around the state and country. 

  3. MMSC works very hard to have good speakers that are informed about the subject matter, interesting to listen to, and up-to-date about Main Street methodology. Education is important when dealing with community development.

  4. You will make new friends! It is almost guaranteed that you will meet someone from another community that is dealing with the same problems you are, or have already been through the same situation and has some good advice for you.

  5. And the number one reason you should attend MMSC Quarterly Trainings is: You will always learn something! Even if it is a topic that you think you are not very interested in, you will find something to take home to try. 


Register for the March 12th Quarterly Workshop here.

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March 12, 2021 |  9:00AM - 4:00PM CST

We are excited to be partnering with Georgia Main Street on this workshop! In this workshop, five audiences will be identified as those to which you need to be able to communicate your brand. We will discuss creative ways to expand your brand and to communicate the value and importance of what your organization does for the community. 

This workshop offers a good opportunity to learn how to highlight the impact and value of your Main Street program. This training will teach you the tools to build the case for continued support and sustaining your organization in the future.

All attendees will learn from examples that will be shared from around the country.

About The Presenter:
is a place branding and economic development expert who has spent the last 18 years assisting communities to develop identities that attract investors and encourage private and public organizations to commit to community development projects that lead to economic vitality, environmental stewardship, and social advancement.

As a partner at Arnett Muldrow & Associates, Ben has designed creative branding and marketing systems in over 600 communities across 40 states and 5 countries, making him a true leader in place branding and cementing his ability to combine strategic planning, brand development, interactive marketing, public relations, and social media capabilities to preserve and promote the power of place. 

In the Main Street world, Ben is known as a true innovator. Not only has he introduced the Main Street world to branding, he has introduced the ideas of micro-retail incubation, retail master plans, the five audiences of Main Street, and most recently he has created a template adopted across the country to communicate the effectiveness of our local programs. Ben has spoken at 14 National Main Street Conferences, keynoted numerous state and regional Main Street conferences, and has spoken to over 250,000 people about the importance of America’s downtowns. A founding contributor of Proud Places, and collaborator with Reopen Main Street, Ben is passionate about the relationships between people and place.


More details and registration available here:  

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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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