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Missouri Main Street Blog Section

Blog Home > Author > Janie Dennison
Janie Dennison

Mornings on Main with Steve Etcher and Christine Johnston
Wednesday, July 8 at 8:30AM

Natural disasters, financial collapse, civil unrest, and pandemics can devastate businesses and the communities where they are located. Economic disruptions are likely during a business life cycle, so preparing for and anticipating these events will help business survive uncertain times. This webinar will discuss a host of elements that need to be considered when preparing businesses for potential disruptions and helping communities create a resilient economy. This webinar will be presented by Steve Etcher and Christine Johnston from MarksNelson. 

Steve has been working with economic development organizations for more than 30 years. After spending his early years working directly for community organizations, he recognized the opportunity to support multiple communities by identifying the needs and solutions that spread across municipalities. At that point, he helped found Community EDGE, an organization created to meet economic development and location strategy needs faced by many community organizations. Steve has spent countless hours advising organizations on how to support the growth of their community, partner with businesses, access resources, plan and respond to natural disasters, and more. 



Christine Johnston, CPA, CGMA, CMA, leads a team of accounting professionals to provide audit, tax, and consulting services with a focus on the commercial real estate industry. She specializes in guiding developers and economic development organizations through available incentives and financing to support real estate projects in affordable housing (LIHTC) and historic preservation (HTC). She has been an active member of Missouri Main Street Connection for 3 years.


Register Here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/6008466415723297552

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Mornings on Main with Derek Lumsden
Wednesday, June 3 at 8:30AM 

Mornings on Main webinar will focus on rules of thumb to help recession and pandemic proof your communities to develop more resilient places in the future. Derek Lumsden will give high level views on what to do from the Main Street, downtown organization, and small business perspectives.


Derek has been involved in downtown economic development and historic preservation for over 10 years. He has his certification from Main Street America as a revitalization professional. Derek has served on the Enhance Iowa Board, a statewide board dedicated to improving quality of life and supporting local "placemaking" through grant initiatives.

Register here: 

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Mornings on Main with Randy Wilson
Wednesday, May 27 at 8:30AM


Historically, “disaster” was thought of in terms of hurricanes, tornadoes, fire, or flooding. More recently, we’ve become aware of a different kind of ‘disaster’ on a global scale related to a viral pandemic. During times of recovery from disaster, are there strategies to be employed from a design perspective that can not only help our communities recover as swiftly as possible, but potentially be better prepared for any impending disaster in the future? 

Randy Wilson will share best practices for design within the context of disaster recovery based on his experience in spearheading planning exercises in ten Mississippi coastal communities after Hurricane Katrina, as well as participating with a team of professionals that prepared eight disaster recovery plans for Vermont communities responding to Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Irene.

Together with webinar participants, he will facilitate a discussion on how we can address COVID-19 from a design perspective. Come prepared to learn and participate with this fast-paced, highly visual webinar that can better prepare our communities for appropriate responses to disasters from a Main Street design perspective.


Randy Wilson established Community Design Solutions in 2005 as a community-based planning firm devoted to delivering creative, asset-based design services for community building. Mr. Wilson serves as the consulting architect to Main Street South Carolina and is also the Project Architect for Lake City, SC where he has facilitated the renovation of more than 40 facades, two parks, and streetscape design. In 2019, Lake City was named America’s “#1 Small Town Cultural Scene” by USA Today. Prior to his role in Lake City, he was the consulting architect to Mississippi Main Street Association. To date, he has participated in over 400 resource teams and design and planning charrettes nationwide.

Register here: 

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We invite your counties, cities, and districts to host a watch party for this week's Mornings on Main! This webinar will look at the allocations counties and municipalities receive from the CARES Act for both emergency response and economic recovery activities. We have three representatives to discuss the process and opportunities for this funding.

Ed Douglas is the presiding county commissioner of Livingston County. Mr. Douglas is extremely involved in the community, including serving as the vice-president of Main Street Chillicothe and president of the Sliced Bread committee. He has more than 30 years of experience in banking and financial management. During his tenure as commissioner, he has led the county into a more fiscally-sound position.

Theresa Kelly has been in city government for more than 25 years as first the auditor and now the mayor of Chillicothe. She is a life-long resident of Chillicothe and is passionate in making her hometown a great place to live, work, and play. Her background as an auditor allows her to help keep Chillicothe fiscally-strong and help develop partnerships all over the community. 

Darin Chappell serves as the city administrator for Chillicothe. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in public administration and later a master’s degree in public administration. He also serves as an advisory board member for Missouri Main Street Connection and is very active in boards and committees in the community.

Register here: 

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Mornings on Main webinar is taking a look ahead at “new reality” possibilities and working to compile potential reopening strategies, ideas, hints and tips for businesses, business districts, and organizations as we enter the COVID-19 recovery phase.   This webinar will be presented by Jay Schlinsog of https://reopenmainstreet.com/

Jay has thirty years of community and economic development experience working at both the local level and with more than 200 communities and organizations across the United States. His areas of specialty include market research and analysis, business retention and recruitment, management, and communications.  In 2000, Jay founded Downtown Professionals Network (DPN) as a collaborative for industry-leading advocates and practitioners who specialize in downtown and business district revitalization solutions.  Prior to launching DPN, Jay served as executive director with Main Street and Chamber of Commerce organizations in Idaho, Illinois, Washington and Wisconsin.   

Register Here:

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Mornings on Main free webinar will feature Joe Borgstrom presenting on Redefining Retail and Reopening Downtown on Wednesday, May 6. This webinar will discuss how to ease the transition from closed to open in our downtown districts and strategies business owners can use in this new environment.

Joe Borgstrom is an accomplished professional in the fields of downtown redevelopment, community and economic development, Main Street and placemaking. Joe and his wife Kirsten started their business Place + Main Advisors bringing over 40 years of experience. They specialize in downtown & economic development and implementation assistance services. Joe was formerly the Director of Downtown & Community Services at MSHDA, which included the national award winning Michigan Main Street program. 

Register here: 


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We have had several inquiries from communities about planned events for Missouri Main Street Connection’s (MMSC) “Celebrate Preservation Month!” The only answer we can give is that each community has to make its own decision based on the type of event and the date. Some of the earliest events have already been cancelled, but events planned later in the month may still be able to proceed, especially with social distancing. If you plan to visit another community’s event, please call first to make sure the event is still happening.

In the meantime, if you have to cancel, or perhaps your community did not have an event planned in the first place, we would like to encourage you to make plans for a virtual tour or some other online event. Maybe a treasure hunt in the downtown windows or exhibiting historic photos in downtown buildings.  A virtual tour could be of a historic building, your historic district, a museum, or a historic site. Adding narration is a great way to add interest. Perhaps you want to do an architectural scavenger for the whole family to participate while walking the district. It could even be as simple as posting historic photos with a bit of history on your Facebook page. Use these events to help celebrate businesses opening and make customers and residents aware that downtown is open!


So our message is that if you have to cancel, you can shift your ideas and still energize your community about preservation. Use Preservation Month as a tool to begin recovery in your downtown district!   


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Mornings on Main free webinar will feature small business owners discussing ways to sell online and promote their businesses using social media platforms on Wednesday, April 29. The webinar will begin at 8:30AM and will allow for a question & answer segment from 9:00AM – 9:30AM.

Blue Willow Boutique owner, Stephanie Campbell from Maryville, will share her expertise and adjustments that she has made with her boutique during this difficult time. During this crisis, Blue Willow's sales have remained steady despite having to close their physical location. Blue Willow was established in 2016 with the belief in getting back to basics by supporting local and regional artisans that connect us with the beauty in our worlds. Stephanie's boutique has created a social media presence through live videos, social media posts, and more! 

Bachman's Farm Store owner, Scott Bachman from Chillicothe, will share his experience in launching an online store in March just before the crisis. Bachman's Farm Store markets to the mid-west, but has now created a nation-wide audience. Scott will share his experiences with targeted Facebook campaigns and using Weebly and Square.

Register here: 

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MMSC has extended the deadline to submit award nominations for the Evening of Excellence Awards Ceremony & Dinner to May 15, 2020. We know that you are in the midst of COVID-19, but Missouri communities still have good news to share!

Winners will be announced at the Evening of Excellence Awards Ceremony & Dinner on July 30, 2020. The award nominations are an opportunity for YOU to honor the people, projects, and activities that are outstanding achievements in your community.

Download the nomination from here.

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Mornings on Main free webinar will feature small business success stories on Wednesday, April 22. The webinar will begin at 8:30AM and will allow for a question & answer segment from 9:00AM – 9:30AM.

Willow Spring Mercantile's owner, Daphne Bowman from Excelsior Springs will share her expertise and adaptions that she has faced with her bistro and store. Willow Spring Mercantile was established in 2005 and not only sells all Missouri goods in their store, but offers exquisite food from their restaurant. They are a small business champion and leader in downtown Excelsior Springs. 

Genevieve's Home & Handmade owner, Pam Wheeler from Blue Springs will present how she is being creative in her engagement with customers and being resilient in the face of COVID-19. Pam opened her store in 2012 and features modern handmade goods from over 25 local artists. She is a true success story of a small business owner thriving in a downtown business atmosphere.
Register here: 

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