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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 > Archive (March, 2022)

A good idea doesn’t always translate into a successful business.  There are steps and details along the way that are necessary but often overlooked. The Hive by Honey Creek was one of those “good ideas.”  The entrepreneurial minds of a sister duo in Lebanon, Missouri had already successfully created Honey Creek Media when they had the idea for “The Hive.”  In their words, “a space for makers to make, minds to grow, ideas to form, and networking to thrive.”  A traditional hive is full of worker bees and that’s what these sisters wanted to foster. The Hive by Honey Creek was to be centered around co-working and rental event space. They had purchased a historic building in downtown Lebanon that was being renovated…but they needed help with the details.

They saw the Downtown Strong grant as an opportunity to move their idea forward. They applied and asked for someone to help in evaluating their idea and developing a business plan. BOLD Marketing assisted in the development of their process, amenities, pricing comparisons, the structure of their leases and rental agreements, and even a liquor license for events. In addition, BOLD helped them develop a “community norms” document or expected behavior for their tenants. To wrap it up, BOLD had it all evaluated by an attorney.


It is the details that can make or break a business. The Lebanon sister duo was delighted and grateful they used the Downtown Strong grant to help with their business details. In their words, “As entrepreneurs in a rural community, we are passionate about opening our doors and creating a home, a place for people to gather, a space to cultivate ideas and secure dreams, a site to celebrate, a destination.”   Now they have the plan and tools to do it.

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Excelsior Springs is a historic town that has chosen to cultivate the arts and entertainment in their community. This focus is why we have chosen to highlight them in celebration of 1 Billion & Rising with the story of how they saved and filled a vacant old church, developed a community asset, and provided the perfect place for a quality community theater to call its home. This project contributed to Missouri reaching $1 Billion in public and private investments.

The building at 114 North Marietta sat empty for a long time after the Marietta Baptist Church closed its doors. As time went by, the building remained vacant and deteriorated, as many old buildings do. The former church, built in 1903, began to face challenges that many long-time vacant buildings do, which made it less appealing for potential tenants resulting in it being classified as blighted. Thankfully, through a partnership in the DREAM initiative between the City of Excelsior Springs and the Downtown Excelsior Partnership, the building saw several major improvements using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to get it ready for the right tenant. The extent of the work that was done included a new roof, paint, electrical, HVAC, and various other small things.



With the building stabilized, it was ready for a buyer to continue the rehabilitation work to their own specification. Downtown Excelsior Partnership put the property on the market. The Slightly Off Broadway Theatre was looking for a new home, viewed the building, and fell in love the character and space it provided. The building became Slightly Off Broadway’s new home after six years of traveling performances following the loss of their original home in 2004. Kristi Shewell, the Board President and Resident Office Manager of Slightly Off Broadway Theatre, remarked “This building is truly perfect for us. The acoustics were good and we continue to optimize the quality of our sound through the carpet we installed and the baffles along the walls and on the ceiling. With the space this building provides, we were able to enclose the balcony for a place for our band to perform when they are not needed on stage.”



The development that went into this building has not only helped with recruiting businesses to grow the downtown district in the early 2000’s, but it also continues to draw people Downtown and contribute to Downtown Excelsior Springs’ nightlife. Even more, through partnering with Downtown Excelsior Partnership for their events, the theater has been able to host street performances on their off weekends and provide other entertainment downtown in seeing a show! Slightly Off Broadway has a variety of offerings for their community to satisfy anyone’s theater needs including small musicals, large musicals, straight plays, comedies, mysteries, Christmas shows, music review shows, and even a kid’s theatre camp and special performance for their parents. The kid’s theatre camp is done in partnership with the Excelsior Springs school district and provides elementary, middle school, and high school students with the opportunity to learn theater skills like projection, behind the scenes tech, and how to audition. This is accomplished through a week-long camp that is 5 hours a day where parents can see the fruit of their child’s participation in a production on the last day.



The arts are a very important aspect of community culture and having a place to come together to laugh, cry, and find joy in stories being brought to life on stage is simply irreplaceable. The theatre continues to represent why the arts are important as they draw attendees from the community and across the region. Lyndsey Baxter, the Executive Director of Downtown Excelsior Partnership, remarked, “Thanks to the theatre, this pretty significant square space building which is extremely difficult for small retail to fill is being utilized to its fullest potential as they continue to plan on utilizing the whole building resulting in this great historic building not remaining vacant.” 


If you haven't already watched the 1 Billion highlight, check out that video through this link: https://youtu.be/DezJEAE1Gb0 

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This year’s conference, taking place in Kansas City, Missouri, is Places Reimagined! Return in-person for Missouri’s Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference as we visit this theme that will use place-based economics and other placemaking strategies to highlight why your community matters.


While the past two years has changed a lot for many communities, it has solidified the need for meaningful places. As many people stayed local and explored their areas instead of traveling far away, communities, of all sizes, discovered that they too can be places people want to visit. Journey with us in learning what makes a place vibrant, healthy, and authentic. Missouri is home to many regions with their own unique art, heritage, and mix of cultures that have untapped potential to reshape communities and transform them into incredible places.


At conference you will find new ideas for making places meaningful and working with your community to become a place that everyone can call home. Placemaking and livability help create public spaces that respond to the needs of the community. You will learn about initiatives that will generate downtowns that are authentic, dynamic, and flourishing as well as vibrant and healthy.


Opening Reception/Networking Opportunity – Hotel Kansas City

Wednesday, August 3, 2022—5:30 pm to 7:00 pm

Missouri Main Street Connection has a special treat for those that arrive on Wednesday—a visit within walking distance from the Kansas City Marriott Downtown to the beautiful, historic Hotel Kansas City, formerly the Kansas City Club! The Kansas City Club, established in 1882, was one of the Midwest’s premier social clubs. The Club built a clubhouse at the corner of 13th and Baltimore Avenue in 1922. After the Kansas City Club moved to a new location in 2002, the building was transitioned into an events space on the first six floors and the rooftop. The building was then sold and began a year and a half of renovations, starting in May 2019, for Hotel Kansas City’s grand opening in October 2020. The 15th floor, which held an outdoor garden, was transitioned into downtown Kansas City’s only indoor/outdoor events-specific venue. We will meet in the Starlight Ballroom and Terrace for a reception with light appetizers during which tours of the building will be given in small groups on a rotating basis. Attendees who want to participate in this immersive experience and network with other downtown professionals can purchase a ticket that includes one drink ticket when registration opens.  We will meet in the front lobby of the Kansas City Marriott Downtown beginning at 5:15 pm to walk in groups to Hotel Kansas City.

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Ben White »

The Historic Preservation committee of Missouri Main Street Connection continues to provide Missouri Main Street organizations, building owners, and business owners with an innovative consultation service, the “Doctor Is In.” This service offers participants the chance to get expert advice from a diverse group of professionals, volunteering their time to address preservation-related issues. In February, the “Doctor Is In” consultation provided information to Reverend Kary Mann, the Reverend of Trinity Episcopal in Independence, Missouri.



The Trinity Episcopal church has had its doors open for weekly services since 1881 and was frequented by First Lady Bess Wallace Truman and President Harry S. Truman and was the location where they were married. Reverend Mann consulted with the “Doctors” in February as she needed help locating additional contractors for their building renovation that will address the church’s needs for measures to combat moisture coming into the building, including brick repointing, appropriate guttering, restoration of the interior plaster walls, and painting. The Historic Preservation Committee was able to provide Reverend Mann a list of local contractors as well as contractors from across Missouri that could do all of the work or could specialize on certain aspects of the building renovation. Also, since this is a major project, a diverse mix of grants, local funds, and other funding options will need to be used for this project. The “Doctors” outlined several possible grant and other funding options for these efforts. In addition, Resource Development Coordinator Katelyn Brotherton provided possible grant opportunities for which Reverend Mann could be eligible to apply. The Historic Preservation Committee also talked about other funding opportunities, including how to raise money locally for these revitalization efforts. As a result, Reverend Mann is applying for a grant through the National Trust’s Fund for Sacred Places, a grant centered on helping places of worship. As this work progresses, Missouri Main Street Connection will provide updates on the efforts of Trinity Episcopal Church.



This service is available to all communities in good standing in the top 3 tiers: Accredited, Associate, and Affiliate. Community Empowerment Grant and St. Louis Main Street communities/districts are also eligible as communities in the Affiliate Tier. To see if your community is represented on this list, click here: Missouri Main Street Connection Tiers Lists (as of March 4th).

The Historic Preservation Committee can consult on a wide range of preservation-related questions. You can find the application for this service here: Doctor Is In HP 2022. All applications can be submitted to Program Outreach Specialist, Ben White, who will reach out for any additional information the committee may need to get a full picture of the applicant’s needs. You may be asked to provide more pictures and documentation, depending on what “Doctors” need in order to have an educated conversation and to have the full picture of your needs. Please be sure to submit all requested supporting documents as outlined in the application form.  The application is simple and serves as the initial communication with Ben. The applicant will then be invited to a Zoom meeting to explain and discuss the problem with the “Doctors” at which time the “Doctors” will provide feedback. Then, Ben will provide any additional feedback and follow-up. Reach out to Ben with any questions. We are looking forward to seeing your submission!

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