We love historic downtowns!

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

Public and Private INVESTMENT

$1000000000

Net new businesses

834

Net New jobs

4109

volunteer hours

444113

Designated Missouri Main Street communities report economic impact in their districts each quarter. Cumulative totals for the program.

 

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This year’s Missouri’s Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference is taking place in Kansas City, Missouri! 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 as well as attend amazing events to both inspire you and recognize communities across Missouri for the revitalization they have accomplished.

 

ShowMe Bash and Pitch Party! –Historic Downtown Independence

Thursday, August 4, 2022—5:30 pm to 9:00 pm

Once again, MMSC will host the ShowMe Bash at state conference. It will be held Thursday, August 4, 2022 in historic downtown Independence. There will be food and drinks and everyone is invited to the Pitch Party that begins at 6:00 pm.

 

The Pitch Party is the culmination of the MMSC Creative Space Activation Grant where one community will be awarded $10,000! The winner will be chosen from six finalists who will “pitch” to the audience why their project should be awarded first place and receive $10,000! There will be audience interaction to help the judges make their decision. Following the Pitch Party, shops and restaurants will be open until 8:30 pm for you to get acquainted with a variety of businesses and pop-up shops on the Independence Square. Ticket-holders will receive $5 Square Bucks to spend at local businesses, good August 4 only!

 

Join us for a fun-filled evening with friends old and new! Tickets are $45 and include dinner, one drink and transportation from the Kansas City Marriot Downtown. Buses to and from the event will begin loading at 4:45 pm and leave at 5:00 pm sharp. Last bus leaves Independence to return to the hotel by 9:00 pm. Purchase your tickets online during registration.

 

 

Evening of Excellence Awards Ceremony & Dinner – Count Basie Ballroom

Friday, August 5, 2022 –6:30 pm to 10:00 pm

Everyone loves a party, right? Evening of Excellence is one of the best and you are invited!

We will gather in the Basie Foyer at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown with a cash bar at 6:00 pm. Doors to the Count Basie Ballroom will open at 6:30 pm for everyone to be seated. The Evening of Excellence Awards Ceremony and Dinner will follow with an awards presentation for Missouri communities’ special projects, and events. This evening is a celebration and recognition of the people, projects, and partnerships that represent the use of the Main Street Approach™ to revitalize traditional downtowns and neighborhood business districts. Join in the festivities of “Places Reimagined,” and the people, projects, and partnerships that best represent the great accomplishments communities have made throughout the state in downtown revitalization. Tickets will be available online ($80 per person) when you register until sold out or July 25.

 

 

We hope to see you there!

 

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The pandemic has been a true test of the resiliency for communities across Missouri. As we continue to navigate a world still battling various strains of the Coronavirus, many communities across Missouri have started to make a comeback. They have adapted their business model, implemented health and safety protocols in their business, and have received aid from private and public sources to get the help they need to take their business to the next level meeting the needs of today’s consumers.  This is true for Earl “Chip” Smith Jr. who is a recipient of the Downtown Strong Grant that Missouri Main Street Connection provided in partnership with the Economic Development Administration in 2021.

 

In early 2019, prior to the start of the pandemic, Chip quit his job to start his own business, Cross Grand, in a building in the Dutchtown neighborhood of St. Louis. He anticipated a robust business of interior photography and video shoots of weddings, sports, and special events using his honed skills of narrative building, photography, videography, and other mediums to tell people’s stories well! His plan was to use his indoor space at 3304 Meramec as a multi-purpose space to facilitate shoots and consultations. These dreams were soon halted as the pandemic took over and most in person events were postponed or cancelled. Yet Chip didn’t let the pandemic squash his dreams and successfully pivoted to virtual videography as a new revenue stream.  


 

As the pandemic continued through 2020 and into 2021, Chip knew that his pivot to include virtual videography would not be enough to continue to sustain him for much longer and he needed to set himself up to take advantage of the market as soon as things started opening up again. That is when he took advantage of Missouri Main Street’s new Downtown Strong grant that opened in 2021 to Missouri Main Street programs, of which Downtown Dutchtown was a part of the new St. Louis Main Streets pilot program. Chip saw this grant opportunity that would provide direct business consultations to support downtown businesses through a variety of services.  He applied and was awarded the grant. Chip was paired with BOLD Marketing to rework his website in order to take his creative agency to the next level and increase his sales.  He also needed help to rethink creative ways he could increase his return on investment and better utilize his space.


BOLD Marketing has worked with Chip to revamp his website and rethink what he was doing and how he was doing it. Setting him up for success by teaching him how to market himself and his new refreshed website. They had quickly figured out Chip needed to up his game – Chip said “They helped my business by simply giving me confidence in showing off my website. In the world we are living in now it's all about image and I think my new website represents what Cross Grand is – Quality!”  As part of the grant, Chip received training on managing his website and utilizing marketing tactics to grow his business.

 


EDA Acknowledgment Statement

This article was prepared by Missouri Main Street Connection, Inc. using Federal funds under award 05-79-06056 from Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Development Administration or the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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Communities of every size have buildings they consider ‘white elephants’ that are hard to tackle. For Cape Girardeau, it was the old Marquette and H&H buildings. until a locally-led effort brought Old Town Cape, the City of Cape Girardeau, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and developer such as Codefi and other local developers together. This partnership led to the rehabilitation that won the “Best Large-Scale Project” in 2019. Since the completion of this large-scale project, the tide of economic success has swept across the downtown district and raised the boats of many small businesses as well as given others reason to set their own boats asail on the adventure of starting their own business or renovating their own property.


The accomplishments that the project has achieved in the community are outstanding both on an economic and preservation standpoint. Coordinator of the Historic Preservation Program at Southeast Missouri State University, Dr. Steven Hoffman, made this remark about the project’s historical integrity:

               “Both properties have outstanding architectural features from the early 20th century that were neglected due to the time, money, and work it takes to own a building. Thankfully by using historic tax credits and following the Secretary of Interior’s Standards, the project was able to be publicly and privately funded to restore this amazing building that has an incredible amount of detail that cannot be matched by modern construction.  For instance, the tile and furnishings call back to its previous life while the cornice that had been previously removed was rebuilt.”

 

Public and private funding is an important aspect of Main Street because when used together they can get projects moving in the right direction by using tools like the historic tax credit and Tax Increment Financing (TIF). The impact that rehabilitating an old building is huge because of the revenue generated from businesses utilizing it for commerce as well as increasing property value—far exceeding the revenue beforehand. Former Cape Girardeau Mayor, Bob Fox, made this remark about the project’s economic impact:

“The Marquette and H&H building rehabilitation was a game changer for Cape Girardeau. It took the Marquette, which was a difficult building to rehabilitate due to it being all concrete, and the H&H and turned them into a space that now welcomes visitors from all over to downtown. The hotel houses many businesses and organizations in amazing offices spaces equipped with conference rooms for collaboration.”


 

The block that these properties sit on is now alive thanks to the development that used these two fantastic, historic buildings and breathed new life into them with help from the local community. That is one of the many distinctions of Main Street, that it is not just developers making money by putting a building back in service, but that the community has an integral part as a partner to inject new life into and invest in downtown. 

 

Main Street also has a comprehensive mindset that guided the connector of this development, Old Town Cape, to identify 3 components for this property, which were space, technology, and talent. Executive Director of Old Town Cape Liz Haynes remarked:

“The available building [that is the Marquette building] would house a commercial space to be a hub for the Marquette tech district. After renovating the over 1,450 sq. ft. Marquette building, installing state of the art fiberoptic and Wi-Fi for the downtown Cape Girardeau area, and partnering with Codefi to provide training for tech focused careers, we could start to see the impact right away. Everyone started to look at downtown as a viable location to start their business because of access to high speed Wi-Fi for businesses which came as an amenity provided by this development. Like the saying goes everyone wants to be a part of a winning community.”


Old Town Cape has reported 4+ new business opening downtown especially in the blocks surrounding the development with more still to come. While many times Main Street is about a bunch of small efforts building into big change, Old Town Cape shows us that in some special cases, with just the right property and partners, a big project can be a catalyst for a bunch of smaller projects to build on the success of Main Street. This is a perfect example of how the heart of Main Street, historic preservation, can save and rehab a vacant property that impacts local job markets and supports small businesses. 

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Volunteers are the lifeblood of Main Street. From the board of directors to committees to event volunteers, each community member that volunteers in Main Street is a Rockstar! Not only are they coming together to revitalize their downtown, reinvigorate their community, and cultivate a place to live, work, and play, they are making an economic impact! Volunteers make a significant economic impact in their community through the donation of their time and skill. The Independent Sector values volunteer time in Missouri at $27.21 (as of April 2022).


Downtown Washington has nominated Kenny Pinnell for ‘I Spy… Great Work’. This nomination enters Kenny into the running for Volunteer of the Year at the 2022 Missouri’s Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference in August. The nomination from Downtown Washington was submitted by Tyler King:

“Kenny, a longstanding volunteer and board member for Downtown Washington, Inc., embodies what a true volunteer is all about. He shows up to EVERYTHING and does a lot of behind the scenes work when no one is watching. One particular reason I am nominating him is when we have events at our downtown Farmer's Market, Kenny is always the one making sure all electrical outlets are updated and working, making sure the ice machine is cleaned and ready to go, setting up and communicating with our outside vendors to make sure they are welcomed and well attended to, having trash bags on hand when no one can find any, and always keeping us on our toes with reminders at the office when things we forget about need to be done. We enjoy his laugh, his stories, and his presence. This isn't a one-time off when we spy great work; Kenny is always doing great work and needs to be recognized for all of his efforts.”

 

Kenny is not the only one volunteering in Downtown Washington. Downtown Washington reported 9,712 hours of volunteer time in 2021 equating to $264,263.52, a huge community investment in downtown!

 

Missouri Main Street Connection recognizes the time it takes and sacrifices made to volunteer time at a nonprofit and along side our local Main Street programs thank everyone who has volunteered with Main Street. Though I Spy Great Work is currently closed, if you see individuals in your community that are completing great work, contact your local Main Street program and recommend them to be highlighted by the local Main Street program or Missouri Main Street Connection in the future. 

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