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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.



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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 $31.80 per hour (as of June 2023). The ‘I Spy… Great Work’ nominees are entered into the running for Volunteer of the Year award at the 2023 Missouri’s Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference.

Ashland Betterment Coalition in Ashland, MO has nominated Debbie Mudd for ‘I Spy… Great Work’. The nomination from Ashland was submitted by Brittney Harty on their board:

“Debbie has been an integral part of Ashland Betterment Coalition! She is one of our ex-officio board members who has built vital relationships with our local businesses. The relationships she has begun building have helped our group’s growth significantly. Debbie takes time out of her weeks to interview local business owners and highlights them on our social media pages, which gives them something in return. In six months, our social media pages have grown with Facebook now having 500 followers and reaching 30.2k people and our Instagram now having 223 followers. Our pages are now known in town as the place to go to get a complete picture of what’s happening locally on the weekends. She came up with a series dubbed ‘Round About Ashland’ playing off the roundabouts that replaced some of our busy four-way stops. From the series to the highlights, she has given our local businesses and community members a reason to pay attention to us. We truly wouldn’t be where we are today and wouldn’t be able to continue to grow without her volunteer efforts!”

Old Town Cape, Inc. in Cape Girardeau, MO has nominated Danny Essner for ‘I Spy… Great Work’. The nomination from Old Town Cape was submitted by Andrea Hamm on their board’s behalf:


 “For over a decade, Danny has been involved in making a difference in Cape Girardeau. This is true for many community events in Cape Girardeau and especially true for Old Town Cape’s Cape Riverfront Market. In early 2022, our staff began the long, arduous process of adding a new storage shed to the Cape Riverfront Market parking lot. There were hurdles and struggles that stalled progress such as the city permitting process, finding a reliable manufacturing company to make the shed, and working with a local engineer on the structural drawings all of which Danny Essner stepped in and volunteered to see the project to completion nearly a year later.

At each step, Danny took ownership, made the connections, got approval, and provided continued maintenance. The shed was installed in the front of the market lot in early 2023 utilizing the additional volunteers Danny recruited and tools that he owns for the tough installation process. In fact, three different saw blades broke while cutting into the asphalt to set the anchors. Having the shed at the front of the market lot makes event set up and tear down much more convenient for Old Town Cape staff and volunteers who no longer have to haul everything across the lot and back each Saturday morning.

Danny wanted to add more flair to the shed so that it looked like a cute English cottage to welcome everyone to the Cape Riverfront Market and used money from his own pocket to purchase and install hundreds of dollars worth of decorative windows, window boxes, planters, plants, and gutters to beautify the shed.

Danny is already known as a hardworking and reliable volunteer, but he went above and beyond with the Cape Riverfront Market shed project. He singlehandedly took on the shed project from design to installation, donating countless hours. Because of Danny Essner’s perseverance and altruism, the Cape Riverfront Market has significantly been enhanced.”


Pictured Above: Danny Essner, Old Town Cape Staff, and Old Town Cape volunteers. Photo provided by Old Town Cape.


Chillicothe Main Street in Chillicothe, MO has nominated Chuck Erke for ‘I Spy… Great Work’. The nomination from Chillicothe Main Street was submitted by Tomie Walker on their board’s behalf:


“Chuck is no stranger to Main Street Chillicothe with volunteering at nearly every Main Street event pouring wine, cleaning up, hanging ornaments, and entering data. His involvement with Main Street Chillicothe can not be understated as he held the Organization Committee together during the Covid pandemic; serves as our Organization Chair; has been asked to join the Board of Directors; has walked through most of our downtown noting business and address changes for our directory listing; and recently attended his first Main Street Now national conference in Boston—I could not think of a better volunteer to soak up the experience and ask all the questions. He is an all-around great guy that we are so fortunate to have on our team as he happily gets things done in Chillicothe for Main Street and various other organizations that compete for his time. Fortunately, he has recently retired from his day job, so there is more of him to go around. He is active in the Chamber of Commerce with innovative ideas for small business incubation, can wrap several trees with a thousand lights in Simpson Park from a man lift for the holiday Festival of Lights, serves on the annual Chautauqua in the Park committee, and is always willing to lend a helping hand wherever needed. He has a true volunteer spirit and is the downtown champion that you wish you could clone.”


Pictured Above: Chuck Erke, Main Street Chillicothe staff, and Main Street Chillicothe volunteers. Photo provided by Main Street Chillicothe.


Downtown Excelsior Partnership in Excelsior Springs, MO has nominated Carol Baxter for ‘I Spy… Great Work’. The nomination from Downtown Excelsior Partnership was submitted by Melinda Mehaffy on their board:


“Carol has been a long-term supporter, cheerleader, and volunteer for our downtown. During the summer months, you can find her out as early as 5:00 am watering flowers in our parks and our streetscape, she attends and volunteers at all of the Downtown Excelsior Partnership events. Carol embodies "giving of her time, talents and treasures" and is an important volunteer in our downtown and in our community. She speaks out about the value of downtown and is always pushing forward all the good our downtown has done.”


Pictured Above: Carol Baxter and Lyndsey Baxter of Downtown Excelsior Partnership. Photo provided by Downtown Excelsior Partnership.


Fayette Main Street in Fayette, MO has nominated Frank Flaspohler for ‘I Spy… Great Work’. The nomination from Fayette Main Street was submitted by Cara Owings on their board’s behalf:


“Frank helped create the Fayette Festival of Lights for Fayette Main Street, a wonderful new attraction added to our downtown area for the holidays, and spent many, many hours leading the efforts to install 10,000+ Christmas lights and the software program to create a light show on the courthouse building. The Fayette Festival of Lights was a light show synchronized to music that ran every night for 2-3 hours in December. Frank's vision, leadership, and volunteer hours contributed to the success of the event. The lights are a tremendous new attraction for our downtown, which drew more than three thousand people to the kickoff celebration on December 3rd; hundreds more from neighboring towns around Mid-Missouri throughout the month; and there was great media coverage with radio personalities present. The light show was talked about for weeks with many saying the light show and activities around the square were like stepping into a Hallmark movie and people cannot wait until the light show again in 2023. Without Frank this wouldn't have been successful.”


Pictured Above: Frank Flaspohler. Photo provided by Fayette Main Street.


Glasgow Main Street in Glasgow, MO has nominated Kimberly Reckner for ‘I Spy… Great Work’. The nomination from Glasgow Main Street was submitted by Nikki Gouge on their board:


“Kimberly has been a great addition to Glasgow Main Street. The list of her contributions to our community is astonishing, from building our website and driving tour to streamlining our event ticket sales, grant writing, and providing legal advice. She is constantly doing research on our town and finding new ways to promote it. She is an asset to our organization and to our community.”


 Pictured Above: Kimberly Reckner. Photo provided by Glasgow Main Street.


These nominees are not the only people volunteering in Missouri as there was a total of 9,712 volunteer hours reported in 2023 equating to $308,841.60, a huge community investment in downtowns across the state!


Missouri Main Street Connection recognizes the time it takes and sacrifices made of volunteer hours at a nonprofit and alongside our local Main Street programs and 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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Missouri Main Street Connection Inc. (MMSC) partnered with the Missouri Humanities Council in awarding $5,000 grants to 12 selected communities through a competitive process to fund projects focused on strengthening heritage and cultural tourism in rural Missouri. The grant helped each community implement a project and market itself to prospective visitors. These projects added heritage tourism to the economies in each community through a range of projects from murals to walking tours to new monuments and building plaques that all highlight each respective community’s history for residents and visitors. One of the Marketing Heritage and Cultural Tourism grants was awarded to Vision Carthage in March of 2022 with the project completed in October of 2022.


Vision Carthage is the Main Street organization for Carthage, Missouri. They are one of several Main Streets in Missouri whose communities are the county seat and has their Courthouse Square as a part of their district. The Jasper County courthouse sits in the heart of Carthage’s historic downtown district with beautiful architectural detail making it a crown jewel for the community. It is this historic courthouse that provides visitors sidewalks to walk around with the best view of the district and all the change that has occurred over the decades.



The “Downtown Historic District Walking Tour” guide book was imagined to focus on Carthage’s historical significance, unique architectural structures, and its heritage and cultural significance from maple leaves and Route 66 to its courthouse and, most notably, Carthage limestone. Abi Alamdinger shared about the significance of Carthage limestone and its role in Missouri that gained it recognition, “Carthage became known for limestone which was polished into Carthage marble and used in the interiors and exteriors of buildings, including the State Capitol.”



Using the “Downtown Historic District Walking Tour” guide book, visitors are invited to ‘take a step back in time’ around the square plus additional buildings of interest outside the Square proper. Within the guide book, visitors will find historical details of the buildings surrounding the courthouse which were curated from historic sources from the Carthage Public Library by Vision Carthage’s promotion committee. Each page contains a picture professionally taken of the building between June and September of 2022 as well as any relevant historic photographs.



The stories of how Carthage has changed over time are now accessible to more people that visit Carthage for the day, or longer, and learn about this rural city. One interesting part about the districts presented in the guide book is the reason why so many of Carthage’s buildings are brick or stone. The guide describes the historic background of this phenomenon as, “During the early years, much was lost due to fire…As buildings were being rebuilt it was strongly urged that they be built out of brick or stone to alleviate the fire hazard.” There are over 30 different building highlights for you to discover through the guide book when you visit Carthage.


It wouldn’t be a trip to Main Street without checking out the current businesses inside these historic buildings. The impact of the walking tour is that it draws people in who are heritage tourists or life-long learners. While they explore and learn, they also shop and eat supporting the local economy.


Next time you are in Carthage bring your own copy of the “Downtown Historic District Walking Tour” by printing it from VisionCarthage.org or ExperienceCarthageMO.com. You can pick up a printed copy in the district to guide your walk around the courthouse.


Missouri Main Street Connection awarded the Marketing Heritage & Cultural Tourism Grants in partnership with the Missouri Humanities Council and the National Endowment for Humanities through the American Rescue Plan Act.

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The Downtown Strong: Building Resilient Economies grant is a grant provided by the U.S. Economic Development Administration through Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) that continues to impact Missouri communities.


The startup of a downtown organization takes hard work that often initially goes unseen by the community. The Pleasant Hill Historic District (PHHD) was no different. Their volunteer board of directors spent 2019 working to organize the nonprofit organization, setting up the 501(c)(3) status, adopting bylaws, and preparing materials for fundraising. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit just as they were gearing up for their first public partnership drive resulting in a loss of momentum for the organization. 



Realizing that effective communication with their community was now more important than ever, they looked to the Downtown Strong Grant to solidify and enhance their communication efforts.  Under the grant, consultant firm Mysamaris helped the volunteers develop a communication plan and build a website to gain support and build confidence as they began to make their plans public and share future goals.

The PHHD board saw that even though the organization’s momentum might have slipped, the COVID-19 Pandemic brought a renewed interest in small businesses. PHHD’s board wanted to build on this interest to both rebuild their momentum and to continue to build more interest in the local downtown business community. They worked with Mysamaris to develop a welcoming and engaging website that created interest in the district.



Mysamaris helped them develop a website that is easy to manage, which also provides a strong business directory, up to date event information, and maps of surrounding bike trails to help draw a broader customer. These features promote the district bringing feet to the streets and into stores and is a tangible sign of the investment PHHD was making in support of the downtown business community. 



But the website wasn’t enough. The Board needed a plan to better communicate on all levels. If the organization was going to regain momentum and move forward, it had to not only sell the downtown, but it also had to find solutions that allowed for better communication. Mysamaris helped the Board set up organizational emails to support incoming communications. They went on to help the organization set up and utilize Constant Contact and aided in developing a strategy for how to use it. In addition, they provided documented training that could be used to train future volunteers and staff.

The behind the scenes work with Mysamaris provided PHHD the tools necessary to regain momentum, to more effectively communicate both internally and externally, and to better promote the district as a destination.  



The services included in this article were 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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The City of Sedalia continues to work towards revitalizing its downtown district through the city-led Main Street program formed using services provided by Missouri Main Street Connection’s People Energizing Places (PEP) matching grant. As a 75/25 matching grant with Missouri Main Street, 75% of the grant service costs are covered by Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC), the PEP grant is a great way to leverage local dollars to elevate or focus downtown revitalization efforts with the help of Main Street specialists.


Through the administration of PEP’s specialized trainings, Sedalia’s new board of directors, committee chairs, and volunteers have advanced their knowledge of facilitating and implementing preservation-based economic development.  Several recent trainings included services under the Promotion point of the Main Street Approach™ and more specifically creating a brand identity for the newly formed city-led Main Street program. 


Ben Muldrow is a branding specialist and partner with Arnett Muldrow & Associates, a creative planning firm. He has experience working in over 550 communities in 40 states and five countries.  In addition, Ben has worked in over 25 Missouri communities creating branding strategies and tools for many Main Street organizations and districts.  He spent three days in Sedalia meeting with stakeholders and city leadership to develop new branding for the downtown district and the organization.  The feedback from the stakeholders referenced the architecture from the district, being flexible for various uses, and that it should work with the new City of Sedalia branding.  Ben also took inspiration from Sedalia Main Street’s transformation strategies focused on creating an entertainment and family-friendly downtown.




The new branding debuted during a brand-unveiling presentation on the third day of the visit. During this presentation, Ben walked through the new branding recommendations he created based on the input sessions with complete explanations of the contents of the branding toolkit including colors, typefaces, graphics, and messaging. He elaborated on each section of the branding toolkit with its inspiration and connection to what he gathered from Sedalia’s stakeholders. The Main Street logo is anchored by the archway which is a one of the gateways into the downtown district. Downtown’s branding color palette expanded allowing the use of several colors found in the downtown district, one example being the red brick of several buildings in the district. This provides some flexibility to the system for the graphics and logos to reflect seasonal use and events. 



The City’s new branding typeface and fonts were used as the primary font for the Sedalia Main Street logo.  Another part of the City’s new branding integrated by Ben for the downtown branding was the tag line “Cross Paths.” 



Sedalia Main Street accepted Ben’s recommendations, meaning the newly formed Main Street program now has their own identify and look with new graphics presented for the downtown organization and its efforts.  All of the assets created will be available for Sedalia Main Street to create marketing and event materials.




This branding system will be integrated into all things Main Street from events, marketing and promotional materials, branding resources and programs offered downtown, integration into wayfinding signage, and shared with vendors for merchandise and souvenirs.  Included in the branding service was an implementation checklist and complete style guide to promote proper usage and tools to help integrate the new tools into programming and communications. 


If your Main Street program is interested in accelerating the downtown revitalization efforts or need some assistance with a specific project, contact Missouri Main Street Connection at 417-334-3014 or email Keith Winge at kwinge@momainstreet.org about the PEP grant or other grants that are available.  

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Progress is a big deal in Main Street from the first façade renovation and new businesses opening downtown to being recognized for your local Main Street organization’s preservation-based economic development efforts. This year, two local Main Street organizations have been recognized for their accomplishments in implementing the Main Street Approach™ through progressing to the next tier in the Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) tier system. MMSC is proud to recognize Downtown Joplin Alliance and Uptown Jackson Revitalization Organization for their achievement of Accredited and Associate tier placement respectively.


The Downtown Joplin Alliance achieved national and state accreditation from both Main Street America (MSA) and MMSC. Accreditation is the highest level a Main Street program can achieve and indicates that Downtown Joplin Alliance is exceeding in implementing the Main Street criteria impacting their local district in big ways. The National and State designation of accreditation came after Norma Ramirez de Miess, MSA, and Keith Winge, MMSC, completed an on-site review of the organization’s implementation of the Main Street criteria. Reaching this benchmark does not mean revitalization ends as it is equally important to maintain the accreditation status once earned.


In 2021, Downtown Joplin Alliance, through their program’s strong historic preservation ethic, active Board of Directors and committees, as well as other technical aspects that help the program function at a high-level, saw public and private investment of over $45 million in the historic district from 36 projects. The district saw a net gain of 19 new business and 54 new jobs. Additionally, volunteers for Downtown Joplin Alliance donated 1,425 hours of their time. Downtown Joplin Alliance celebrated this accomplishment with a cake from the City of Joplin and said,

“This would not have been reached without our staff, our board, our committee members, our other fabulous volunteers, and all of our fantastic partners, such as Joplin City Government, the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, and Connect2Culture amongst many others.”



The Uptown Jackson Revitalization Organization was selected as a new Associate tiered Main Street program with Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) following a program review by MMSC.  Associate designation is recognized by MMSC as a way to distinguish communities that are working toward being recognized as a national and state Accredited Main Street program.  As a stepping stone on the path to full accreditation, this benchmark highlights communities that are seeing an increase in the economic value of the downtown and is making progress to achieve an active and vibrant downtown revitalization organization.


During 2021, Uptown Jackson Revitalization Organization continued to implement historic preservation-based economic development in uptown Jackson that cultivated $461,382 total investment in downtown, 22 net new jobs, and 2,272 volunteer hours. Their impact has created a place for people to gather, live, and work in uptown Jackson


You can read the press releases written by MMSC staff through the link below:



The Main Street Approach™ is a time-tested economic development and historic preservation-based approach utilized successfully over the past 40+ years by over 40 coordinating programs and 1,200 neighborhoods and communities nationally. Missouri Main Street Connection’s program’s purpose is to implement this approach in creating vibrant communities across the state. The current Main Street criteria that is used to gauge the effectiveness of how a Main Street Program in implementing the Main Street Approach™ is based on over 40 years of successful downtown revitalization and demonstrates that empowering individuals to develop their downtown motivates high achievement, creates a place people will want to live, work and invest, and makes our state economically stronger. The goal of the National Main Street Center and Missouri Main Street Connection is to encourage preservation-based economic development through the Main Street Approach™.

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Missouri Main Street Connection Inc. (MMSC) partnered with the Missouri Humanities Council in awarding $5,000 grants to 12 selected communities through a competitive process to fund projects focused on strengthening heritage and cultural tourism in rural Missouri. The grant helped each community implement a project and market itself to prospective visitors. These projects added heritage tourism to the economies in each community through a range of projects from murals to walking tours to new monuments and building plaques that all highlight each respective community’s history for residents and visitors. One of the Marketing Heritage and Cultural Tourism grant was awarded to Charleston Revitalization Movement (CHARM) in March of 2022 with the project completed in September of 2022.

Charleston Revitalization Movement (CHARM) is a newer Main Street community in the Community Empowerment Grant program but their history and local significance runs deep. From being the lifelong residence of the 46th Governor of Missouri, Warren E. Hearnes, who was the first person in Missouri history to serve in all three branches of the state government to their high school basketball team’s, the Bluejay, twelve state championship titles, the community has a variety of heritage and history to celebrate. It is this deep, rich history that would be on display with a 24’ mural in a welcoming pocket park following the transformation of an overgrown vacant lot left after a building was removed.  


Charleston Revitalization Movement’s (CHARM) overall project is broken up into two phases with phase one being the mural and intial development of the pocket park. During phase one, the first step was to address the condition of the space for the pocket park by removing a tree and overgrown brush and poison ivy.



After clearing the lot, the concrete pad of the old building was exposed allowing for CHARM to preserve it with safety modifications for its new use. As the work was being done on this project CHARM said,

“On more than one occasion, visitors to the area stopped by to see what was taking place as well as offer encouraging words of how much they enjoy visiting our town and how beautiful the architecture and the atmosphere is.”

Next, a 10’ concrete ramp was installed for ADA accessibility and benches placed for locals and visitors to enjoy. The mural was then installed in the park. It is a digitized collage of artwork from three local artist that is printed on weatherproof materials depicting the Mississippi County Courthouse surrounded by beautiful dogwoods and azaleas, the Old Train Depot, a farming scene, a tribute to Charleston High School’s Bluejay Basketball team, and a portrait of Governor Warren E. Hearnes. Lastly, CHARM brought in planters and botanicals to spruce up and soften the space with nature and greenery.



The Marketing Heritage and Cultural Tourism grant has mobilized Charleston Revitalization Movement (CHARM) into action to address a void in their community and by doing so created the perfect environment for people to come together as CHARM wrote in their final report,

“This project has allowed local organizations and city leaders to join forces for the common good of the community. Local business owners have pitched in and contributed in-kind donations of their employee’s labor to help get the larger tasks completed. The community is pulling together and healing from the impact of the past few years.”

With the collaboration between CHARM board members and volunteers as well as Charleston community members in transforming the overgrown property, this space will be able to be used by the community for years to come. The excitement from the development of this space in Charleston has created a buzz for the locals and has sparked excitement in the community resulting in “people signing up to get involved in not only this project but future projects as well.”



Now that phase one has been completed, Charleston Revitalization Movement (CHARM) is waiting for the winter season to pass before moving forward with phase two which will include an elaborate selection of botanicals planted for year-round enjoyment. They also planned to bring additional enhancements to the pocket park in the spring of 2023 for the annual Dogwood-Azalea Festival in April. CHARM had heard many visitors express that they plan to return to see the finished project. Now that the pocket park and mural are ready to greet visitors, CHARM will share their story online to bring back visitors who saw this project in the works as well as new visitors to see what is unique and special about this town and its Main Street.

Missouri Main Street Connection awarded the Marketing Heritage & Cultural Tourism Grants in partnership with the Missouri Humanities Council and the National Endowment for Humanities through the American Rescue Plan Act.

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Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) offers two matching grants to help downtown organizations with their economic development efforts.  The People Energizing Places (PEP) Grant and the Strategic Teams Engaging People (STEP) Grant are a two-year and one-year grants for services, respectively.


MMSC is currently working with Sedalia and St. Charles through the PEP Grant.  The City of Sedalia applied and awarded the grant in January of 2021 to start a city-led Main Street program.  City officials had previous experience with Main Street and wanted help forming a local Main Street program that utilized an already established downtown city commission to serve as the leadership team.  MMSC did not have a city-led Main Street program in Missouri but, through the national Main Street network, knew there were successful city-led Main Street programs in other states.  Keith Winge, State Community Development Director, reached out to various Main Street State Coordinators to learn the ins-and-outs of Main Street programs housed within city government.   


Nation-wide most Main Street programs are established as non-profit, public benefit organizations designated as 501(c)3 organizations by the Internal Revenue Service.  There are also 501(c)6 membership based Main Street programs and Main Street organizations established as part of city or county government entities.  Each format has pros and cons ranging from the ability to take advantage of grant opportunities and encourage volunteer engagement with the 501(c)3 to the stability of wages and benefits in a city or county program.  The 501(c)6 format serves members and is not eligible for some grants while a city-led program must work harder to get volunteers involved.  MMSC reviewed the pros and cons with the City of Sedalia and they settled on the city-led Main Street format. 


Keith Winge began transforming the current Central Business and Cultural District Board into the Main Street leadership Board of Directors.  A community survey and stakeholder input session also took place to gather input on how downtown is used and what the community would like to see downtown with regards to businesses and activities.  This input helped with the formation of Main Street Transformation Strategies, also known as economic strategies, to guide the work of the newly formed Main Street program.  Using that data and feedback, MMSC recommended the Main Street program focus on creating a family friendly and entertainment strategy.  The City of Sedalia’s Main Street committees, will begin planning projects and initiatives that will use the Transformation Strategies as their guide.  Guided work with MMSC through the PEP grant will continue until the end of 2022 to help the City build their Main Street program.


St. Charles is a different story in that their downtown district is one of the quintessential downtowns in Missouri.  It has very little vacancy and many thriving downtown businesses, but the district lacked a formal organization to keep those efforts going.  A group of business and property owners got together to apply for the PEP grant for help in creating a Main Street organization to keep the downtown thriving into the future.  In April of 2022 Keith started with a day-long assessment of the current stakeholder groups by gathering feedback on what was and was not working in the district.


The group had already established a non-profit, 501(c)3 and Keith began helping them fill the Board of Directors reflecting the various stakeholder groups, diverse skillsets, and demographics representing the community-at-large.  The Main Street principles and philosophy were taught to the new Board of Directors equipping them to lead this new organization.  This new board is now recruiting and forming the Main Street committees.  These committees will brainstorm projects and initiatives, develop action plans, and implement those plans.  This two-year grant is entering its second year with MMSC finalizing the administration of the grant in 2023 where the St. Charles Main Street organization will continue to develop the committees, determine priorities, and continue to build a strong foundation to keep the momentum going in downtown St. Charles for their future.


If your Main Street program or downtown are interested in one of MMSC’s matching grant programs, reach out to Keith Winge at kwinge@momainstreet.org or by calling 417-334-3014.

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The Downtown Strong: Building Resilient Economies grant is a grant provided by the U.S. Economic Development Administration through Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) that continues to impact Missouri communities. These communities have been receiving technical assistance through services and trainings that deliver economic development strategies, resources, and final products that strengthen businesses and local Main Street organizations negatively impacted by the economic hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The Historic Independence Square in Independence, Missouri is home to Corporate Copy Print who has serviced countless clients for their communication needs over the past 27+ years. Prior to 2020, the owner of Corporate Copy Print had been planning on a succession plan for a while. No matter the size or age of a company, transitions can be rough. Corporate Copy Print is an anchor business for the local economy. It was important to get the succession of its owners correct for the longevity of the business and the health of the local economy. The planning was good and the timing was right for the retirement of the founding owner, yet leadership was struggling with identifying the best way to achieve the transition.



Then, in March 2020, Corporate Copy Print experienced a devastating blow. During the COVID-19 shutdown, Corporate Copy Print went from a booming print shop with a staff of twelve to a ghost town of two within ten short days.  Despite the company’s increased productivity through investment in equipment, streamlining of processes, and their long-time emphasis on diversification, the damage was done by the pandemic shutdowns and slowed economy. As time passed and companies were able to resume business in limited capacity with safety measures in place, business picked up again and, along with the Payroll Protection Plan, the business was able to call back most of their staff.


The owner of Corporate Copy Print saw the opportunity in the Downtown Strong Grant to work with professionals to address their top needs and help them recover from the punch of 2020. They needed help with a transition plan and, realizing that social media is key, help with a social media plan and engagement. To address the needs of the company, they were connected with two consultants, one to help with the transition and one to address their social media marketing needs.


MarksNelson worked with Corporate Copy Print to analyze their business and provide clarifying direction for their succession plans that had been in place. The plan had been to transition ownership to an employee that had been working in the business for over five years, but there were a lot of considerations and they needed a little guidance. Owner Tom Waters remarked that the information provided by MarksNelson really helped with their transition which is now in process.


Pictured above left to right: New owners Jeff McLaughlin and Emily Penrose McLaughlin and previous owners Tom Waters and Susan Waters.

On the social media side, Mysamaris worked with Corporate Copy Print on developing a plan to increase their engagement. They knew this was a key area of marketing they needed to focus on. Reaching their current and potential clients with engaging and consistent messaging was an identified struggle. Mysamaris guided them through the process of developing a plan, a calendar, and budget suggestions along with tips on implementation that would engage their clients in a way that would set them apart from their competitors by reflecting their desired brand identity of being lighthearted and fun.


The Downtown Strong Grant helped Corporate Copy Print through a transition process that businesses don’t always survive.  Tom noted that assistance through the Downtown Strong Grant “could help the next owner keep this Main Street business viable for another 27 years.” Transferring the ownership from the long-time owner to an employee took a strategic, deliberate, and well-timed plan. Corporate Copy Print and its owners not only made it through the transition, but are thriving on the other side!


The services included in this article were 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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Exciting things are happening in Missouri Main Street Connection’s Community Empowerment Grant program! Currently, there are 16 communities receiving technical assistance through this program. The Community Empowerment Grant helps develop a strong Main Street board of directors & program while establishing strategies & implementation measures based on community feedback. The two newest communities accepted into the Community Empowerment Grant program are Grain Valley and Gallatin.

Grain Valley is a community of about 15,000 in eastern Jackson County. The City of Grain Valley and local partners have been heavily involved with revitalization efforts in the community. Recently, as part of those revitalization efforts, a survey was conducted asking for feedback on areas for future planning efforts. Downtown revitalization was one area repeatedly identified by respondents. With the community’s support, and in conjunction with local partners, the City of Grain Valley reached out to Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) and applied for the Community Empowerment Grant. Through the technical assistance and trainings provided through the Community Empowerment Grant, they will build a strong, sustainable organization to help lead downtown revitalization efforts. 



Pictured above is a building in Grain Valley’s commercial district which was provided by Grain Valley in their application.

Gallatin, the other community recently accepted into the Community Empowerment Grant program, is a community of about 1,700 and sits as the county seat of Daviess County. The City of Gallatin has been working with building and business owners concerning the direction of the downtown area and determined it was time to reach out to MMSC for assistance. With financial assistance from the Greenhills Regional Planning Commission, the City of Gallatin applied and was accepted into the program. In Gallatin, there is already a dedicated organization working to revitalize the downtown area, so MMSC is working with this organization to transition it into a comprehensive, Main Street-focused organization.



Pictured above is several of their storefronts on their commercial district which was provided by Gallatin in their application.


Each community showed, through its application and in conversations with various stakeholders in the community, how they were poised to implement the Main Street Approach ™ in their respective downtowns. MMSC is excited to bring technical services to each community and watch the growth of their downtowns. 

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Main Street America has updated the criteria for accreditation of local Main Street programs. Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) has been working with its local programs to ensure they are ready for the official launch of the new accreditation standards in 2024. The national criteria changed from ten standards to only six standards with a consolidation of some criteria and an emphasis on people, collaboration, and impact measurement built into the new criteria. MMSC started introducing the changes two years ago with a self-assessment in 2021 and 2022. An on-site visit took place in August that tested the application of the new criteria which MMSC introduced as a pilot program to test the new criteria in person with Main Street America staff visiting ten Missouri Main Street programs.

Seven Accredited and three Associate tier Missouri Main Street programs were visited during the weeks of August 15 - 22, 2022. While most of the visits were educational and didn’t alter the designation of accreditation, Downtown Joplin Alliance asked to be evaluated for accreditation.

Cape Girardeau, Chillicothe, Excelsior Springs, Lee’s Summit, Liberty, Warrensburg, and Washington are currently accredited with Clinton, Independence, and Joplin at the Associate tier, a few steps away from accreditation. 

Each visit to these communities included Norma Rameriz de Miess, Vice-President of Revitalization Services, and Keith Winge, MMSC’s State Community Development Director. The team spent about seven hours with each Main Street program’s leadership, staff, volunteers, partners, and city officials to learn more about the program’s successes and areas for growth or opportunities for advancement. These observations were shared in a presentation to each program’s board of directors and partners to assist in planning and action steps for implementation at the end of the visit. Overall, Norma was impressed with implementation of the new standards reflecting the partnerships and collaboration to make each community’s downtown a vibrant place. Areas that were recommended the most for further development in many of the local programs were related to volunteer engagement, packaging the measured impact of Main Street locally, and partner support efforts.



Downtown Joplin Alliance was reviewed this year with an eye on accreditation. The local Main Street program has been working to impact downtown Joplin since 1989 with some ups and down through the years. The organization reached out to MMSC in 2017 to help them focus their efforts using the Main Street principles. The board was strengthened and the committees re-energized. Now, vacancy is low, partnerships are strong, and a contract for services secured with the city. Downtown Joplin Alliance’s hard work has paid off as Main Street America and Missouri Main Street bestowed accreditation on the eighth Main Street program is Missouri.

Main Street America will be back in 2024 to assess the Accredited and Associate communities once again in Missouri Main Street tier system, when the new standards will be fully implemented nationwide. This timeline allows local Main Street program and their community to further use the standards in improving their downtown revitalization efforts. MMSC will work with its local programs to provide technical and organizational services that help them make a bigger impact for the various stakeholders within the downtown and community as a whole.

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