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

Communities across Missouri run successful farmers’ markets that grow their local economy through entrepreneurial and micro business development as well as business growth resulting in establishing brick-and-mortar locations in downtown storefronts. These farmers’ markets have been growing in popularity over the years and the COVID-19 pandemic served as a catalyst for their growth as people searched for safe environments and ways to support local economies. Downtown farmers’ markets are a source of downtown activity that bring people downtown and provide safe environments for people to shop local while keeping their money in the local economy and supporting local businesses as the downtown businesses reopened. In Missouri Main Street’s network Old Town Cape, Main Street Warrensburg, Downtown Joplin Alliance, Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, and Historic Downtown Liberty are farmers’ markets run by Accredited Main Street programs.   

 

 


Toward the end of the COVID-19 pandemic shut down in Missouri, Main Street Warrensburg saw a significant increase in the number of vendors and shoppers at their market. This increased interest in the downtown farmers’ market indicated to them that they had an opportunity to recruit and transition some of the vendors into brick-and-mortar businesses as well as solidify shoppers’ support of downtown. In addition, with all the buzz around the farmers’ market they could now revisit their dream of having a permanent location for their farmers’ market. 


The Warrensburg Farmers’ Market has been located in various downtown locations since its inception in 1996. As the market grew, the need for a permanent dedicated space became clear. Warrensburg Main Street, wanting to ensure the market stayed downtown, saw the opportunity to develop a plan through the Downtown Strong Grant. They applied for and received services from the Downtown Strong Grant to develop a master plan that would provide the tools needed to move their vision forward.

 



Initially, Warrensburg Main Street was considering a partnership with a downtown church and began discussions regarding a long-term lease of property that could serve as a more permanent location for the market. As discussions progressed, it became clear that a partnership with the city was a more sustainable and appropriate solution. A site was located on the west edge of downtown that encompassed existing parking lots and an obscure open space. Their grant consultant, Russ Volmert with FORA Planning, noted that these spaces could be converted into a dynamic, beautiful new public space. He envisioned the space becoming a ‘town commons,’ “a place where the community can thrive in the downtown and a place for the greater Warrensburg community.”

 



Through discussions with key stakeholders from Warrensburg Main Street and the City, Russ developed project goals and a scope of work. He would provide a site inventory/analysis, a schematic master plan, and preliminary cost estimates. Together, these could be used to generate support and help with future fundraising as well as in grant applications. The plan would create a multi-use space that could provide parking, recreation, event space, and a permanent home for the Downtown Warrensburg Farmers’ Market. More than a mere narrative it would be artistic and beautiful, adding to the aesthetic of Downtown Warrensburg and would attract people even when there is no programmed event scheduled.


Working with FORA Planning meant that both the organization’s eight-year discussion of a downtown public space and a permanent downtown location for their farmers’ market were finally within their grasp.

 

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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May is Preservation Month, the annual celebration of history, culture, and special places, designed to raise awareness about the power that historic preservation has to protect and enhance our historic communities. It’s the celebration of places that are meaningful to us. It is the telling of stories of the places we can’t live without.

 

In many Missouri communities, the old and new live side by side. Historic buildings not only give a community character but also emphasize sustainability. The preservation of unique neighborhoods containing historic landmarks ignites economic development and enriches communities. From first dates to family dinners and shopping trips to nights on the town, America’s thriving historic main streets are where we come together and share experiences that shape our lives and communities.1

WE’RE CELEBRATING MISSOURI’S TREASURES

 

In partnership with the Missouri State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), we are launching the #MoPlacesMatter campaign to raise awareness of Missouri’s historic treasures and their vital role in sustaining local communities. Over select dates in May, our Celebrate Preservation Month Road Show2 will visit four historic sites in Missouri dedicated to preserving our state’s historic resources and nine Missouri communities dedicated to preserving and revitalizing their historic districts to further enrich their communities and celebrate their heritage. Our campaign coincides with the #ThisPlaceMatters3 nationwide celebration observed by small towns and big cities with events ranging from architectural scavenger hunts and historic site tours to educational programs and heritage travel opportunities.

Southeast Missouri State University students learning how Historic Preservation and Main Street work together.  

 

Preservation Month is a great time to learn more about the activities going on around you in your community and state. The Celebrate Preservation Month Road Show is our project to engage the public in preserving historic places and increasing awareness of their role in sustaining local communities. Through the project, we hope to encourage Missouri citizens to learn more about the history surrounding them, discover new sites and communities, and understand the importance of preserving our history and historic places for generations to come. Think about the places in your community that mean the most to you. What are the “must see” or “must experience” places you take visitors from out of town? What places do you think about when you’re away from home and tell other people about your home town? How would your community change if these places were suddenly lost or modified beyond recognition?4

 

WE’RE HITTING THE ROAD TO VISIT THESE PLACES

 

The following communities and historic sites (selected by popular vote) are stops along the 2018 Celebrate Preservation Month Road Show. You can download the complete schedule here.

 

Cape Girardeau – Old Town Cape, Inc.

Chillicothe – Main Street Chillicothe

Excelsior Springs – Downtown Excelsior Springs Partnership

Independence – Harry S Truman National Historic Site

Jackson – Uptown Jackson Revitalization Organization

Jefferson City – Missouri Governor’s Mansion

Kansas City – Thomas Hart Benton Home & Studio State Historic Site

Lee’s Summit – Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, Inc.

Liberty – Historic Downtown Liberty, Inc.

Mansfield – Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum

Moberly – Main Street Moberly

Warrensburg – Warrensburg Main Street

Washington – Downtown Washington Inc.

Follow one of the official Celebrate Preservation Month Road Show cars to the places that matter to you! 

 

In addition to joining us on our Road Show, here are a few more things you can do to participate in Preservation Month5:

  • Read up on your community’s history.
  • Talk to preservationists and learn more about their ideas for your community.
  • Find out or review what properties or neighborhoods your community has listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Review the web pages of your local main street or downtown revitalization program, regional heritage area, and State Historic Preservation Organization (SHPO).
  • Take a tour of a rehabilitated building in your community such as a restored historic theater, historic courthouse or municipal building, or a historic school or commercial building converted to apartments or offices.
  • Take a walk around a nearby historic residential area or shop/dine in a historic commercial district.
  • Take a field trip to a nearby community with a strong historic preservation ethic or main street program.
  • Visit the Preservation Month web pages of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Park Service, and National Register of Historic Places.
  • Participate in other local Historic Preservation Month activities.

 

1Quote by Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

2This activity is partially funded by a grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, State Historic Preservation Office, and the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Grant awards do not imply an endorsement of contents by the grantor. Federal laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, age, handicap or ethnicity. For more information, write to the Office of Equal Opportunity, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington DC 20240.

3#ThisPlaceMatters is the annual campaign created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

4, 5"Preservation Can Be Inspiring – This Month (and Every Month),” by Amy Faca, May 7, 2013.

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Supporting small businesses deserves to be part of your everyday routine. Why?

 

Small business is BIG!

 

Did you know that of nearly 29 million businesses operating in the US (as of March 2016), 99.7% of those are small businesses? And that most are “self-employed,” many of which make up your local coffee shops, favorite local boutiques, go-to mom-and-pop deli, or local pet shop?

 

Small Business Saturday® was founded in 2010 by American Express as a day to support our local businesses nationally on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Subsequently the Shop Small movement, a concept more about supporting your local community every day all year, was introduced.

 


Ray's Diner in downtown Excelsior Springs, MO


Change Your Views on Prices


According to the American Independent Business Alliance, 48 percent of the money spent on purchases at local independent businesses is re-circulated locally. Less than 14 percent of purchases at chain stores stays within the community.

 

 
Work by a local artist in Moberly, MO


Why then do so many Americans overlook their local merchant and flock to chain stores without considering the smaller options? Misconceptions play a large role in shopping decisions, the most common being that prices will automatically be higher in small businesses.

 

Truth is, vendors control pricing of most products and provide a Manufactured Suggested Retail Price that tell both big box stores and small businesses the price the product should be sold at.

 

Choose Quality Over Quantity


A big box store is – well, bigger – so that means they have more variety to offer you, right? Wrong. It just means the assortment of inventory is deeper, not more diverse. Small, independent businesses stock a broader range of unique choices based on the interests of the owner and their local customers.

 

When you walk into a local business, the inventory options often surprise you. This is to your advantage and is among the many reasons to frequent your local stores more often.

 

 
Dickens Christmas 2015 in downtown Warrensburg, MO


Can’t find what you’re looking for? Small store owners can likely get in touch with a vendor and order an item for you right away.

 

Receive a Unique, Personalized Experience


Most small store owners are eager to go above and beyond to deliver stronger customer service. Having a more hands-on role within the company, they build a stronger sense of care for the job they do with more personalized and noteworthy customer care.

 

 
Holiday Open House 2016 in downtown Blue Springs, MO


While every business is different, what makes customer care among small businesses more valuable is just that – it’s different. Do you want one-size-fits-all service, or would you prefer a unique experience?

 

Invest in Your Community


When you shop local, you invest in your community. You support families and individual artists and crafters. In turn, local business owners are more likely to recycle a larger share of their revenue back to the local economy. They are also more likely to support local causes in your community.

 

Small businesses inspire local character and prosperity by strengthening partnerships among residents, other small business owners, community leaders and schools. They deliver economic advantages like creating more jobs locally and guaranteeing a broader range of products. They help to sustain vibrant, walkable town centers and reduce sprawl, automobile use, and pollution to the town they are positioned in.

 

 
Tout Your Tote Campaign in Historic Downtown Liberty, MO


What happens when YOU shop local? Shopping local on Small Business Saturday®, on any Saturday, or on any other day in between builds strong communities and develops economic and social relationships. You benefit. Your community benefits.

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