More than 2,000 historic downtowns are part of the National Main Street program. They are “united by… tireless dedication to create vibrant, people centered places to live, work and play.”
The Main Street Approach
Design (planning + aesthetics)
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
Design means getting Main Street into top physical shape. A prosperous, attractive downtown business district becomes a visible barometer for the well-being of the entire community. An inviting atmosphere can be created through restored historic buildings, window displays, parking areas, signs, sidewalks, street lights, and landscaping; good design conveys a visual message.
Economic Vitality (retain + recruit + assist)
“Once an organization loses its spirit of pioneering and rests on its early work, its progress stops.” – Thomas J. Watson
Economic vitality ultimately means establishing a strategy for positive economic change by attracting investment downtown. By helping existing downtown businesses expand and recruiting new ones, a successful Main Street maintains a productive, healthy downtown district.
Organization (partnerships + engagement + communication)
“Basic philosophy, spirit and drive of an organization have far more to do with its relative achievements than do technological or economic resources, organizational structure, innovation and timing.” – Marvin Bower
Organization gets everyone working toward the same goal. By creating a volunteer-driven structure with a board of directors and committees, Main Street strives to maintain a financially strong organization with a supportive membership base and engaging events to create a sense of community.
Promotion (events + marketing)
“Word of mouth is the most valuable form of marketing, but you can’t buy it. You can only deliver it. And you have to really deliver.”
Promotion means promoting/selling the image and promise of a vibrant Main Street to all prospective businesses, residents and visitors. By marketing the district’s unique characteristics through advertising, retail promotional activities and special events, an effective promotion strategy forges a positive image to shoppers, investors, new businesses and visitors.