Main Street Now May/June 2010

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May-June 2010 Main Street Now CoverDirector's Column

By Doug Loescher

After attending the 2010 annual BALLE Conference, Doug brings back some ideas about how Main Street can strive to build local alliances of sustainable businesses, socially responsible investors, and leading-edge thinkers bursting at the seams with bold ideas. Learn more about the concept of local living economies and its connection to the work Eastern Market is doing in Detroit.

Beyond Farmers' Markets: Building Local Food Systems

By Dan Carmody

Communities of all sizes are dealing with food deserts: absences of grocery stores, farmers markets, or other sources of fresh food. To address this health concern and to stimulate the local economy, revitalization programs are well poised to change area food systems. Join Dan Carmody in his quest for food as the president of the Eastern Market Corp. in Detroit and learn strategies that all four Main Street committees can adapt to improve access to fresh food (from processing to distribution to retailing) and make your community more sustainable.

The Story of the Pink Palace: From Nightmare to Fairy Tale

By Judy Tighe

While Main Street programs are focused on commercial district revitalization, more and more organizations are delving into holistic community development by taking on rehabilitations and real estate development for homes in residential neighborhoods adjacent to the downtown. The Jacksonville (Ill.) Main Street program has a success story to share about its first foray into a community-driven project that took a once-beautiful but long-derelict home and turned it into a completely rehabbed dream home… and inspired other nearby homeowners to focus on their own improvement projects to help stabilize the neighborhood.

Shop Talk: A Sign of the Times

By Margie Johnson

Your business' sign communicates a lot about your image and is an important advertising tool. Is it easy to read? Does it convey your shop's personality? Does it make people want to come in? Margie asks some questions to get you thinking about how your sign works for you.

Profitable Solutions: Is There a Doctor in the House?

By Tom Shay

Downtown promotions are very important to the sense of community, vibrancy of a district, and individual businesses. Tom talks about how you can check the health of your promotions and why these activities are so important to all stakeholders.

Network Notes

By Andrea L. Dono

The New Rules Project has policies and strategies to help new and expanding businesses; The Food Trust's Fresh Food Financing Initiative and Baltimore's Virtual Supermarket Project are helping underserved communities get nourishing food to its residents; Sweet Water Organics brings indoor urban farming to an older industrial building downtown; and we have some tips for dealing with introverts. Around the Network, the Downtown Frederick Partnership has a dog-friendly business directory and held its first Four Square Day, Old Town Lansing is renting out bikes, Rehoboth Beach Main Street set up walk-by art installations, Waycross Main Street is raising money for Christmas, Minnesota is signing up its first local programs, Main Street Newnan has a good idea for encouraging good parking behavior and Iron Mountain Main Street issued a free rent business plan challenge. Lastly, we have tips to help your organization use Twitter.