Tag Archives: Main Street

Rural Urbanism?

In the last several years, my travels have taken me to Denver Colorado, Washington D.C., Dallas Texas, Chicago Illinois, Detroit Michigan, and Phoenix Arizona. Not to mention the dozens and dozens of towns I have visited with my husband in a quest to have seen every town in the state of Missouri.

There is an excitement that used to exist in the thrill of experiencing something new. To visually see the culture of someplace I had never seen before. From the airport to the city destination, a ride through the suburbs typically introduces the landscape of the region. City after city, town after town, highway after by-way….they all look the same.

CVS, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Home Depot, McDonalds, Bed Bath and Beyond. You get the point. The same buildings, the same businesses, the same colors. The only differences are Oak trees vs. Palm Trees. Mountains vs. Plains. There is nothing unique about anywhere in America until you find its old downtown core, if it is still standing. Adventure St. Charles

It might only be one block long, or four blocks squared, however it is artwork in a world where every canvas has the same painting. This, my fellow Americans, is where the future wants to be, and if your suburb or your rural historic downtown has even a thread of salvage-ability to it, it is time to start investing.

This is about generations, and the cultures that go with them. These are the places that get visited, lived in, and most of all where wallets open up. Almost every town has an historic downtown. Provide the benefits people are looking for (especially the Millenials) and like a perfect garden…watch it grow. Not only do unique retail and dining establishments thrive in these areas, they are wanted! These are the type of establishments that can naturally survive the big box chains. Even more with the growing trend of conscious consumerism, these are the places those purchases are likely to be found. If you need any more convincing, designated commercial buildings can use Federal Historic Tax Credits for restoration (which is the greenest –Extreme Green Campaign– choice available).
Here in Missouri, we still have State Historic Tax Credits, and quite honestly these tax credits are often the only way some downtown’s can be revived, increasing commerce, homeownership, and decreasing crime.

In regards to this topic, 2013 Target Market Visitors to the State of Missouri participated in the following:
48% Shopping
39% Dining at Unique Local Restaurants
18% Visiting a Historic Site
17% Visiting Quaint Attractions/Small Towns
8% Wineries
6% Breweries
Data provided by SMARI Ad/PR Effectiveness Study-CY13

If you already have a growing downtown keep it going! And by the way…keep it open. 70% of all purchases in downtown areas happen after 6pm Roger Brooks International.

Here’s to Happy Historic Sustainability!

Audrey L. Elder
Past to Present Research LLC
Research, Consulting and Education

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Posted by on August 14, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Skipping Black Friday

The storefront window display at River Reader Bookstore in Lexington, MO, shows that they mean business this Saturday.

The storefront window display at River Reader Bookstore in Lexington, MO, shows that they mean business this Saturday.

I’ve never really jumped onto the Black Friday bandwagon. I’m not really a morning person, and I’m usually still experiencing the “turkey coma” after a full day of feasting on Thanksgiving. I’m usually more of a last-minute, oh-my-goodness-tomorrow-is-Christmas kind of a shopper, and certainly not in any hurry to beat crowds let alone be trampled by other shoppers eager to snatch that “gotta have it” gift. Overall, Black Friday has nothing I’m interested in. It’s just not my cup of tea.

However, there is another shopping day directly following it that I can wholeheartedly say that I won’t miss. Small Business Saturday.

Why do I support this, and not the other?

  • Our downtowns thrive off of small businesses. They are at the hearts of our communities, and by supporting these businesses you are giving back to your community by keeping your tax dollars LOCAL.
  • Small businesses and the products and services they provide bring CHARACTER to Main Street. As shop owners set up shop and pursue their American Dream, they bring their personalities, passions, and values into their businesses in ways that Big Box stores cannot. They are as unique as their products.
  • They usually have a goal or a story to express what their store is all about, and are generally approachable enough and CONNECTED with the community to share it with you.

Small Business Saturday was established in 2010, and has been gaining steam over the last several years. Just last year it helped bring 70 million shoppers to Main Street, generating about $5.5 billion going straight into their local economies, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s estimates. That’s certainly nothing to scoff at. Here’s to hoping that this year can be even more successful than the last.

For more information and to find participating businesses, visit the event’s website here. You can also get connected and follow the movement on Facebook and Twitter @ShopSmall, then tweet your amazing finds #ShopSmall.

Why do you love small businesses? Leave us your reasons in the comments.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Liana Twente

Past to Present Research, LLC

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Posted by on November 27, 2013 in Main Street


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