Month List

Main Street Lexington Steering Committee visits Chillicothe

by Ben White, Director 25. March 2014 16:12

Chillicothe shares Main Street success stories with Lexington Committee members.

The newly formed Steering Committee for Main Street Lexington is not wasting any time in gathering helpful data and ideas from cities that have demonstrated successful downtown redevelopment projects. On Friday, March 14th, a delegation of members from Main Street Lexington accompanied by Ward 1 City Councilman Harold Bonanomi visited the city of Chillicothe.

“Chillicothe has achieved great success through the Main Street program – and we wanted to have a frank conversation with their folks to see what worked and what didn’t” said Chip Langman, Chair of the Lexington Main Street Steering Committee. “Our goal is not to reinvent the wheel, but to see how we can best integrate our efforts with the number of groups already doing great things in Lexington” Langman continued.

During the visit, Steering Committee members from Lexington met with Chillicothe Main Street Board President Staci Baker and Executive Director Micah Landes. “They were very gracious and offered very helpful information that Main Street Lexington can digest and decide how to tailor to their own needs” stated Councilman Harold Bonanomi. Following the meeting, the visitors from Lexington were given a downtown walking tour of Chillicothe from Micah Landes and the history of various projects ranging from murals to building retrofits.

Friday’s delegation from Lexington included Harold Bonanomi - Ward 1 City Councilman, Main Street Lexington Steering Committee members Chip Langman – Chair, Richard Chinnery – Vice Chair, Pandora Kuhnlein, Dee Gee Rivers, and community members Jim Kuhnlein and Sharon Langman.

The Lexington Main Street Committee’s next public meeting will be Monday, March 24th at 5:00 PM in the Lexington City Council Chambers located at 919 Franklin Street.


Main Street Chillicothe Recieves Accreditation

by Ben White, Director 25. March 2014 16:08

Attaining Accreditation from the National Main Street Program gives Main Street Chillicothe bragging rights among Missouri communities. This is the highest level of recognition a community can receive through the Missouri Main Street Connection and it confers the honor of both national and state accreditation.
To receive National and State Accredited status a community must reach the Main Street criteria standards each year and must have successfully completed the services provided by MMSC to the Selected Level Communities.
Offering congratulations to Main Street Chillicothe for this achievement were Gayla Roten, state director of MMSC, and Norma Ramírez de Miess, senior program officer of the National Trust Main Street Center.
“We are pleased to see how Main Street Chillicothe has proactively addressed planning, built partnerships with the city and other civic groups, and continued to expand its leadership base to be an effective instrument for implementing a comprehensive revitalization strategy,” Miess said.
The Missouri Main Street Program’s purpose is to create vibrant communities across the state. This effort is based on numerous recent studies showing that empowering individuals to develop their downtown motivates high achievement, where people will want to live, work and invest, making our state economically stronger.
The goal of the Main Street Center and Missouri Main Street program is to encourage preservation-based economic development through the Four-Point Approach:
Organization:  Working toward the same goal and assembling the appropriate human and financial resources to implement a Main Street revitalization program
Promotion: Creating a positive image of the commercial district and encouraging consumers and investors to live, work, shop, play and invest in the Main Street district.
Design: Putting Main Street into top physical shape. Capitalizing on its best assets, such as historic buildings and pedestrian-oriented streets is just part of the story.
Economic Restructuring: Strengthening the community’s existing economic assets while expanding and diversifying its economic base.
Missouri Main Street Connection provides communities with the tools needed to develop into thriving downtowns.
“These tools can be used to create jobs and build a sense of place that not only provides for current Missouri residents, but makes our communities more attractive to new residents and generations to come,” said Roten.
Communities selected for the accreditation review are evaluated using the annual evaluation process and accreditation criteria intended to assist each community in performing up to national accreditation standards, as prescribed by the National Main Street Center. Though it is a critical moment for a Missouri Main Street community to become Accredited, it is equally important for the community to maintain the Accreditation status once it has been earned.
Missouri Main Street’s mission is to enhance the social, cultural and environmental well being of historic downtown business districts located in Missouri’s diverse cities and towns, through education using the Main Street Four Point Approach to Revitalization, as developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The mission is based on the principle that America’s historic commercial districts are a valuable asset that is worth preserving, and that they can contribute to the total economic vitality of their communities.


Main Street Chillicothe attends Missouri Main Street Showcase

by Ben White, Director 25. March 2014 16:05

Missouri state legislators and visitors from communities throughout Missouri attended a reception January 27 in Jefferson City at the G3 Gallery, hosted by the Missouri Main Street Connection, Inc.

The event showcased the communities that participate in the revitalization efforts of the Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) and also the winners of the Missouri Downtown Revitalization Awards which were presented by MMSC last summer in Kansas City at the Annual Downtown Revitalization Conference.

MMSC is a state-wide program offering education and mentoring in downtown revitalization strategies using the Main Street Four-Point ApproachR to revitalization as developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The approach is a comprehensive methodology addressing all components of revitalization including organization, design, economic restructuring and promotions, all within the context of historic preservation.

Economic data was shared with the legislators that is collected locally by the communities participating in the Missouri Main Street program. This date shows the strength and vitality of these communities using of the Main Street Four-Point ApproachR. The following data was collected over the past eight years:

 $625,692,098 of private investment, including exterior facade improvements, restoration, interior building improvements and new construction.

 $2,234 of private investment for every dollar appropriated to the Missouri Main Street Connection by the State of Missouri

 $114 million of infrastructure improvements by municipal governments

 $298 net new businesses

 2,163 net new jobs. Cost to DED for creating each new job: $129 based on appropriations to MMSC.

 159,899 total volunteer hours donated to Missouri Main Street communities representing over $3.4 million based on IRS volunteer hourly rate ($21.36)

Missouri Main Street Connection is currently providing revitalization training and mentoring to 145 communities in the state, plus Main Street accreditation services


Investing in Downtown

by Ben White, Director 25. March 2014 15:58
 Main Street Chillicothe, an organization that is working to preserve the heritage of our community while promoting economic growth downtown. Our Team, Board of Directors, and Committees are dedicated to making downtown Chillicothe a bustling hub of activity now, and for years to come. Our organization is dedicated to the process of making that happen, but we need your help.
As Main Street Chillicothe continues its mission of revitalizing Chillicothe’s historic district, it is clear that this work requires the participation of dozens-even hundreds-of people. Obviously, this work also requires financial support. Main Street Chillicothe, being a not-for-profit organization, depends on investors such as community members and area businesses in order to complete our mission of preserving, protecting and promoting downtown Chillicothe. All residents are asked to become a stakeholder in downtown and play a vital role in the success of the local downtown organization. Investments help make the downtown a place where families gather, shoppers frequent, festivals and activities abound, and great amenities entice people from near and far. Consider investing in the heart of a great community and preserving a piece of the past for decades to come.
Contact Main Street Chillicothe by email, 660-646-4071 or stop by the Commerce Center at 514 Washington St. Investments are considered a tax deductible contribution.


A Special Memory by guest blogger, Kris Daniel

by Ben White, Director 9. October 2013 18:14

A Special Memory--Shopping at the Five and Dime

By Kris Daniel

            As I was going through my mother's belongings after her recent passing, I came across a sparkling array of earrings, necklaces, brooches and brackets.  I loved looking at this extensive but inexpensive collection of jewelry--strand after strand of simulated pearls, faux sapphires and bright shiny rhinestones.  One piece, in particular, caught my eye and brought back fond memories of a special shopping excursion to Woolworth's Five and Dime.  

             I must have been six or seven when my dad loaded my sister, brother and myself into the old Dodge and headed to town to buy mom's Christmas present.  Not having more than a dollar or two, we skipped the jewelry stores and headed right for the five and dime.  The candy counter lured us first, with its chocolate-covered peanuts, orange slices, and my favorite, the malted milk balls.  What I would give for a little white sack of that candy today!  But we were on a mission that night, and candy wasn't on the Christmas list.  Down the aisles we went, looking at the hankies with their lacy edges, the white cotton gloves every real lady surely had to have, the stationary, the knick-knacks and the bric-a-brac.   Oh how I loved the figurines.  Surely mom would want a little pink pig, a poodle or a puppy.  Having spent countless Saturday mornings in the store,  picking out the perfect figurine for my collection, I knew just which ones mom would like best.  And they were only a dime, a quarter if you got a really good one!  But we were supposed to be shopping for mom not me, so no minature glass mouse would be going home with us that night.  The baby-dolls, Erector Sets and Lincoln Logs would all have to wait, although I'm certain Santa knew just what we wanted before the night was over.

             It was when dad steered us to the jewelry department that we knew we had struck gold.  Gold and and silver and diamonds--the perfect gift for mom!  And there it was, a big blue brooch, a swirl-shaped thing of beauty.  Mom would love it and surely she would wear it everywhere.  How excited we were to find such a treasure!  And we had just enough money--a dollar ninety-nine.  I don't recall mom ever wearing this precious piece of jewelry but it was saved in its original box, stored away in her dresser drawer for nearly sixty years.  It was a special moment when I came across it and remembered that Christmas shopping trip so long ago.

             For me Woolworth's was a special place--a place where you could buy anything and everything--Big Chief tablets, baby turtles, marbles, crepe paper, jacks.  You name it, they had it.  The store stood like a giant in the afternoon shadow of the courthouse, luring me in with all its treasures.  If I had a dime, or even a nickel, I was in paradise.  Oh, what fun it was!         


Chillicothe Wins Three Downtown Revitalization Awards

by Ben White, Director 31. July 2013 09:28


Chillicothe won three downtown revitalization awards during the Evening of Excellence dinner and awards ceremony on July 25, at the Missouri Main Street Revitalization Conference in Kansas City held at the historic Hotel Phillips. Main Street Chillicothe accepted the award for Best Economic Restructuring Project for Black & Red Friday; Heritage Travel Award for Mural Tours; and Best Façade Renovation under $10k went to The Healthy Living Store.

The Award was for Chillicothe’s special event, “Black and Red Friday” in the category that recognizes outstanding achievement in planning and implementation by an Economic Restructuring Committee, in cooperation with a local development organization. The concept began when Chillicothe’s Economic Restructuring Committee considered the impact of Black Friday advertising campaigns by the Big Box stores upon small retailers who have a hard time competing for sales during what many say is the largest shopping day of the holiday season. To beat the big box retailers to the punch, Main Street Chillicothe and Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce teamed up to offer an alternative to shoppers. They called it “Black and Red Friday” in honor of the local high school’s spirit colors. It is part of a wider plan to promote spending locally throughout the year, called “Local First: Think Local, Buy Local, Be Local.”

Main Street Chillicothe, Inc. accepted the Heritage Travel Award for tours of the downtown murals. Chillicothe’s outdoor murals, mounted on buildings throughout the commercial district, tell a story around every corner of this historic downtown. Each one transports the viewer into a by-gone era and celebrates an important part of the town’s rich history and heritage. Over 20 larger-than-life, breath-taking murals include tell the visual story of trains, automobiles, a brick factory, a business college, a retailer, a bank, a fire brigade and many streetscapes. The Mural Tour can be conducted by tour guides or self-guided. Tours take place almost daily throughout the season, sometimes on foot, sometimes in cars or motor coaches.

The final award of the evening went to The Healthy Living Store for its Best Façade Renovation under $10,000. The store has been part of the downtown since the mid 2000s. This newer addition to the community has grown and adapted to the ever-changing economy and needs of residents. With these changes came an exterior face-lift of epic proportions. Once the metal was removed, a beautiful brick façade was revealed. Although it needed some minimal cleaning, the brick itself was in pristine condition except for a few spots where the brick had been chipped away from securing the faux metal façade. The building owner worked with Main Street Chillicothe’s Design Committee to choose a fitting historic color scheme for the exterior that matched their store design, along with new second-story windows to replace the old ones. The cost was minimal, but the result was one that had the town talking.

The evening awards event capped off three days of more than 40 educational workshops and in-the-field educational sessions, sponsored by Missouri Main Street Connection. Chillicothe had six conference attendees and two sessions were presented by local individuals including Crystal Narr, Lindy Chapman, and Amy Supple. The Main Street Chillicothe program was recognized as a state and nationally accredited Main Street program and Crystal Narr was recognized for her six years of dedication to the local program.

The conference culminated with the Evening of Excellence, and awards recognizing achievements in downtown revitalization were presented in 18 categories. Competition for the awards came from all across the state of Missouri. Chillicothe also had semi-finalists in three other categories: Brandy Sensenich for Volunteer of the Year; and the Collaborative Flower Pot Program for Outstanding Community Partnership.

Pictured L to R: Kate Lyons, 2013 NWSMU Summer Intern; Crystal Narr, Previous Executive Director; & Jena Eskew, Previous Assistant


Tech Tools to Boost Business

by Ben White, Director 17. May 2013 08:01

It is no secret that nearly everyone has been affected by the rough economic times and as we all know, it is a cyclical process that influences both consumers and proprietors. It is during these times that out of necessity we turn to new methods to enhance a spiraling business environment. One of the most accessible avenues to reach the consumer public in this modern age is through technology. “Shop from home, save gas.” “Spend $50, receive free shipping.” More and more these simple gimmicks work to reach the public and entertain their interest in the user world.

For businesses, the easiest format to reach the online world is through a website. Whether simple or complex in design, a website can reach even the lesser tech savvy crowds. However, with a more complex design and easy to navigate features, a website can become a great tool to enhance your existing business and including interactive tools and advanced features to help guide purchasing online. The most basic necessity to a website is keeping it up-to-date and revised with new information or products. It is important to note upcoming promotions through an online calendar and an added bonus is posting customer comments to promote your quality of goods and services. To further advise a business in their website design, owners can utilize website tracking and usage analysis tools to track web viewers and trends.

The next step in technological communication beyond simplistic email comes in the form of an E-newsletter. Businesses can format these e-newsletters to suit their needs and market. They can be used to showcase new merchandise, advertise promotions, or recreate a connection to prior clients. Furthermore, e-newsletters can be mailed to web addresses businesses have attained at a personal level or purchased via online marketing companies to expand their market.

Another element in the web era is networking, and necessarily in the traditional meet-and-greet format. There are many networking websites that businesses can take advantage of to increase their web traffic and online inquiries. Although MySpace has been traditionally promoted to the younger age categories, this age group is the upcoming consumer market so why not advertise on their level. Facebook is another avenue that allows you to reach out to both prior and potential customers and also lets your post upcoming information or merchandise to rouse interest. Above all, these networking websites are free and very easy to navigate.

A final stride in reaching the tech world is through visual representation. Just as the above networking websites are free, YouTube and other online video and photo galleries are also free and great marketing tools. Online video advertisements of a business, an event, or even merchandise serve as a free online commercial. Online photo albums can be used in much of the same way and at no cost to the business. Not to mention, you can easily add links to these resources from the business website.

The web world only has to be as complicated as one makes it so use it to your advantage. By accessing free tools, drum up some new, or existing, clientele to help your business through the tough economic times. Ingenuity often comes through necessity so make the most of a rough situation by learning a new set of tech skills and boosting your business at the same time.

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Going Green in Downtown

by Ben White, Director 17. May 2013 07:56

As the desire to “Go Green” is ever-increasing, businesses are looking for more ways to cut back and get involved. There are many ways in which to reduce, some more specific to the type of business than others.  However, there are numerous ways to reduce the amount of energy used that are very simple and can be applied to almost any business. From packaging to paper towels, a few minor adjustments can make a substantial difference to our environment.

To begin, one of the easiest things a business can do is to reduce the amount of packaging to and from their business. Asking product manufacturers and wholesalers from whom products are bought to reduce excess packaging is an extremely eco-friendly start.  Once shipments arrive, business should recycle boxes and shipping materials. Lastly, a simple solution toward environmental-friendliness is to reduce the amount of packaging on a business’ own products, or simply offering a small discount to those customers who bring in their own bags.

Another simple way to reduce the amount of wasted resources is in bathrooms.  The use of occupancy sensors to activate light fixtures would drastically cut back utility costs. This idea can be applied to more areas than bathrooms, including storage rooms and other spaces vacant for long periods of time. The installation of high-efficiency toilets reduces the use of energy, as well as the amount of water used throughout the day. Lastly, replacing paper towels in employee restrooms with reusable cloth towels is a simple way for everyone to recycle.

A huge way in which to reduce wasted resources deals with a business’ choice of supplies. Purchasing recycled paper, Energy Star-rated equipment, and non-toxic cleaning supplies are simple alternatives. Using conference calls to minimize driving to meetings, and emails and websites in place of printed flyers or letters, resources can be spared. These simple steps can be a relief on both resources and employees as well.

Utilities are another place where energy can be radically reduced.  Putting storefront window display lights on timers, rather than leaving the lights on all night can save a tremendous amount of energy. Other ideas along these same lines include using a programmable thermostat, motion sensors to activate interior and exterior security lights, and power strips with on-off switches in which the power can be turned entirely off when the items plugged in are not in use. Replacing incandescent bulbs and exit signs with an LED alternative also makes for an easy reduction in the amount of electricity used.

One of the most popular ways in which to reduce resources is through transportation. Providing incentives to employees that commute to work, either by public transportation, carpooling, biking, or walking, is a simple way of reducing. Offering deliveries on foot or by bicycle within the Main Street district would cut back transportation pollutants. In turn, ensure that employees have a safe and secure place for storing their bikes throughout the workday.

Lastly, keeping business local is both environmentally and economically friendly. By buying as much of your merchandise, supplies, and services from local businesses not only cuts down on transportation and shipping costs, but it keeps the money circulating within the community as well. Finally, help customers reduce the amount of time driving by learning about products and services offered by other business in the same commercial district. When a customer asks where they can find an item your business doesn’t offer, direct them to another store in your district. These simple steps take little time but can have a dramatic impact on the community and the environment.

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