23 ideas for tough times

Helping the downtown merchants is one of the most important functions of a Main Street organization

At the recent Virginia Main Street (VMS) Designated Community Managers’ Retreat, several VMS communities reported that their retailers had a successful 2008 holiday season with increases in sales over 2007.  While much of the increase was because the downtown merchants were selling distinctive products and a unique, exciting experience, it is fair to expect that a good portion of the success can be attributed to retail promotions designed and implemented by the local Main Street promotions committees, like this one in Staunton.

Moving forward, challenges in 2009 are to be expected for our downtowns, which will make Main Street Economic Restructuring Committees more important than ever.  One way to help businesses cope with the current economic climate is to help them prepare for better times in the future. 

A good way to prepare for the future is to expand your range of ideas and avoid focusing on past successes and defeats.  To that end, Inc. Magazine  asked 23 entreprenuers what they are doing.

While Jenny Craig says her company is doubling up on advertising to gain more market share, Fritz Maytag of Anchor Brewing says now is the time to take some risks.  The companies featured are varied, as is the advice.  There should be something here to create an “Aha!” moment  for everyone.