Supporting business development in Gloucester

** Guest blogger Margie Johnson, Shop Talk

In recognition of Virginia’s Business Appreciation Month, I would like to share a little bit about how the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust, an affiliate of Virginia Main Street, supports and strengthens local Main Street businesses. Throughout the last three years, the trust, under the leadership of Executive Director Jenny Crittenden, has worked closely with Shop Talk to implement creative ways to develop and maintain a strong business community along Gloucester’s Main Street.

It has been very rewarding to reflect on the success of Gloucester’s business support initiatives. I am especially pleased by the new momentum for business development along Gloucester’s Main Street, the increasing sales that local businesses are achieving, the positive outcomes of one-on-one consulting and the creation of an active restaurant cluster that has brought restaurant owners together as a cohesive group.

Gloucester Main Street merchants and restaurants have been very responsive to the assistance that has been provided to them. A series of quarterly group/cluster education sessions have been implemented and very well attended. Workshop topics have included:

  • Winning Strategies for Uncertain Times
  • Retail Realities and Trends
  • Creating Visual Magic on Main
  • Low Budget, High Impact Marketing Strategies
  • Let’s Get Social (online marketing exchange)
  • At Your Service for Restaurants
  • Managing Your Restaurants Momentum
  • Is 2013 Your Year for Plan B?

These sessions have created a sense of engagement that has spread throughout the business community. These initiatives have helped to create a more informed and active group of business owners working together, not just for their own success, but also for the overall success of Gloucester Main Street.

Shop Talk also helped the trust develop an interior visual merchandising grant program, the only such grant program in the Virginia Main Street community, and it has worked with local businesses to maximize their visual appeal and even helped design new stores in the Main Street district.

Contracting with Shop Talk Inc. and Margie Johnson, throughout the last three years, along with our façade grant program, interior grant program, beautification efforts, multiple plans developed for the downtown, and continued marketing efforts, the Main Street Preservation Trust has created the ultimate recruitment tool. We are able to offer an unparalleled support system to new businesses and those already located on our Main Street.  We believe that this support system has led to a very low vacancy along our Main Street and gives our businesses the upper hand in dealing with an ever-changing economy.” — Jenny Crittenden, Executive Director, Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust

Shop Talk has enjoyed being a strategic partner in the development and support of Gloucester Main Street’s business community, and we look forward to the continued growth and success of Gloucester’s beautiful and unique Main Street district.