Small Scale Manufacturing on Main Street

Small scale production has emerged as a powerful way to tie opportunity to place, and can fill a missing piece in downtown and community development efforts. Data suggests that this type of production is rapidly growing along Main Streets across the country, expanding and diversifying the employment and retail opportunities found in our districts.  The causes are two-fold:  Technologies like 3-D printing, high speed sewing equipment and food processors at scale are shrinking the building needs and cost of entry into traditional manufacturing.  This is combined with rapidly changing consumer preferences that are tired of homogeneous products that can be purchased anywhere.  Today’s consumers are looking for products with a story, that is local, and appeals to their unique individualism. As a result, from micro brewers to apparel and bike manufacturers, many more people are beginning to blend retail, manufacturing and wholesaling opportunities at a much smaller scale. This can lead to tourism growth, diversified employment, and living wage employment opportunities for local communities.

Local pottery production = small scale production/manufacturing

Join Matt Wagner, Vice President of Revitalization Programs, with the National Main Street Center for a webinar, December 4, 2019 from 12- 1 p.m. to learn more about this topic. Register here. Following the webinar, the Community Revitalization Office will be accepting requests for interest from communities interested in participating in a pilot program to evaluate and enhance the small scale manufacturing opportunities within their commercial districts.

Small scale production is an umbrella term that refers to all types of small businesses that produce tangible goods. This includes textiles, hardware, woodworking, metalworking, and 3-D printing. It also includes hardware prototyping, consumer product design and prototyping, breweries and distilleries, and local food production and packaging. The businesses may be consumer-facing or provide products to other businesses and often have 1-30 employees.

 – Source: Recast City