Main Street Programs Add Destination Creation Course to Statewide Business Programs

Jun 4, 2020 | Main Street: Allied Member, Blog, Covid-19 Business Strategies

State-level Main Street leaders in three states say a new business class created by Destination business expert Jon Schallert will boost small business recovery with tools tailored to address issues raised by Covid-19.

Officials from the State Main Street Programs in North Carolina, Missouri, and Ohio have become trained Facilitators of Schallert’s Destination Creation Course.  The 8-lesson online class is a simplified version of Schallert’s longstanding Destination BootCamp multi-day workshop that details his 14-point strategy developed over decades for attracting both local and out-of-market customers to independent businesses.

“This course adds a whole dimension to the value we can bring to a community,” says Keith Winge, Community Development Director for Missouri Main Street Connection. “Particularly with Covid-19, this allows us to bring that support and those services directly to the business owners remotely and free up the Main Street programs to work on other issues or opportunities within their communities.”

“It was an opportunity for us as a staff to offer another service to our communities,” says Sherry Adams, a Coordinator-Planner for Small Town Main Street at the North Carolina Department of Commerce.  “We can go into a community and the community can get these businesses together. You as a business owner will have several strategies you can implement to improve your business. We can help them identify what their unique position is, give them some tools, at the end of the day, make the cash register ring just a little bit more.”

Sherry and two colleagues, Naomi Riley and Charles Halsall, took the three-day course that included local economic development leaders and business owners from across North America. North Carolina Main Street Director Liz Parham and another colleague will receive the training in July.

“The more we can brand ourselves in Main Street as strong economic development partners that bring a lot to the table, that gives us the potential to be at the table when other conversations come down the road and be recognized as a vital key to the recovery process, to the economic development process,” Parham says. “We’re always looking for additional tools we can put in our toolbox.

“I think the stronger an individual business can be, they become a destination. They can become an anchor for the downtown district. That creates additional traffic in their downtown. Particularly now with Covid, it’s so important to get owners back up on their feet and build a more sustainable business model for themselves.”

Schallert, who has worked with independent businesses for more than 30 years  and consulted in over 600 communities across North America, says these state-level connections will accelerate the availability of proven strategies that include increased online and social media presence, greater media coverage, and other marketing skills that will be crucial for success now and through the pandemic’s duration into 2021.

Frances Jo Hamilton, the director of revitalization at Heritage Ohio who took Destination facilitation training earlier, says the Destination Creation class will make her agency more effective.  

“At Heritage Ohio, we have a plethora of information we can give to folks, but often it’s hard to get beyond giving someone a tool and them being able to utilize it,” she says. “It’s easy to fit this class into each individual community that might be dealing with a different situation.”

Schallert’s company, The Schallert Group, Inc. is a Main Street America® Allied Member.

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