From the Desk of the Main Street Program Director
Main Street offers resources for businesses
by Rae Gosling, Grayling Main Street Program Director
We started 2018 with a review of 2017. You read about events, training, numbers associated to change in our downtown, and a few of our targets for the coming year. We also offer this presentation verbally to anyone who is interested. It is a great opportunity for us to spread the excitement of our downtown with those in the community, and an even better opportunity for folks to ask questions, suggest projects, and get to know us.
Often times we get the same questions after such a presentation, and sometimes on the street. As I did last year, I would like to address a couple of common questions we have been encountering. As a warning, these responses will be split between this week and next.
Question 1: What did GMSt actually do to help downtown businesses last year?
Our role in the community is a unique one, as we tend to be helpful in getting projects rolling, but then hand them off; we also work to drive traffic to our district as a service to our businesses, and pursue projects that make an overall impact on our district and community by creating a sense of place that people are drawn back to. Nearly everything we do is for our businesses, just maybe not in obvious ways.
To answer part of this question, I have started using the analogy of a library to help describe what we can do for individual businesses. GMSt is the entity or place, where you go to find resources to complete your “homework.” I am like the researcher, curator, and librarian. I collect data and resources, catalogue them for reference later, and when approached, can help you find the ones you are looking for. Once you have what you need, you set to work on finishing your assignment, write your name at the top, and turn it in for a grade. When it comes to businesses, we can only offer and influence; ultimately, it is their decision to participate, or not, in what we have available. We make an effort to showcase our resources, but must be respectful of the businesses, and allow them to function as they see fit.
In addition to that, I offer this list of some of the resources businesses took us up on: design services to set them up for property updates, a partnership training offered with the Chamber, and we our own educational trainings free for businesses. As previously mentioned, we also pursued projects geared toward building the brand of Grayling, promoting our destination, and searching for ideas and ways to make Grayling stand out to potential residents, businesses, and visitors. Each of the events we host has the dual purpose of generating funding for our program operating costs, as well as enhancing our sense of place with resident, and visitors.
Please check in next week for the answers to question #2: Why does GMSt report investment, new businesses, and façade improvements if they are not actually doing/paying for the work?
Want to know more about GMSt and what is going on in Downtown Grayling? Check back in future editions of the Avalanche for more From the Main Street Program Director’s Desk. You can also check out their website, www.DowntownGrayling.com, find them on Facebook, or email questions to DowntownGrayling@gmail.com.
Rae Gosling is the Program Director for Grayling Main Street. She has been with GMSt since April 2016. She is a Grayling resident, wife, mother, local shopper, avid supporter of all things Grayling, and keeps everyone on their toes wondering what color her hair will be next.