From the Desk of the Main Street Program Director
How can we better serve downtown businesses?
by Rae Gosling | Grayling Main Street Program Director
As you may recall Grayling Main Street (GMSt) is preparing for a Refresh with the National and Michigan Main Street Centers this summer. One of the tasks we have been given in preparation is to evaluate the programming currently offered in our community, engage with our business and property owners, and look for opportunities to improve our services to our downtown businesses and property owners.
On Thursday, June 8, GMSt will be hosting a session with our downtown business managers and owners, and property owners to find out how we can better serve them. We are looking for information about what we can do that would be beneficial for them, other than events.
One of the programs we previously offered was a social media training workshop. The workshop was geared toward basic use of Facebook to promote the business. It included information regarding scheduling posts, how many words you should be using, how often to post, and what kinds of posts get the most attention. We also showed local business folks how to access and decipher the metrics captured and reported by Facebook.
In the fall of 2016, we offered an evening workshop on design elements and how to fund improvements to the facades of buildings. We kicked off the workshop with a short walking tour of downtown complete with a little history lesson on some of the buildings. The bulk of the workshop was geared toward understanding the history of downtowns, their evolution, and how we can help to preserve the authentic look and feel of our downtown. GMSt partners with Michigan Main Street Center to offer downtown building owners free design services and grant application assistance to mitigate the cost of improving building appearances.
Additionally, we host Main Street Monday on the first Monday of the month in Paddle Hard Brewing. This is an opportunity for folks to connect with GMSt when it’s convenient for them, after work, in an establishment that offers food and drink. We have found this to be a fun way to engage with residents, businesses, and visitors in our community. Be sure to stop in on the first Monday of the month, unless it is a holiday, and find us in the theater seats.
As I alluded to, the goal of the meeting this week is to share what other main street communities are doing, and find out what similar services we can be offering to our businesses. GMSt is more than just events downtown. We are invested in the long-term success of the businesses in our downtown. One of the great perks of being a Main Street community is that we have the support of Michigan and National Main Street Centers to help with training and resources for business growth and sustainability.
I am optimistic that in the next several weeks I will be able to share some upcoming training, workshop, and engagement sessions. If you have an idea for programming that you think would be beneficial to the sustainability or growth of our downtown please feel free to give me a call, shoot me an email, or stop into the office, or Main Street Monday, to tell me about it.
Want to know more about what GMSt has going on? Check back in future editions of the Avalanche for more From the Main Street Director’s Desk. You can also check out our website, www.DowntownGrayling.com, find us on Facebook, or email your 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.