Main Street is where communities come together, but it’s not the street name that draws people in. More than the pavement, the light poles and the landscaping, Main Street is a hub of community activity because of the small businesses that line it. For those businesses, Main Street is part of an important story.
Each business along Main Street has a unique tale – a Main Street Story. Simply put, that Main Street Story is the business’s unique biography, spanning its establishment, growth and evolution over time. From the local hardware store that has been in a family for generations to the young bakery that just grew out of a food truck, no two Main Street Stories are the same.
Of course, there is more to small businesses than their history. The causes they support, the customers they serve and the events they host are also part of the Main Street Story. These elements help to further demonstrate what makes the small business special, particularly compared to its big-box or online competitors.
Is your business’s Main Street Story coming to mind yet? You don’t have to write it all out in pages and chapters, but you should tell it. Your Main Street Story is a chronicle of all the ways your business is a part of the community, and that community involvement is why some customers may seek out your services. According to American Express OPEN’s Small Business Saturday Consumer Pulse Study, 89 percent of consumers are aware of the important economic role that small businesses play in the community through taxes and jobs. In other words, your business’s growth is also the community’s growth – and local residents get it.
Telling your Main Street Story through blogs, social media or word of mouth helps those local residents find your storefront. They may stumble upon it thanks to the central, downtown location of Main Street, but you can do your part to draw them in by spreading the word. When you do, you’ll stand out from the competition and make new relationships within the community.
You’ll also help to liven the streets of downtown. Your Main Street Story can become an important tool to promote your business and an important tool to promote Main Street as a whole. Like your business, Main Street is an engine of economic activity and community strength. According to the National Main Street Center, more than $65 billion has ben reinvested in downtown districts by local Main Street programs since 1980, leading to a net gain of more than half a million jobs.
Main Streets and small businesses go hand in hand. They share a powerful story that’s quite literally at the center of the community. This spring, there’s unique way for small businesses to share their Main Street Story. The second annual America’s Main Streets Contest will award one deserving downtown group the opportunity for some much-needed revitalization and celebration. Nominations will be accepted online through April 23. Find out more about the contest at www.mainstreetcontest.com.