MAIN STREET PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE
The Main Street Arkansas design consultant works with local programs to improve the physical assets of the historic commercial core. Design consultation includes working with property owners to find the best and often most cost effective solutions to make the exterior inviting to customers. Often a simple coat of paint and awning replacement can change the way a block of property feels. Our services are provided at no-cost to downtown merchants and property owners. The assistance is broadly offered and includes providing reviews of streetscapes, signage plans and overall downtown planning, rehabilitation advice for building facades, written recommendations and resources and drawings of facades with material colors selected.
Design services also include workshops on storefronts, awnings, signs and streetscapes. All recommendations are specific for each building and property owner, or the streetscape’s historic qualities and/or budget parameters. Services are not limited to historic buildings. Advice is provided for appropriate infill when dealing with new construction, street furniture, street lighting, parking and other areas unique to the local community.
Small Business Consulting/ Business Retention & Expansion
Main Street Arkansas's small business consultant offers confidential, on-site advice to independent downtown merchants within the Main Street network. Small business assistance includes working directly with merchants on issues from customer service to inventory control techniques. We teach the best small business practices that keep businesses competitive in the marketplace, especially during hard economic times.
Main Street Arkansas's small business consultant develops and presents trainings, public lectures and workshops. These help to educate community leaders, downtown interest groups and merchants in retailing strategies, economic development strategies and best small business practices. Topics include seminars on how businesses can compete with big box retailers and stay vital to the local economy. The seminars are customized to suit the needs in each community, which may range from the need for merchants to capitalize on their downtowns' business clusters, or devising a business recruitment plan for a specific market.
We offer joint workshops with the Main Street interior design consultant that teaches the long-term benefits of window displays, storefronts, and signage to branding your business. The increasingly popular workshops are customized to suit the special business and design needs in each community and take into consideration changes in consumer habits.
Main Street Arkansas's Small Business Consultant works with local executive directors, their boards and committees to offer guidance and direction for the local business district's growth.
The Main Street Arkansas interior design consultant works with property owners and merchants in the Main Street network on their businesses’ interior spaces. Working together, we collaborate to design interiors that are foremost functional, but that are visually stimulating and ensure thriving businesses in Arkansas’s historic downtowns.
Main Street interior design consultant services assist merchants and property owners who are in the planning stages of opening a new business or rehabilitating a historic building to suit their business needs. The service provides constituents with feasibility studies, which are conceptual planning drawings essential to the preliminary stages for businesses. Working with AutoCAD design computer software, floor plans drawings are produced that encourage the utilization of existing historic architectural elements with the new functional interior design.
We also teach visual design through a window display workshop titled “Designing Window Displays that Sell.” This increasingly popular workshop has been creatively implemented into downtown window displays throughout the state. Other interior design services include the construction of visual merchandising displays in retail businesses, which often entails reworking the entire floor plan. These design services are provided at no-cost to the downtown merchants and property owners.
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Main Street Arkansas Awards
Every other year, the Main Street Arkansas program honors communities and individuals who have demonstrated an outstanding achievement in a variety of categories representing the Main Street Four-Point Approach to downtown revitalization. These awards are announced during the Arkansas Municipal League’s Winter Conference.
Main Street Arkansas conducts quarterly training for local directors, board members and volunteers at various locations around the State. These trainings include nationally known speakers, updates from the state program and a directors’ roundtable for networking and sharing of ideas.
Annual Program Assessment
Each year, all Main Street programs are evaluated according to ten performance standards including fully utilizing the Main Street Four-Point Approach and Eight Guiding Principles, and continuing to evolve organizationally to meet new challenges. The Main Street Arkansas staff will review work plans, budgets and other pertinent reports.
New Director Orientation
All new directors meet with the Main Street Arkansas staff and are provided an overview of the Main Street program, the Main Street Arkansas program requirements as well as technical assistance and grant information.
Based upon need and specific requests from local programs, the Main Street Arkansas staff will visit the community and offer assistance in areas such as visioning, board development, staff hiring, work plan development and volunteer recruitment.
Resource Team Visit
The Resource Team identifies a commercial district’s issues and opportunities and recommends short and long-term strategies for the revitalization of the downtown commercial district. The team conducts an analysis of the district and formulated projects and operational recommendations that will guide the program’s activities for three to five years. (For new Main Street communities only.)
This conference is co-hosted by Main Street Arkansas, the Louisiana Main Street Program and the Mississippi Main Street Association. Each state program takes turns hosting. The conference brings together national, state and local experts on downtown revitalization, historic preservation and economic development.
Staff Hiring Assistance
Main Street Arkansas staff provides assistance to local Main Street programs that are hiring staff by providing job descriptions, reviewing resumes and participating in the interview and selection process.