Downtowns in Small Communities that Celebrate Ethnic Heritage

Some small towns, especially in the Midwest, focus on their ethnic heritage as a way to attract visitors to their downtowns. A study comparing seven small communities provides insight into recent trends and strategies impacting ethnic heritage tourism is summarized in this article.
~Thumbnail from Taste of Japan (Madison, WI) by Jeff Miller of UW Madison

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Capturing Sales from Recreational Homeowners

In many rural communities, non-resident recreational homeowners have emerged as an important market segment for local businesses. Recreational homes make up a large share of the total housing units in rural “amenity-rich” regions. Many of these seasonal residents are affluent and from out-of-state, bringing in significant spending potential. While most use their recreational homes during the summer, some use their properties at various other times throughout the year. Purchasing behavior of recreational homeowners varies geographically and demographically. This article summarizes the results from a recent study of spending conducted in Sawyer County, Wisconsin that provides information on its impact on local businesses.

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Year-Round Marketing in Tourism Communities

Retail and service businesses in communities with a significant tourism economy face the challenge of developing marketing plans that change with the seasons. Businesses find customer expectations for product availability and price often change with the seasons. This article explains how, to support an effective marketing plan and increase business sales year-round, communities need to work on two fronts: establishing a cohesive community image, and building a comprehensive customer profile

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Valuing Downtown Employees

The daytime employee population is a very important market segment for many downtowns. These employees, typically office workers, can generate significant sales for downtown businesses while solidifying downtown’s lead role in the regional economy as a place of expertise and a place of interaction. Many downtown districts are faced with the challenge of acquainting employees with nearby retail, dining and service establishments. Showing appreciation for these employees is one way to connect with them and make them feel part of the broader downtown community

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Retire Downtown – A Market Emerges for Active Living Downtown

With 78.2 million baby boomers poised to retire, the market for retirement homes in the coming years will be at an alltime high. More and more retirees are looking to retire downtown, taking advantage of a mix of amenities, accessibility, value, and sense of community. This article identifies serveral of the benefits to the condo market in an urban environment.

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Starting a Cultural Heritage Tourism Program

One of the most promising opportunities provided by a historic perspective is the potential to create a market for cultural heritage tourism. Cultural heritage tourism is an industry created when a community promotes its historic places and stories as tourist destinations. This article discusses the four critical steps to starting a heritage tourism program.

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The Importance of Culture and Heritage to Downtown Economics

When creating strategies to increase community economic vitality, it may not seem appropriate to look to the past. But, the historic perspective can hold the key to future economic gains for small communities across the country. This article looks at the benefits gained through marrying the past and the present.

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Serving Downtown Office Workers

Most downtown employees commute to work. Given the non-local nature of these commuters, downtowns are faced with the challenge of keeping its employees downtown after working hours, while also encouraging them to spend more money during the day. In general, the more time spent by workers in and around their offices, the more likely they are to make purchases at downtown establishments. Recognizing these challenges, a recent study conducted by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) analyzed how the habits of office workers have changed between 1987 and 2003. The study examined changing consumer preferences among office workers, along with the impact of retail availability on employee shopping habits. The summary of these findings can be found in this issue.

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Green Consumers – A Growing Market for Many Local Businessess

Americans are becoming increasingly concerned about the environment. Studies have shown that the percentage of Americans who worry about the environment “a great deal” or “a fair amount” has increased from 62% to 77% between 2004 and 2006. This trend has led to more independent businesses on Main Street marketing to green consumers. Local businesses focusing on green products have emerged as a growing business sector. Likewise, more traditional businesses such as grocery, hardware/building materials and appliance/electronic stores are increasing their lines of green products as they realize their profitability. For many businesses, going green isn’t necessarily about saving the environment. Rather it’s about saving the business. Accordingly, the information that follows is intended to help local businesses understand and better serve the green consumer.

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How Local Businesses Can Serve Trail Users

Multi-use trails provide both community-wide and business specific economic development opportunities. Trails increase transportation linkages, expand and conserve greenways, and can provide a much-needed “shot in the arm” for downtown businesses. Some examples or trail development bolstering economic development are discussed in this article.

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