We’re providing knowledge & tools to help our Main Streets survive the devastating effects of COVID-19 and return stronger than ever. To that end, we are developing our FY21 educational programming around the theme of Recovery & Resiliency.

Small Business Resource Library

As we look at the challenges small businesses are facing, we were struck by the findings from Main Street America’s small business survey, The Impact of COVID on Small Businesses. An alarming 63% of small business owners responding to this survey do not have e-commerce in place, to complement their storefront operations.

In response to that alarming statistic, CMSC teamed up with Arnett Muldrow & Associates to develop our Small Business Resource Library. This library offers a series of videos that walk viewers through the steps for setting up e-commerce, providing the pros and cons of the choices you’re faced with, fulfillment options, and more. They address:

  • E-Commerce 101: Decisions
  • E-Commerce 101: Fulfillment
  • E-Commerce 101: Payment
  • E-Commerce 101: Finances & Taxes
  • Social Media for Main
  • Social Media for Merchants
  • Health & Beauty

The videos are brief (8 – 20 minutes each) and conversational in style. We encourage downtown managers, municipal economic development directors, and especially small business owners to view these free videos as many times as you wish.

Our partner in this resource library, Arnett Muldrow & Associates, LLC, is a Professional Affiliate member of the CT Main Street Network, and has worked in a number of Connecticut communities, including Sandy Hook, Cheshire, and Canton. In September, CMSC will schedule a live Zoom follow-up workshop with Tripp Muldrow to answer your questions and discuss small business recovery.

Virtual Main Street Summit

Our Recovery & Resiliency theme will continue throughout this fall and into 2021. Recognizing that there is continued investment in our downtowns, this October we will present our virtual Main Street Summit. This year’s theme is Creative Financing where we will explore the many layers of financing and funding needed to ensure investors in downtown are better equipped to restore our many historic mixed-use buildings. We will highlight financial programs that assist small businesses to start-up or expand – including those that focus on people of color and/or women-owned businesses.  We will also look at funding options for infrastructure and placemaking projects that help create vibrant downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts. You will hear from experts on these various financial tools and learn about examples of how they have been utilized across the state.

Online Community Conversation

In November we will explore Creativity, Adaptability, & Inclusiveness: Creating Resilient Main Streets. We look forward to featuring a select group of Connecticut downtown practitioners who will discuss how they are working with public and private sector partners to revise local policies and practices – while bringing community into their conversations – with the goal of creating more vibrant downtowns.

In-Person Events – 2021 

One critical aspect of effective leadership is the ability to demonstrate foresight, to plan for what might happen. With that in mind we will program a workshop in March on Crisis Management: Lessons Learned & Planning for the Future, featuring a panel of Connecticut downtown & municipal professionals who will share their stories and approaches in ensuring health & safety, establishing effective communications systems, and facilitating catalyst activities that result in stronger communities and bring people back following crisis. We hope this will engender further discussion about what systems and practices we must have in place in case of natural or man-made disaster – or a global pandemic.

In April, we look forward to the return of our popular Spotlight on Main Street event, which we present in partnership with the CT Economic Development Association (CEDAS). Mayor Pete Bass and Economic Development Director Karen Pollard will welcome us to beautiful downtown New Milford, where we will gather at Makery Coworking, experience a guided walking tour, and learn about the progress of the adaptive reuse plan of the historic East Street School and the exciting downtown waterfront redevelopment plan.