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, our FY21 educational programming is centered on the theme of Recovery & Resiliency.
Current Webinar Recordings Available
CMSC held several Recovery & Resiliency-themed webinars this fall. Each session is recorded for on-demand viewing with links to our YouTube channel.
FIRST- NEXT- LATER: Safeguarding Small Business During the Pandemic: 26 Strategies for Local Leaders. This event featured Kennedy Smith of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and one of the nation’s foremost experts on commercial district revitalization and business development, who discussed specific strategies for guiding our CT Main Streets to the next phase of recovery.
Moving from Crisis to Recovery: We can do this! CMSC assembled dedicated and talented downtown professionals for a conversation about what they’ve learned during the pandemic, and how they’ve helped small businesses and their communities. Speakers included: Tripp Muldrow, FAICP, Partner, Arnett Muldrow & Associates; Karen Pollard, Economic Development Director, Town of New Milford; and Jason Vincent, AICP, President, Norwich Community Development Corporation (NCDC).
Pitch Perfect: A Quick Introduction to CT’s Small Business Financing Options. In our third webinar offering, 9 different funders had 10 minutes to introduce their organization, key programs & products, and a success story. This session included a focus on funding for women and minority owned businesses and a lively Q&A discussion.
AdvanceCT and municipal partners in Old Saybrook and Portland presented a COVID-19 check-in where we examined how the pandemic has impacted businesses so far; explored some exemplary efforts in supporting them through it; and looked toward the future to discuss what the next few months could look like as we adjust existing support efforts to maintain our local economies.
Overcoming Leasing Obstacles Through Design. Commercial Interior Designer, Jennifer Gaggion, of Design Your Monday, discusses how and why interior design should be part of a leasing strategy. In this webinar you’ll learn design tips for leasing vacant space and questions to ask before you begin. Jennifer shares downtown projects she’s worked on in Meriden and Marlborough, CT and the value design brought to each. Click here to visit the event page for the full list of event material and here to view the webinar recording.
Branding Windham: Engaging The Community, Embracing the Future. Learn how FHI Studio helped Windham embrace their civic pride and highlight the town’s competitive advantages to invest in its future and boost economic development. Click here to visit the event page for the full list of event material and here to view the webinar recording.
The Role of the Main Street Working Group of the CT General Assembly. The Main Street Working Group of the state legislature was established in 2020 to help educate legislators on issues related to downtown revitalization and to advocate for downtown friendly policies and programs. Join Co-Chairs Reps. Quentin Phipps, Jane Garibay and Jennifer Leeper in a facilitated discussion. Click here to visit the event page for the full list of event material and here to view the webinar recording.
Vacant Properties Strategies: Turning the lights back on. Donald Poland examines why properties are unused, the importance of market alignment, and expands your toolbox with dreams & visions, master plans, zoning & code correction, parking strategy, & historic preservation tools to bring them back to life. Click here to visit the event page for the full list of event material and here to view the webinar recording.
Small Business Resource Library
As we look at the challenges small businesses are facing, we’re struck by the findings from Main Street America’s small business survey, The Impact of COVID on Small Businesses which found an alarming 63% of small business owners don’t have e-commerce in place to complement their storefront operations.
In response to this startling statistic, CMSC teamed 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
- E-Commerce 101: Platforms
- E-Commerce 101: Case Study
- Retail Photography
- Social Media for Merchants
- Health & Beauty
- Social Media for Main
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.
In-Person Events – 2021
While we’ve had to pivot to all virtual events due to the pandemic, we anticipate returning to our regular Main Street Forums for the 21st Century events once we can safely do so. It’s possible that we may be able to hold one or more events in the spring/summer 2021.
At this time, we’re planning for the return of our popular Spotlight on Main Street event, which we present in partnership with the CT Economic Development Association (CEDAS). We hope to hold our event in late spring or early summer, where Mayor Pete Bass will welcome us to beautiful downtown New Milford. New Milford is doing an exceptional job on maintaining safe covid protocols in their downtown, and we look forward to experiencing a safe, socially-distanced guided walking tour and learning about the progress of the adaptive reuse plan of the historic East Street School and the exciting downtown waterfront redevelopment plan.