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2022 Year in Review

Avatar photo by Jessica Buchholz, Events Coordinator | January 6, 2023
2022 Year in Review

Year end reviews are important. We take time to converse with staff, volunteers, and advocates to cover activities on a monthly basis, look at metrics, and determine if we met our internal standards. In some areas, we exceeded expectations. In others, we have identified strategies for improvements. We also had several “first time” activities that we can grow in the future. Below are just some of the activities and data points from 2022.


-Two new temporary murals added to the downtown

-Volunteers removed Christmas lights and downtown decorations

-The Freedom Fest Committee presented a scholarship check to support the children of enlisted servicemen and women

-Aided in HEAL Grant applications

-Volunteered as a judge for FBLA

-Partnered with Flint Hills RSVP on local service projects

-Launched Show of Hands entry applications


-Collected data from area consumers to aid local businesses

-Assisted with ESU Entrepreneurship class

-Attended KCAIC Training on appropriate mural strategies that engage the community and don’t damage buildings

-Emporia Main Street hired Jeremy Wharton as the Fabrication Lab manager

-The Emporia Main Street auction and dueling pianos event was held at the Granada Theatre

-Several upper story site visits were conducted for potential housing projects

-KDHE vaccination and testing clinics were held in the incubator space


-The Mural Crawl event occurred

-The Center on Rural Innovation aided Emporia Main Street with Build to Scale tech accelerator development

-We received several soldier care package “thank you’s”

-We aided in promotion of several St. Patrick’s Day events, which supported one of the largest St. Pat’s celebrations in recent memory

-Hosted a First Friday event in the Incubator space

-Hosted vaccination and testing clinics in the incubator space

-Created an online platform to promote local spring break activities


-Assisted in Junior Achievement entrepreneurship education with local students

-Assisted with the Dynamic Discs Open Block Party and Food Truck Festival, and were honored with a “Special Recognition Award” at the players meeting

-Officially opened the Fabrication Lab for member and public uses

-Hosted several downtown cleanup activities

-Worked with the City of Emporia for CCA development for upcoming events

-Hosted an investor pitch meeting for local entrepreneurs

-Launched the 2022 Adopt a Garden project

-Hosted The Taste event

-Started collecting 2022 Veterans Banner submissions

-Hosted the first ever “Show of Hands” event to support local entrepreneurial startups and expansions

-Facilitated a public space charette

-Worked with Emporia High School GSA to create an Emporia Pride Fest shirt, and acted as the sales platform for the group

-Hosted a Covid vaccination and testing clinic

-Created a landing page for community Pride activities


-Held multiple Fabrication Lab open houses

-Hosted an Americorp team that aided in public projects and event support

-Attended and presented at the National Main Street conference

-Assisted the Flatland Cruisers event

-Issued a vacancy report that identified vacant lots and houses inside the city limits of Emporia

-Assisted with the HOTT Cinco de Mayo celebration

-Aided La Grind with basic promotion

-Hosted vaccination and testing clinics in the incubator space

-One of the Start Your Own Business Class graduates and Show of Hands participants, Main Street Axe Company, opened downtown

-Hosted the first round of Adopt a Garden voting

-Launched new sticker merchandise with help from the Fab Lab and Coffelt Sign Company

-Assisted with the Main Street Axe Company grand opening


-Attended Kansas Main Street training

-Produced new Emporia merchandise through the Fabrication Lab

-Announced new GrowKS Loans for business startups and expansions

-Launched the Investor Drive

-Aided the “Community Trek” with ESU Students

-Hosted 4-H tours in the Fab Lab

-Attended and co-hosted the Network KS Regional Training held in Emporia

-Aided in Pride activity and merchandise development support

-Hosted an Emporia First Friday

-Hosted the Unbound Gravel finish line party

-Held several downtown cleanup events

-Hosted downtown “welcome wagon” sidewalk chalking events

-Produced Unbound Gravel Map merchandise through the Fabrication Lab

-Assisted in the High Gear grand opening

-Earned National Accreditation from Main Street America

-Held the second round of Adopt a Garden voting

-Selected Imaginarium for business incubation


-Participated as a judge in the Homegrown celebration

-Hosted an Annual Meeting

-Held Moonlight Madness

-Assisted with ESU tours

-Hosted Downtown Cleanups

-Radius announced their brewery expansion, which utilized historic tax credits, CDBG, a HEAL Grant, and Show of Hands funding

-Presented to the City and County for appropriations

-Conducted the Veterans Banner selection lottery


-Placed dog bag dispenser boxes throughout the downtown

-Worked with local partners on the tech accelerator

-Conducted downtown cleanups

-Aided an Imaginarium preview open house

-Hosted the Mix and Mingle event

-Held the Welcome Back Block Party for ESU and FHTC students

-Participated in the National Main Street Housing Study

-Attended Kansas Main Street training

-Launched a shop local campaign for back to school shopping

-Hosted a “deep clean” downtown with members of the soccer and softball teams from ESU

-Created the PDGA Worlds championship trophies in the Fab Lab

-Voted “Best Non-Profit Group” by Emporia Gazette readers

-Participated in the FHTC Community Fair


-Hosted the Rural Rise conference

-Held the first Bluegrass and Brews event

-Presented Design and Adopt a Garden awards

-Imaginarium officially opened in the Incubator Space

-Several Fab Lab Projects assisted local business product development

-Held the Great American Market

-Assisted with International Student Tours

-Promoted the No Coast Film Festival

-Staff attended the META training in Kansas City

-Set a focus group for a local business expansion


-Launched the Start Your Own Business Class

-Participated in KSNT regional interviews

-Hosted downtown trick or treat and costume contest

-Assisted the HOTT Dia de los Muertos

-Hosted Haunted Tours

-Veterans Banners were placed downtown

-Hosted a Kansas Main Street training conference

-Held the third round of Adopt a Garden voting

-Worked with touring international students


-Promoted Small Business Saturday through the Elf Hunt

-The Baldwin Lofts (the first Upper Story RHID project in the state) opened

-Converted to online horse drawn carriage ride registrations

-Launched the Soldier Care Package drive

-Worked with the City of Emporia, the Trusler Foundation, and Klumpe Blacksmithing to refurbish downtown holiday decorations

-Funded a redevelopment project in the 300 Block of Commercial Street

-Hosted Freedom Fest

-Launched Placer data collection to aid in business and event development

-Continued to produce several products for local businesses through the Fabrication Lab

-Lydia Kimble started as the new Emporia Main Street intern


-Launched a teacher gift certificate program for area education professionals

-Hosted horse drawn carriage rides

-Aided in loans for business transitions and property development

-Hosted a Quarter Mania

-Produced holiday Fab Lab products internally and to support local businesses

-Said goodbye to longtime intern Aubrey Powell

-Changed communication systems emails

-Hosted Start Your Own Business Class graduation

-Held a Moonlight Madness shopping event

-Cleaned and organized veterans banners for redistribution and storage

-Produced holiday pride merchandise with playing cards, ornaments, shirts, and more

-Sent 24 soldier care packages to deployed men and women

-Promoted use of a relief grant for storefront businesses that meet certain criteria.

-Participated in mock interview day with Emporia High School


Committee Meetings- Each month we have two Board of Directors Meetings (first and third Wednesdays at 7:45 a.m.) a Promotions Team meeting (second Wednesday at 8:00 a.m.), a Design Team meeting (second Thursday at noon), a Business Enhancement Team Meeting (fourth Wednesday at noon), and various specialty meetings designed to gather information and create actionable strategies. Approximately 700 hours of volunteer time are donated by volunteers each year for special and standing meetings to improve our region.

Buildings– $1,487,400 in property was sold in downtown Emporia in 2022

Businesses- Seven new businesses started up in downtown in 2022.

Development- $2,158,281 in permitted development activities occurred in downtown in 2022.

GC’s- Approximately $75,500 in gift certificates were sold.

Volunteers- Worked with approximately 450 individual volunteers throughout the year to make events, cleanups, and development activities happen.

Cleanups- Facilitated forty downtown cleanup activities with the equivalent of 220 bags of trash removed.

Loan Financing- $187,000 in gap financing secured for local business startup or expansions.

Entrepreneurial Assistance– Facilitated the education of eleven Start Your Own Business class graduates and worked with eight business concepts for the Show of Hands event (seven of the businesses achieved the startup or expansion threshold).

Social Media- Emporia Main Street grew our outreach to include 14,220 Facebook followers, 2,447 Instagram followers, 3,035 Twitter followers, and 15,109 followers through Constant Contact.

About the Author

Jessica Buchholz, Events Coordinator

Jessica Buchholz is the Community Development Coordinator for Emporia Main Street in Emporia, Kansas. She specializes in event planning, volunteer recruitment, alternative marketing, media/public relations and fundraising. During Jessica's tenure at Emporia Main Street, she has helped grow events to an international level and she has created a series of new activities to meet organizational goals.