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Building Momentum: Achieving Results

Avatar photo by Jessica Buchholz, Events Coordinator | June 14, 2023
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In today’s rapidly changing world, rural communities, faced with the challenge of keeping up with the ever-evolving economic landscape, must respond to these challenges by adopting innovative approaches and generating momentum through community and economic development initiatives to achieve remarkable results.

This past year, Emporia Main Street focused on areas of development, such as infrastructure, entrepreneurship, tourism, and education to create a vibrant place for our community members and visitors. We have worked with various partners and individuals—local business owners, educators, government officials, and passionate residents who want to make a difference.

Two outcomes from our collaborative framework have greatly enhanced our local economy. The first is our business incubator space. Now hosting our second tenant, Emporia Imaginarium, we can provide a workspace with resources and mentorship that is affordable for aspiring entrepreneurs. The Emporia Main Street Incubator Space has not only encouraged the growth of new businesses but also fostered a culture of innovation and collaboration within the community.

The second is our Fabrication Lab. It continues to engage community members and empower local entrepreneurs. Last year, the Fab Lab collaborated with 45 entities on a variety of projects ranging from chocolate molds to GPS units to architectural renderings. By providing access to prototyping and manufacturing tools, we can enable aspiring entrepreneurs to iterate and refine their product designs, reducing the cost and time associated with traditional manufacturing.

Emporia Main Street recognizes the significance of tourism in stimulating economic growth, so we have invested a significant amount of time and resources to promote our area as a tourism destination. Using targeted marketing strategies and geolocation data to pinpoint ideal target markets, we then develop customized marketing strategies for those potential visitors. The more than 2 million people who visited downtown Emporia last year convince us that our efforts are making real impacts.

In addition to economic development, Emporia Main Street understands that investing in human capital is essential for long-term growth. Collaborating with local schools, colleges, and vocational training centers, we have implemented initiatives to enhance educational opportunities and provide relevant skills training. Courses like our Start Your Own Business Class and E-tech Start Ups give individuals a comprehensive understanding of various aspects of entrepreneurship, market analysis, business planning, financial management, marketing strategies, and effective leadership.

Emporia Main Street, as part of a national organization, works to make our region a place that has a thriving local economy, is rich in character, and features inviting public spaces that make residents and visitors feel that they belong. By building momentum and working together, Emporia Main Street and our Community have achieved some impressive results in the past 33 years. We are looking forward to the coming year and thank you for Investing in our Organization and Region! We hope you will join us again as we continue our community and economic development.


Your Friends at Emporia Main Street.  

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.