You Can’t Catch if You Don’t Cast

Posted by on Apr 18, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

Over the next few weeks, downtown Emporia will fill with several thousand visitors from all over the world.  These people will shop, eat, and partake in entertainment options that will result in a significant boost for our local economy.  For businesses that work at converting visitors to spenders, the next few weeks could be a tremendous growth opportunity.  For those that simply expect thousands of people to walk through their door and spend without putting forth any effort, the next few weeks could be a frustrating disappointment.  If you want to be a business that generates sales from local visitors over the next few weeks, consider some of the tips below: 1. Welcome people.  This sounds simple, but a lot of people mess this step up.  You should definitely create window displays (Check out our contest) and generate welcome signs (our Welcome Wagon chalking event is always a hit), but a sign isn’t the same thing as a “welcome”.  The Midwest is known for hospitable citizens, but we can sometimes seem standoffish to outsiders.  If you want visitors to feel welcome, you have to put your best extrovert foot forward and enthusiastically welcome people to your business and to your community. 2. Make sure your business type is obvious.  It’s hard to tell what some businesses do from their name or signage.  If people are new to an area and have limited time, they probably aren’t going to waste their effort on businesses if they aren’t clear what a business sells.  Take a look at your store front, and find ways to make your products/services obvious to potential shoppers.  If you need help, contact Emporia Main Street. 3. Great experiences create great ‘word of mouth”.  People far from home love to talk about the businesses they “discovered” that provided unique experiences.  Find a special prop that highlights your business that people can use to take a “selfie” and post to social media.  Create something interactive that gets new customers involved.  Highlight unique items or services that generate the “we are the only place you can find this” buzz.  Provide fun education about your special items that make customers want to share information. 4. Don’t forget the locals.  People from Denmark have no idea what local businesses are popular and which ones aren’t.  People visiting are attracted to places with people.  Run specials or events that encourage locals to patronize your business during activities.  The locals will get a kick our of the increased traffic, and the visitors will think your business is “the place to be”. 5. Meet visitors where they are.  You can’t stay locked up inside your four store walls and expect to form relationships with visitors.  Get out and...

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Entrepreneurs to Tenants

Posted by on Apr 18, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

Millenial and Gen Z entrepreneurs grew up in a “rental” economy.  Some of the reasons younger generations largely avoid ownership are economic, but some relate to long term risk aversion.  Simply put, younger entrepreneurs often want to try out a concept before making a long term commitment.  That process sounds pragmatic, but the concept of short term trials is often opposed by years of property dogma.  Property owners want the security of long term leases, and short term stints can leave a negative mark on a property if a concept is deemed a “failure”.  So, where is the middle ground?   The concept of concentrated “pop up shops” can allow for more entrepreneurs to test entrepreneurial concepts, and eventually convert to long term property tenants.  Pop up shops are temporary placements within a commercial building for the purposes of market research and sales.  Pop up shops can last different time frames, depending on the focus of the property owner and the goals of the individual entrepreneur.  For the purposes of this article, we will explore different types of pop ups, how to identify them, and the likelihood of landing a long term tenant. 1. The event based pop up-  Over the next couple of months, Emporia will have thousands of people visit our community from far off lands.  These people may want local souvenirs, art work, additional food options, or event specific retail.  Smart landlords with vacancies in proximity to local events and activities can actively recruit tenants for event season, or a singular event.  The upside for this pop up strategy is that the types of businesses you should recruit are fairly evident and you may be able to generate a premium price (depending on your location).  The downside is that this strategy may have a lower probability of landing a long term tenant because of the limited scope of the pop up shops interest (only during events). 2. The holiday pop up-  Christmas stores are fairly common, but stores that focus on Halloween, Valentines Day, and other holiday events (we could see a pop up that focused on Day of the Dead, for example) can generate traffic and internal sales.  Contracts should clearly state entrance and exit strategies for holiday types of pop ups, because you may want to rotate different holiday themed businesses in the same space.  Similar to event base pop ups, there is a singular holiday focus, but some holidays may produce ancillary markets that last all year (Day of the Dead vendors may convert to an import business, for example). 3. The shared risk pop up-  Pop ups can share risk in two distinct ways.  The landlord can take a percentage of sales...

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The Land of O.Z.

Posted by on Apr 18, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

Helping people invest in their community is one of the most important jobs in economic development.  We know that if people inside a community won’t invest, people outside of a community certainly won’t.  We also understand that catalyst tools are necessary to help decrease risk and improve property values.  Over the past decade, Emporia Main Street has assisted with over $60,000,000 worth of reinvestment in the downtown area, and there is a new tool available that may help people looking to invest in our community.  This article will focus on Opportunity Zones at a high level.  There are still some aspects of this program that are “up in the air”, but we want to provide information for individuals that may want to utilize this tool to invest in Emporia.  We will embed several educational links throughout this article so people can do some additional research on their own.   Opportunity Zones allow people to defer or offset capital gains taxes realized by participating in business and/or building operations within designated zones for a set number of years.  Capital gains taxes are typically realized after the sale of assets, like stocks.  Let’s use an example to illustrate an Opportunity Zone transaction: Bill sells his stock in XYZ Company, and realizes a $100,000 gain on the stock sale.  Typically, this $100,000 would be subject to capital gains tax.  However, let’s say that Bill buys interest in a qualified opportunity fund on April 2, 2019 for $100,000.  Bill wouldn’t show a recognized “gain” on the stock sale in 2019.  If Bill owns interest in the qualified opportunity fund on December 31, 2019, he would pay tax on 85% of the “original” gain (he would pay tax on $85,000 gain in 2026 because $100,000 multiplied by 85% is $85,000).  Let’s say that Bill holds the property for ten years, and that the property Bill purchased through his interest in a qualified opportunity fund appreciates to $200,000 during that time frame.  Bill could sell the property that he held for 10 years, and pay no tax on the economic gain for the property, if he meets the ten year holding period.  If Bill invests an additional $50,000 in the property (not from capital gains) to “fix up” the structure, the additional $50,000 won’t qualify for the ten year exclusion, and one-third of the $50,000 injection will be taxable upon the sale of the property. Where is the Emporia opportunity zone?  Please see the map below.  The opportunity zone in Emporia is basically south of 6th Avenue and east of Rural Street through most parts of the city limits.  CLICK HERE to check out Kansas opportunity zones. Confused yet?  Let’s get into a few nuts and bolts,...

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A Window To Your Store

Posted by on Apr 18, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

  With spring promising to be right around the corner (we hope), now is a great time to re-energize your store front with a new window display. The changing of the season, a local event, or a holiday gives you a platform for what theme to tie into your products or services.  More often than not, shoppers enter a store based on the product being shown or the message being communicated in the store window.  Your window displays are like billboards for your store. They can be the make-or-break factor in whether a customer enters your shop or walks on by. Investing a little time and money into developing dynamic window displays can really pay off.   Plan Your Purpose What message do you want to convey? Are you having a sale? Do you want to promote a new product or product line? Are you a service based business that wants to highlight what customers can find once they open the door? Make sure that your front window or door has an open/closed sign and your hours listed. Make Sure Signage is Easily Visible The sign that looks great when you’re standing right next to it might be hard to see from a moving vehicle or if a potential customer is across the street. While all details can not be done to suit all viewing points, try a mixture of items that can be seen from a distance or up close. Go outside and stand in a few different spots to see what your display looks like. Getting a different view of your work can help you see what your customer is seeing. Think Three Dimensional  A window display that uses three dimensional items can be very appealing to the eye. Shift mannequins or signs to an angle to catch more eyes as shopper pass by your store front. Use tiers, pedestals, and makeshift risers to elevate and draw focus to your featured products. Decide Whether You Want a Background Or do you want your store to be visible? Each approach has its pros and cons. Putting a background behind the your window allows for the display to stand out better, but does not allow for window shoppers to get a look inside to your sales floor. Paper backgrounds can be a cost effective way to highlight products, and when sized properly, allow customers to see inside your store. Mix in Some Props If you are wanting to connect with a local event, adding elements of the event can be a great way to feature your products.  Even if you do not sell event specific products – your business can still relate indirectly to this customer base.  Visitors are often drawn...

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Gen Z

Posted by on Apr 18, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

Economic development and community based planning is a long proposition.  We often will engage in planning procedures today that don’t bare full fruit for a decade (or two).  In other words, if we are looking at a twenty year plan to realign housing to community needs, we can’t look at the needs of the present (or worse, the past).  We have to project what needs WILL be, based on the information we receive from emerging generations. So, this article will be a little different.  Main Street has two full time employees (one from Gen X, and one that is a Millennial), but we also have two very bright interns from Gen Z.  The following statement may sound simple, but if you are trying to target a specific market, it is pretty important to include that market in your decision making process.  The world is full of failed strategies that were based on one group making decisions for another group without a solid understanding of the wants/needs of the people they were producing products/services for.  In an effort to avoid those mistakes, we asked our interns to explain their generation in relation to business and lifestyle strategies that we may impact.  Here is what they had to say: We hear previous generations say “This (new) generation is…” typically followed with some variation of how we negatively impact things or change standards that they enjoy.  What most people don’t realize is that it is hard to understand the motivations of a particular group, unless you are actually part of the group.  Generation Z is a generation unlike any other.  Experts in generational demographics can’t agree on an exact date when Generation Z started (most place a date of birth in the later part of the 1990’s), or when the next generation following us begins (a birth date anywhere from 2010 to 2015).  What they can agree on is that our generation is very different from those that came before us. We are Emporia Main Street interns.  The nature of our jobs are much more diverse than the stereotypical “fetch coffee and run errands“.  We interact with many different community members, governmental officials, and business owners on a consistent basis.  Our interactions are with many people from different generations, economic means, philosophies, and values systems. I am Hannah Price, and I am a Senior Nursing Major at Emporia State University.  I will soon graduate and join the workforce as a registered nurse. I am Alanie Stalcup and I am also a Senior.  My major is Communication with a minor in Ethnic and Gender Studies at Emporia State University. Together we have collaborated on a basic explanation of Generation Z based on our...

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Motivation Selling

Posted by on Apr 18, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

When most of us think about the buying process for products or services, we often simplify the motivations of our customers.  The “why” behind the purchase motivation simply becomes “because they needed/wanted it”.  Understanding the true motivations behind consumer spending can allow your business to alter products, services, and marketing to improve sales. Motivation selling is the process of understanding why people make a purchase, and then altering product selection and marketing techniques to generate more sales.  For example, when it snows, the sale of snow shovels and ice melt increases because people need products to clear their sidewalks of snow and ice.  If your business sells snow shovels and ice melt, communicating to customers prior to, during, and immediately after a snow storm with products, techniques, and other useful information pertaining to snow removal will most likely result in additional sales.  Most activity based sales are not that simple, and they require communication with your customers, product adjustments, and the ability to adapt your marketing strategies.  The following are a few steps you can take to better understand the “why” behind consumer spending, and processes to improve sales volume. 1.  It starts with customer communication.- In face-to-face conversations at the register, through capture surveys, or through direct customer communication outside of the shopping environment, it is important to obtain information about why customers are spending.  This goes beyond a restaurant accepting “I was hungry” as a reason that people are buying products.  In the simplest terms, why did customers select your business and a particular product or service for purchase?  When you drill down, a bar may realize that its primary motivator for customers is the social connections made in a tavern environment (for example) instead of the simple “I wanted a beer.” 2.  Do you need to tweak products or services based off of your feedback?- You have learned what is motivating your customers to purchase your products or services.  Based on that information, how can you adjust your product mix to better suit the needs of your clients?  If people are coming to your clothing store primarily for special occasions, are there other clothing or accessory options that you can carry to make yourself a one-stop-shop?  If your gift shop is a hot spot for people that have recently purchased new homes, can you partner with local real estate firms?  If your restaurant is popular with people looking for healthier food options, can you alter additional menu offerings to capitalize on the health conscious crowd? 3. Can you alter your messaging to reinforce consumer actions?- If your business is the place customers go for a particular product or service, shouldn’t you highlight that?  Forming a coherent...

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