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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For The Love…

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

Between the news, the weather, and the constant pressure to succeed, many entrepreneurs can lose sight of what is going right with their community.  So, we asked people what they loved about the area, and what they loved about downtown.  We got a solid response rate from locals that really like what you are up to…  Check out the responses below:   We love the Community, downtown, mobilizing literacy group, EAC, all the fun activities and events around to do as a family! The gymnastics and dance groups. The rec center, Definitely the skating rink, Farmers market, Our local library.  Friendly, hardworking,fun to hangout with,the people who call Emporia “home” is what I love! I love the support for all the community organizations. Our community always pulls together, and supports one another. Small that you actually know the people in the town. Bigger town but with a small town atmosphere. I love the closeness of family and friends. Emporia is growing all the time but still small enough that you can go just about anywhere and run into someone you know. I love that Emporia supports their locals and small business. Emporia is a great town to raise a family, they are a small town with great people in  it! How our community is very welcoming and supports everything local. The atmosphere. Everyone is laid back and easy going. The trees and rivers are wonderful! Even though I live in KC, I love to go back to E Town and visit family and friends. I love driving around in my old neighborhood and touring ESU, my alma mater. I really enjoy the 7 degrees of Kevin Bacon. Since Emporia is small, there is always a friendly connection to Emporians. I love the Flint Hills where my family homesteaded many years ago. I love that Emporia is the center of it all. Small town feel but big enough to be amazing. The people are really nice & willing to help each other out. Also, the small town feel is really comforting while there is also things to do. I love how involved the community is with the college and vice versa. From the block party to internships to student discounts, I feel like Emporia and ESU work together in a way that is more rare than one might think. I love all of the cool events that get put on throughout our community and the university! I think everyone works cohesively to provide activities for all age levels in this community. I like the size of Emporia! You don’t know everyone but you know enough people to feel safe. I also love how people are pretty low maintenance. I love...

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Property Opportunity

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

Location, Location, Location used to stand out as the major indicator of potential success for businesses and organizations.  While location is still very important, we have a better understanding of the location based factors that allow for business or organizational success.  The older understanding of business placement centered around “counting cars” to determine traffic surrounding an area, with the assumption that more vehicular traffic would automatically result in higher sales.  Newer placement philosophies look at area traffic drivers, adjacent housing, operational hours of complimentary businesses, area events, pedestrian/bike accessibility, price per square foot, visibility, AND vehicular traffic patterns.   In the world of retail, the world is changing pretty quickly.  Gigantic storefronts are being replaced with smaller options due to improved logistics management and an understanding of actual square footage needs.  On-line sales are hurting chains (even more than independents) and requiring a change in development philosophy. Service based businesses and organizations often look for areas adjacent to “third spaces” (hangouts like restaurants and bars) to conduct activities in the immediate vicinity of an office complex. Restaurants look for anchors (courthouses, civic centers, colleges, etc.) that can act as a constant source of consuming traffic for their business. All businesses understand that people travel in ways beyond the “car”, and a strong indicator of business success are linkage points and general accessibility of housing in the immediate area of commercial options.  Restaurants are highly dependent on nightlife or other events to generate a dining public looking for an experience.   Emporia Main Street has a Property Availability Guide (to submit a property CLICK HERE), but there are a few new locations that may fit your existing business concept as you consider a move, act as the perfect place to start a new business, or serve as an organizational headquarters.  We have some vacant properties downtown that aren’t actively marketed as “for sale” or “for rent” even though they are vacant (you don’t have to be logical to own commercial property), but we have some quality properties that are new to the local inventory, like those below: https://emporiamainstreet.com/buisness-resources/available-properties/ In one case, with the 502 and 504 Commercial Building, a profitable business is included within the building sale, and one of the upper stories has one of the nicest loft apartments in the entire downtown.  Some of the office spaces listed are in high traffic areas, with dedicated parking, and reasonable rent rates.  These spaces represent awesome opportunities for businesses or organizations to grow sales and traffic. If you are looking to upgrade your commercial property, open a business, or expand your current operation, now may be the time to contact a local real estate agent, look through our available property...

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The Next Vision

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

Emporia Main Street separates development strategies into a series of visions that last about a decade.  The declarative vision statements set priorities within organizational work planning to achieve standards set by the membership and area stakeholders.  While that sounds like a lot of buzz words, what it really means is that all of you set targets for us to achieve, we work to qualify them by setting metrics (risks, rewards, likelihood, resources needed), and then we constantly work (and rework) initiatives to push the implementation of the vision.  If the process works correctly, we should see movement on the initial statement that requires revision for a future vision.   Not everything from a vision will be achieved to our satisfaction, because vision statements should require organizations to stretch themselves.  A vision statement shouldn’t involve self congratulatory statements (we are the leader in…), but should solidify an organizational position through the achievement of the standards set within the vision statement.  For example, the 2020 Vision Statement for Emporia Main Street was:   Vision 2020 Emporia Main Street: “shaping the future of  Emporia and Lyon County using re-development, rehabilitation and in-fill in the town center; making downtown a destination for dining, shopping, and entertainment; and facilitating traffic flow (pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle).” The word “shaping” is used in the world of business to describe innovative processes that create industry changes.  In other words, our vision required us to do things differently to achieve different results.  The mixture of types of development was a difficult discussion.  Some communities simply “tear everything down” and start over.  Some communities require that “nothing changes” in pursuit of preservation.  Other communities see vacant lots as something that is an unfortunate but unavoidable eyesore.  Our vision charged us with pursuing three different development strategies simultaneously.  The charge of “facilitating traffic flow” required us to rethink the business mix downtown, prioritize housing, and emphasize gap financing to push business hours later and pursue newer business types.  A decade ago, the bicycle and pedestrian traffic patterns were very different downtown than they are today, but we are still in the process of adjusting our business economy to reflect modern realities and prepare for future shopping trends. The vision coincides with our organizational mission: Mission: Emporia Main Street, Inc. is a non-profit agency committed to increasing consumer business, strengthening retail and professional institutions, assisting in the preservation and maintenance of the community’s heritage and promoting pride in the community’s institutions and achievements through design, promotion, business enhancement and organization committees. We achieve the vision objectives, while staying true to our mission by adhering to a “Four Point Approach”, which forces us to look at issues through four different lenses (basically perspectives) that provide...

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2018 Recap

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

The end of the calendar year gives us the opportunity to look back, before we press on with a busy 2019.  We show our appreciation for your support through service, and the best way to communicate that services have an impact on the community is to show what was actually DONE by the Emporia Main Street organization and through affiliated partnerships.  On a monthly basis, a small staff and wonderful volunteers are constantly producing events, activities, and strategies to make a real difference.  Yes, we market what we do, but we take great pride in creating tangible impacts.  We always have areas where we can improve, but as we approach the last year in this decade, I think everyone can recognize the growth that has occurred.   Here is a monthly listing of some of the work programs initiated during 2019:   January Held a Mix and Match event to improve community retention Unwrapped Christmas lights from downtown lamp posts Presented a check from Freedom Fest for scholarships Judged the Hult Prize for entrepreneurship Provided an IWW Loan for The Spectacle Held a Youth Entrepreneurship preparatory event Worked with a local food group on focused marketing       February Held a Dirty Kanza business workshop Hosted the first Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge Placed interns at local business through the Emporia State University CII Program Launched a “Love your local” campaign to assist in promoting local Valentines Shopping March Held a Cyber Security workshop Hosted a Quarter Mania event Assisted in promoting a local pub crawl Held our first Easter sugar stroll Presented three times at the Main Street National Conference Hosted a National Main Street tour of downtown Emporia Launched a Main Street design contest for t-shirts Presented to the Kansas State University School of Architecture and Design Finished a regional comparative market analysis Held a downtown clean up Judged the Entrepreneurship Challenge for Emporia State University and Flint Hills Technical College Worked with City of Emporia Public Works officials to develop a waste management plan for yearly events April Hosted The Taste Assisted with elements of the Glass Blown Open Held the GBO Block Party Assisted with the Kansas Craft Beer Week kickoff Hosted the Kansas APA Symposium Held a Welcome Wagon chalking event Held a downtown cleanup Launched a “proof of concept” temporary lighting project Opened veterans banner lottery applications Started the 2018 Adopt a Garden process Reached $100 million in downtown investment over the life of the Emporia Main Street program Managed several street closure and infrastructure assistance projects related to events Met with a local videographer (Matt Fowler) to create time lapse video of the Dirty Kanza Finish Line Party       May Assisted with the...

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