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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Your Daily Business Journal

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

Modern entrepreneurs can suffer from information overload.  Every media outlet has a plethora of data that they can present to businesses in the process of making informed advertising decisions.  The Emporia community has events your business can get involved in almost every week.  Market data that highlights demographic, psychographic, and geographic information is available at the touch of a button.  Businesses that use accounting software, or use a local accountant, have a series of financial reports available that provide a current forecast for the business.  The local Small Business Development Center provides cash flow projections, Ibis World reports, and internal analysis that can help keep a business on the right path.  With all of this information available, some entrepreneurs simply get lost in a sea of numbers. All of the aforementioned reports are critically important to understanding your business past, present, and potential future.  However, most entrepreneurs need something simple that they can glance at to help them easily spot trends and help make decisions.  A business journal is one of the simplest methods that can connect a small business person directly to the “30,000 foot view” data points that allow for trend identification, maximization of opportunities, and threat mitigation.  Tracking a few data points on a daily basis can identify highlights highs and lows within a business, and significant changes may encourage entrepreneurs to take a closer look at other forms of data.  Below are a few data points you should consider journaling, and a few helpful links. 1. Date/Day-  Noting the day and date can help you look back and spot trends.  With enough information, you can extrapolate future staffing, buying decisions, hours of operation, and more.  It seems obvious, but remember that days may have different dates in past years.  Your awesome Saturday may only look awesome in comparison to a Monday on the same date in a previous year.  Over time, you may see a pattern emerge as different holidays fall on different days, and impact sales both before and after celebrations. 2. Gross Sales-  This data point doesn’t automatically recognize profitability, but it is an indicator of sales volume.  If you look at your gross sales over a week, month, or quarter, you can typically spot opportunities or mitigate emerging threats before it is too late.  Looking back over previous years can help you extrapolate future sales based on current gross sales of items. 3. Items Per Sale-  In the world of retail, the saying goes: “Sell one item, you are losing money.  Two items, you are breaking even.  Three or more, and you are making money.”  The more items you sell to your customer, the more efficient the selling process for the business. ...

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Being Relevant

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

Every business, organization, or non-profit should consistently ask themselves: “why am I absolutely necessary in the lives of my consumer?”  Necessity can mean something different depending on your stage of life, your financial situation, and your personal preference.  Something that is “necessary” to a retiree may not be necessary to a young parent.  A product or service that is absolutely required for a family with a household income of $300K may be different than the needs of a family with a $40,000 yearly income.  We are all different people, and what is relevant to one person may not be relevant to someone else.  HOWEVER, there are some common elements when designing a business or organization that holds lasting relevance in the mind of the consuming public. 1.  What do you actually do?  Among economic development specialists, there is a process known as “buzz word bingo”.  You have probably heard of people saying something like “we are the leader in producing quality products for our consumer at reasonable prices with outstanding service”.  What does that business or organization actually do?  Be honest with yourself, and talk about the product or service that you actually produce.  When you start distilling your entity down to “actuality”, you can determine your level of necessity. 2.  What problem(s) do you solve (and is that problem relevant)? Relevance in problem solving is more complex in the era of automation.  At one time, the phone book was a critical tool for businesses and consumers.  With the ascent of online databases, people have access to a worldwide phone book with their smart phone.  Physical connectivity in knowledge points has often been replaced (or at least diminished) with on-line alternatives.  For other business/organizational models, your ability to solve for issues generally has a measurable item related to it.  Some solvency expresses itself in sales of your products.  Sometimes you can look at third party market penetration models to show your ability to remain relevant to the consumer.  For non-profits, you can look at changes in the issue you are trying to change to determine your relevance. 3.  How do you make lasting, positive change?  Beyond the sale, beyond the “we made contact”, beyond the “we offered services”, how do you make a lasting change in the lives of your consuming public?  For some businesses, you can track impact by customers becoming employees or volunteers over time.  For other entities, you can measure the “nostalgia effect” with people that share fond stories of your entity years after they intersect with your organization. 4.  Do you follow up?  It’s a bit of a cliche, but many businesses and organizations will talk about how they “change lives”.  You can typically tell...

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