Co-working: Not just a high-tech trend

07/03/17

Co-working has been a trendy topic the first spaces opened in 2010. For most of this time, the trend has been concentrated mostly in larger cities. The movement has continued to gain steam, with nearly 14,000 co-working spaces now operating worldwide, and about 2,500 new spaces per year being added. No longer just for high-tech workers, co-working spaces now come in a variety of forms – there are spaces that cater to artists, makers, remote workers, the self-employed professional and startups of all types.

Sustaining Family-Owned Businesses in Downtown

06/19/17

Whether a business begins when a husband-and-wife team goes into business together, or with a parent-child partnership, family-owned businesses often have close ties to the community and can be powerful advocates on behalf of the community. However, 70 percent of all privately owned businesses will change hands in the coming decade as Baby Boomers retire, and only one-third of family businesses successfully make this transition. Businesses can significantly improve their odds by undertaking three critical initiatives.

By proclamation, Governor Scott Walker declared August 22, 2017 Wisconsin Main Street Day. The day included the announcement of the newest Wisconsin Main Street Program participant, Milwaukee’s Historic King Drive, as well as celebrations and ribbon-cuttings in 11 other communities: Ashland, De Pere, Fond du Lac, La Crosse, Port Washington, Princeton, Ripon, Shullsburg, Tomah, Viroqua and Wausau.

Promotion positions the downtown or commercial district as the center of the community and hub of economic activity, while creating a positive image that showcases a community’s unique characteristics.  -Main Street America™

During New Director Training, I spend a considerable amount of time helping new directors consider their district brand. In this article, I’ll walk you through some of the considerations we go over during the training, to serve as a refresher (or for those who may have gone through this training some time ago).

Wisconsin Main Street directors and volunteers, as well as Connect Communities representatives and even a few Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) regional economic development directors, gathered in Madison on July 31 and Aug. 1 for a training for new Wisconsin Main Street directors. While this day-and-a-half-long training is required for any new directors of designated Wisconsin Main Street programs, it is also open (on an optional basis) to volunteers and local Connect Communities participants. The first day is filled with an in-depth exploration of the Main Street Approach, sharing the history and breaking the Four Points™ (design, economic vitality, organization and promotion) into easy to understand concepts peppered with examples from the downtown development team’s years of experience.

Too often, community enhancement conversations start with a conversation about elements that are perceived to be missing. For example, discussions might center on how to fund a new pool, splash pad, bike rack or parking lots—but seldom do these conversations include an assessment of the utility of existing infrastructure: How are the existing streetscape and built infrastructure performing? What is the potential for past investments to evolve and reflect current needs? Can we get more use out of these items before we add something new? It is all too easy to overlook the existing infrastructure, but as the examples below prove, examining it with fresh eyes can result in unexpected and impactful projects.