The holiday season without a doubt is a critical time of year for small businesses, but ensuring the long-term success of downtown stores is something that can’t be accomplished in a matter of weeks. A well thought-out strategy, buy-in from the business community, visionary leadership from local stakeholders of all types, and a year-round focus are all keys to successful commercial districts.

Participants in the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s downtown development initiatives — the Main Street and Connect Communities programs — know the value of this hard work. Those in Fond du Lac and elsewhere around the state have collectively generated just shy of 85,000 hours of community volunteer time dedicated to improving their downtown experiences, supporting local businesses and promoting downtowns and historic commercial districts as the heart of their communities.

Read the full opinion piece from WEDC’s Errin Welty here.