Eight Principles of Success (of revitalization)

I wanted to share the following principles from the the Pennsylvania Downtown Center, the non-profit, member-focused and service oriented organization for Pennsylvania’s downtowns, downtown revitalization has eight guiding principles that set it apart from other redevelopment strategies:

1. Comprehensive: Downtown revitalization is a complex process requiring a comprehensive strategy. No single project such as lavish public improvement, “name-brand” business recruitment, or endless promotional events can revitalize the downtown.

2. Incremental: Basic, simple activities lead to a more sophisticated understanding of the revitalization process and help members of the community develop skills to tackle more complex problems and ambitious projects.

3. Self-Help: Local leaders must have the will and desire to mobilize local resources. That means convincing residents and business owners alike of the rewards for their investment of time and money in the downtown as the heart of the community.

4. Partnership: Both the public and private sectors have a vital interest in the downtown. Partnership means that all stakeholders are contributing time, money, and expertise—often individually, but sometimes sitting as a group around the same table.

5. Assets: To give people a sense of belonging and pride, downtown revitalization must capitalize on the unique assets it already has – distinctive buildings, neighborly shop owners, and human scale that cannot be copied at a strip or shopping mall.

6. Quality: A high standard of quality must be set for every aspect of the downtown district, from window displays to marketing brochures, and from public improvements to storefront renovations.

7. Change: Changes in attitude and practice are slow but definite and essential. The “Main Street” approach often brings about a major shift in downtown’s use, purpose and future.

8. Action-Oriented: The downtown focus is to simultaneously plan for the future while creatingvisible change and activities now.


Welcome to Main Street

I came across interesting reading from the National Trust Main Street Center from their Promotion Handbook. I want to share this excerpt with our readers.

“Most traditional commercial districts will never again be able to provide the range of goods and services they offered 20 or 30 years ago. To support the rehabilitation and maintenance of downtown commercial areas in today’s market, we must aggressively expand Main Street’s business mix—and market area.

■ Main Street is not “city hall’s responsibility” and yet our “Mom & Pop” business owners can’t do it alone. A collaborative effort, combining the unique skills and vantage points of both public and private sectors, is essential.

■ Main Street’s renewal doesn't happen overnight; it’s a gradual process that begins with small steps, eventually building our capacity to tackle larger, more complicated revitalization projects and problems. “Big fix,” overnight solutions to downtown revitalization almost always fail.

■ Traditional commercial districts, like shopping malls, require full-time, professional management.

Main Street is more than an economic asset. It is also a community’s crossroad, a place in our hearts and minds that evokes strong emotions and helps. Clearly, Main Street needs an ally, an advocate, a leader...and that’s where you come in.”

The Chamber hopes to form a DownTown Promotions Committee that members will lead in projects and activities and set achievable goals to revitalize the downtown area. Contact the chamber if you’re interested in joining this movement.


Greenville Chamber Challenge

The Chamber announces the Greenville Chamber Challenge business contest. The Downtown Task Force generated the idea to attract businesses to the Greenville Business District. The winner will receive $5,000 to use for rent, down payment for purchase, or renovation and remodeling. Contestants must submit a business plan by September 18 to the chamber of commerce. Assistance in completing the plan is available from the Gannon Small Business Development Center located in the chamber office building. Five contestants will be selected by a panel of judges to give oral presentations, and then one winner will be chosen from those presentations. Criteria and eligibility guidelines are available at the Chamber office or you can download a copy here.


Big Top For Sale

It's not the circus; it's a building available through the Greenville Reynolds Development Corp.

Building Specs:

  • Building is 86’x272 on one side and 86’x242’ on other side.
  • Cranes: 2 are 20 ton and 1 is 10 ton. Rail height of cranes is 22’-7”. Center to center rail is 79’-6”.
  • Building has 32’ eaves. 28’-9” clearance under frame.

Click here for a picture of the building.

Those interested should contact Brad Gosser, 724-646-1144

Greenville Main Street Showcase

A task force was formed at the suggestion of an engineer's study after the closure of Main Street, and we began to explore better ways for the Borough and the downtown merchants to communicate. The group participated in a couple of meetings sharing ideas not only about means of communication, but also about the general business environment in Greenville. 

These open discussions have led to the planning of an event on November 19 that will feature open tours of available rental space, as well as giving interested entrepreneurs an opportunity to talk with local bank representatives, a borough code representative, and a member of the Gannon Small Business Development Center.

This is an exciting venture, and the group is positive as we look for ways to market the business climate in Greenville. The next meeting is Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. in the chamber's conference room.

To view the flyer for reservation information, click here.



PA Sunshine Law

Sunshine laws, also known as open-meeting laws or public-records laws, support government transparency and accountability, allowing citizens to know what goes on when government officials transact public business. As the majority of county municipalities, the Borough of Greenville holds a council work session and a regular council meeting, and both of these meetings are open to the public. Regular council meetings are held the second Monday of the month with the work session held the previous Thursday. 

According to the law, advance notice of the meetings must be given. The Record Argus publishes meeting dates on the bottom left corner of the front page. The Borough also posts the dates on their web page under the "Borough Information" tab. There is a link on the home page that directs users to a portal containing agendas and minutes from previous meetings as well as other public documents.

An important differentiating note here is that deliberation surrounding motions occurs during work sessions, and the actual vote happens at the regular council meetings. Public comments are heard at the beginning of the meeting and then again at the end of the meeting. However, any comments given at the end of the meeting must pertain to agenda items discussed during the meeting. If you are attending a regular council meeting and want to voice a concern, visitors have the floor during the beginning of the meeting and are each given five minutes to speak.

Local government is for everyone. Local government is responsible to its citizens, and they want to make sound decisions regarding community needs and the best use of resources to create a sustainable community.

The Cycle At Work, But Let's Keep It Going

Over a year ago now there was a group of chamber members and concerned small business owners who came together to talk about what it means to do business in a small community. These business owners are some of the most generous people this area has to offer, always giving to important causes and supporting local sports teams or other youth oriented activities.

There is a cycle that is supposed to work.

business cycle.jpg

Many of these businesses were starting to notice a dangerous shift in mindset that was throwing off the cycle that is supposed to work.  This cycle is so dependent on all the parts to work that it is difficult to pick which part to start with, since all of them are equally important. Let's just start with Building A Better Community.  This first step, is really an ongoing goal, the idea that keeps the cycle turning. It's what should prompt the community to act and should be a conscious business decision. In this cycle Building A Better Community directs the community in supporting local businesses. These businesses are what make our community unique and they notoriously keep local dollars spent local.  With the action of the Community Supporting Local Business we start to see Local Small Businesses Succeed. They may be able to employ more people or they might be able to improve local infrastructure through repairs made to their building. But ultimately Local Small Business Success should lead to those Businesses Generously giving to their community. The cycle can grow and blossom and have profound impacts. 

But does this happen here?

With the Main Street closed many of our small businesses that occupy our downtown are feeling the pinch. Sales are down, way down. Joe & Jenn of Padrone's Pizza & Pub have a business downtown that has been greatly effected. They have, however, also experienced something tremendous during this difficult time: the cycle at work.  Some of their best customers have reached out and have showed up during this time of need. A local patron recently came and bought hundreds in gift cards to give to co-workers this Christmas and decided to all bless the hard-hit serve staff and bar tenders by leaving a hefty tip. Even a local "Big Bad Corporation" ordered a large number of pizzas to feed their staff, saying something along the lines of, "you guys have always been good to us and we want to help you out." This is community at work, this is the cycle making its way around to complete the circle. Joe and Jenn believe the out pouring from their patrons and from the community can be attributed to their efforts of supporting the community over the past 10 years they have been in business in Greenville, PA. 

Recently in a meeting with other downtown businesses, Joe mentioned the need of addressing the community in starting local. Unknowingly, what Joe is proposing is the very thing those businesses first mentioned were working on. We are having our "for such a time as this" moment. 

It's time to launch our START HERE campaign.  A couple of points to get the ball rolling:

  •  It's about educating both businesses and community with the hopes of creating good locally minded habits.
  • We understand that our local small businesses do not have everything and will not meet all of your needs, but the idea behind it is in the name, we should at least "Start Here". Start local and get what you can from your small businesses... make that part of your routine.
  • There are many reasons why Buying Local Matters. Keep an eye out for campaign materials sharing those points. They will be on posters, post cards, and businesses cards for you to keep in your wallet as a reminder.

There is work to do.

Creating habits like starting local before your go some where else is not easy. It is sometimes changing years and years of "convenience" excuses and apathy. But why don't we start finally? So let's start here. 

Keep supporting your downtown businesses who are hurting right now. Let's make a concerted effort to keep them alive, especially those who have demonstrated their part in the cycle: Business Generosity -> Building A Better Community

From Start To Open

When Evian Zukas-Oguz was asked to describe the experience of opening her new store, Life's A Yarn, her first words were "Well, it took longer than I expected." This is a common sentiment among people who are committed to realizing their dream and this perseverance is a trait any entrepreneur must have. 

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