Improving Business Conditions

Heather Hiles Master Talk

Heather Hiles is an expert in technology, learning and talent development, with a 30-year track record of creating and scaling nonprofit and for-profit organizations that have improved millions of lives. Hiles is the founder / co-founder of SFWorks, EARN, The Hiles Group, Pathbrite, Calbright College and Black Ops Ventures.

Downtown Strong Small Business Impact Fund

In March of 2020 Twenty-two thousand office workers disappeared. Three-million visitors vanished. Our local retailers were shuttered. If ever there was a time to get creative, this was it. The decision was made to create a small matching grant program with an initial budget of $10,000 from our marketing account. A brand, Downtown Strong, and logo were created, and we began to promote the opportunity to our downtown businesses and non-profits.

DSM Forward Playbooks

The DSM Forward Playbooks are a strategic, ongoing project aimed at helping area businesses and industries prepare for the next steps related to economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The industry-specific and professional business function playbooks are meant to provide guidelines and recommendations to assist in determining future strategies and tactics.

Staff Supper and Heart & Soul Cookbook

The Staff Supper and Heart & Soul Cookbook project was a partnership between RDBID and RWBID. Its goal was to support food and beverage establishments and their employees who had been laid off due to the closure and were experiencing financial and emotional hardship due to COVID 19. This program ran for seven weeks during Saskatchewan’s government forced closure (April through June 2020).

Cincy Card Connection Program

The Cincy Card Connection program was created and managed by 3CDC to provide immediate financial support to Downtown Cincinnati merchants. The program established a unique gift card matching system that benefits two businesses with one gift card purchase. In order to help as many local businesses as possible, the matching gift card would be purchased from a similar, but different, business.

Small Business Innovation Fund

The Center City Small Business Innovation Fund is an initiative designed to spur and support innovation and adaptation by small businesses as they adapt to the new economic realities caused by the COVID-19 crisis and economic downturn. This award delves into the details of the application, outreach, and review process as well as challenges faced in the program’s implementation.

Curbside San Diego

Curbside San Diego is an initiative spearheaded by the Downtown San Diego Partnership to promote the creative and flexible use of the public right-of-way for the expansion of outdoor business operations in downtown San Diego during and post the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative’s two primary goals are to develop creative and flexible uses of the public-right-of-way and promote long-term solutions to transforming downtown’s streets and sidewalks into vibrant people-focused places.

Dining Delivery Support Program

The Fort Wayne Downtown Improvement District (D.I.D.) was searching for ways to help keep downtown restaurants in business while operating within the bounds of the safety restrictions we were experiencing. This sparked an idea to partner with a local downtown delivery company Waiter on the Way to deliver for downtown restaurants with a special discount.

Dining on the Spot

The Dining on the Spot program, which provided expanded outdoor dining options when indoor seating was closed early March and April, was directly responsible for keeping Downtown West Palm Beach restaurants in business. In addition to creating a mechanism to continue serving customers, the DDA also provided funding for equipment rental and a branded signage program for restaurants participating in Dining on the Spot.

Lift Up Local

Lift Up Local is comprised of three smaller projects: Expanding sidewalks, a grant program, and a downtown voucher program. This Best Practices dives into the logistics and details of each component.

Hero Meals

Facing one of the first COVID shutdowns in the country, our restaurants were faced with immediate lost revenues, extra food, and a desire to help those fighting on the front lines of the pandemic. The Downtown Tacoma Partnership stepped in creating a site for people to purchase Hero Meals from downtown restaurants we delivered to the front-line workers keeping our community moving.

Curbside Baltimore

This program was created, and scaled up quickly, to support local restaurants and retailers during COVID shutdowns in the spring and fall. It had two components: a universal hashtag #CurbsideBaltimore that we created for businesses to promote their pivot in response to COVID, and; a subsidized gift card program for locally-owned shops, restaurants, and makers within our BID. For each $20 gift card purchased, we added an additional $10, giving the purchaser $30 to spend.

Downtown Dallas COVID-19 Recovery Plan

Supporting business continuity, building an inclusive city and positioning Downtown Dallas to be an international model for economic recovery and social equity is top of mind for Downtown Dallas, Inc. We work every day to protect the last 25 years of investment in the heart of our city and the diversity of our community, while advancing continued growth. Downtown Dallas, Inc., in close collaboration with its members, established a comprehensive path forward.

Great DSM Hot Air Balloon Hunt

Greater Des Moines (DSM) residents were encouraged to search for fun surprises in the Downtown DSM throughout two winter weekend evenings on Friday, Jan. 22 and Friday, March 5. Glowing hot air balloons were being stationed in different locations throughout Downtown for an hour-and-a-half each night. Residents were invited to follow The Partnership’s social media channels so that they were first to know about the balloon locations.

Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) Recovery Compass

The DTLA Recovery Compass was a multi-wave tracking study, surveying downtown stakeholders on a range of issues, trends, and sentiments about the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on Downtown Los Angeles. A total of eight survey waves, each with 200-300 responses, were collected throughout 2020. The survey was promoted via the DCBID email distribution list and paid, targeted advertising on Facebook and Instagram.

Advancing Places: From Pop-Up to Permanent

In this session, learn how three different organizations are incubating businesses in a pop-up environment to create immediate buzz and interest, potentially leading to long-term tenants in their district.  First you will learn how one organization leveraged the districts available space to lure in burgeoning locals and international mega brands, health and wellness providers, cultural organizations and emerging culinary entrepreneurs, through a newly realized, expansive pop-up program.

Advancing Places: Building on Recovery for Urban Place Management

As the COVID-19 vaccination rate increases, we are finally seeing more and more activity and vibrancy in our urban cores. What are the actions that UPMOs can take (or continue taking) to ensure that downtowns, city centers, and urban districts can recover more strongly?

Advancing Places: Understanding Your Place in Economic Development

Knowing where your organization fits into the overall economic development strategy of your community and knowing your role is important. Join us as this experienced panel of place management and commercial real estate professionals share insights and tips on how to navigate your community as well as the real estate development community to create a win-win in bringing business to your district.

Advancing Places: Small-scale Manufacturing

Shared spaces for businesses in downtowns are key to reviving a local economy, jumpstarting new businesses and putting people back to work. These spaces also help to break down racial barriers between business owners, creating targeted actions to better support black-owned businesses and other owners of color. Inclusive shared spaces, both formal or informal, in newly vacant storefronts are an essential ingredient to maintain our places and build a stronger, more resilient local economy.

Advancing Places: Small Business Support Services

During these challenging times, public-private partnerships are more important than ever before. Small businesses and micro-enterprises are facing unprecedented economic pressure. Hear from three different organizations and learn about the support services, resources and investments they are providing to their respective business communities. Come away with ideas to apply in your city.

Advancing Places: Small Business Retail & Restaurant

Small businesses are pivoting and innovating through the COVID-19 crisis, advancing their online presence and customer outreach activities, and undertaking actions to enhance the appeal of their physical locations on the outside and within.

Advancing Places: Economic Development Foundations

Successful economic development approaches can sustain a healthy, diverse and prosperous district economy. This session will explore major trends in economic development and see which approaches local leaders and officials are utilizing in their organizations. Panelists will explore the various stages of the economic development process and explore the myriad of practices associated with successful district economies. Regardless of your experience, walk away with an updated toolbox of financing tools and economic programs to strengthen your district through development agreements, tax credit programs, revolving loan programs and redevelopment initiatives.

Be the Change You Want to See: BIPOC Matters to Main Streets & Downtowns

Recent actions in both Canada and the U.S. have brought systemic racism to the forefront, and our business associations have an important role to play in addressing racism and discrimination. Panelists of this session will shed light on the issues and provide inspiration and motivation for us to initiate measures within our own organization and business communities.

How Investments in Arts Vibrancy Drive Economic Vibrancy

How can the arts act as a catalyst for economic development? What are the factors that drive a vibrant arts sector? This session will explore how arts vibrancy evaluations can steer investments in economic development to improve lives and the economy. Join speakers as they discuss the economic contributions of the arts in diverse communities and study cases of the arts driving business development.

The Post-Pandemic Boom for Main Street Commerce

As we anticipate the economic recovery that will come after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, all signs point to the re-emergence of main streets as the place people will turn to for retail shopping and dining. A new generation of entrepreneurs will be eager to start a fresh chapter in their lives. This timely presentation will illustrate how well-managed and attractive downtowns offering the type of safe, experiential, and social interaction sought by all.

Post-Pandemic BID Re-entry Strategies Roundtable

Downtown districts have developed strategic initiatives inviting visitors back and preparing for employees’ return to work. However, the path forward is not completely clear. This roundtable discussion will focus on what has been successful and the various plans and programs that are built to bring people back downtown in a clean and safe manner. Discuss with other attendees the best ways to move ahead and take a leadership role preparing for a return.

Join Grow with Google to Empower Your Community with Digital Skills  (Grow with Google)

You’re already doing great work in your community and Grow with Google wants to help. Grow with Google helps people across the United States gain digital skills to grow their careers and businesses. Join us to learn how you can gain access to presentation materials, resources and hands-on help from Grow with Google’s team, all completely free of cost.

Small Business Recovery

As a small business lender for more than 25 years and as a provider of economic development advisory services for more than 50 years, the National Development Council will provide a hands-on small business tutorial in two parts: what can cities do right now to get low-cost, patient capital to its small business community; and how cities can lay the groundwork for a robust small business community moving forward.

Maurice Jones Master Talk

With deep experience in both public and private sectors, Maurice A. Jones became LISC’s fourth President & CEO in 2016. He previously served as the secretary of commerce for the Commonwealth of Virginia, deputy secretary for HUD, commissioner of Virginia’s Department of Social Services, deputy chief of staff to former Virginia Governor Mark Warner and, during the Clinton administration, director of the CDFI Fund.

Dana Telsey Master Talk and Q & A Session

Dana Telsey, a thought leader and influencer in the world of consumer and retail, blends her Wall Street acumen with real-time insights into the trends shaping consumers’ purchasing decisions. In 2006, Dana founded Telsey Advisory Group (TAG), the leading consumer-focused research, banking, and consulting firm on Wall Street. As the rapidly changing consumer landscape forces companies, Boards of Directors, investors, governments and other stakeholders to rethink the consumer paradigm.

Bruce Katz Master Talk

Bruce Katz is the Founding Director of the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Previously he served as inaugural Centennial Scholar at Brookings Institution and as VP and director of Brooking’s Metropolitan Policy Program for 20 years. He is a Visiting Professor in Practice at London School of Economics, and previously served as chief of staff to the secretary of Housing and Urban Development and staff director of the Senate Subcommittee on Housing and Urban Affairs.

Downtown 2.0, Livingston County Commercial District Assessment

The Downtown 2.0 Commercial District Assessment, a comprehensive plan for the County and its nine downtowns, identified shared downtown challenges and established a set of clear strategies and tactics for the County to collectively address business attraction and sales growth, capital investment, and redevelopment.

From Pilot to Pandemic: The [Fortuitous] Benefits of Understanding Your District’s Curb Usage

Downtown Santa Monica undertook a project to map our curb network to help us better understand the status quo and search for opportunities to adapt curb use for current needs in COVID. The resulting intelligence has been used to directly inform policy recommendations and facilitate conversations with stakeholders, beginning with a pilot to convert restaurant-adjacent metered parking into short-term loading zones during peak hours.

The Changing Face of Economic Development: Land Use, Sustainability, and Housing

Millennial demographics, internet-fueled lifestyles, and a sharing economy (rides, workplace) alter land use and tax generation priorities for cities. Retail is no longer just about retail, with “place,” authenticity, and “trips,” becoming the defining components of a successful town center. Concurrently, the state is driving cities to change land use processes based on climate control and affordable housing mandates, while providing development incentives through new incentives and districts.

Sharing Revenues and Increasing Tourism

After years of discussion between local property owners, the City and the DCCP, a permanent stage was created. The stage is a result of a cost-sharing agreement between the City of Chandler and the DCCP. The City of Chandler’s maximum contribution was $250,000 for the project, and the DCCP’s contribution was $100,000. The DCCP’s contribution will be paid back to the City over a five-year period. The City will pay 25 percent of all stage rental fees to the DCCP for a period of 10 years.

Loan & Tax Abatement Program

Through its Development Loan program, Memphis’s Center City Development Corporation offers a low-interest loan product designed to support smaller commercial developments. It offers a low-interest loan of up to $200,000 for permanent building renovations and new construction within the Central Business Improvement District. The product is not a construction loan; rather, it is permanent financing that can be used to take out a construction loan.

Supporting the Growth of Technology Companies

The DC government has made the growth and attraction of technology companies a top economic development priority. To encourage existing companies to grow and stay in the District, and to attract new companies, the City developed the Qualified High Technology Companies (QHTC) incentive program.

Developing a Retail Strategy

All downtowns are dealing with the changing world of retail and developing strategies for retention and attraction. Learn from Cherry Creek North, Downtown Memphis and Downtown OKC, three very distinct downtowns, as they discuss their respective approaches for filling vacant spaces and retaining and attracting retailers.   

Inclusive Place-Based Economic Development

In 2015, Charlotte’s downtown association, Charlotte Center City Partners, was invited by neighborhood advocates to catalyze a multi-year partnership effort to transform the Historic West End of Charlotte corridor. However, in West End, long-tenured residents and businesses threatened by rising property values feel this pressure acutely as they face predatory investors and find very limited affordable housing options for those who wish to move but stay in the neighborhood.

Looking for the Missing Middle

This session is devoted to one of our most challenging economic development topics—how to build middle-market housing in your downtown/urban community. Throughout the US, cities are struggling with this missing middle challenge. Without a solution, cities are left with high end luxury and low-end affordable housing. This panel brought together a developer, a public agency, and local planning expert to discuss middle income housing from three very different perspectives.