Business Recruitment and Retention

Transforming Downtowns by Leading a Comprehensive Market Analysis

Spur development in your district with data and by leading collaborations with stakeholders to develop a strategy to build what their respective districts deserve. Walk away learning how to conduct a comprehensive market analysis for your district and how to use it to spur investment, development and recruitment by making it accessible to everyone.

Building Inclusivity – Cultivating Housing Production by First-Time or Low Wealth Developers

Inclusivity in downtown housing is usually framed as a question of who can afford to live in the finished product. But development is entrepreneurship, and for inclusive entrepreneurship, we think more about who’s selling than who’s buying. Who is pioneering strategies to nurture an inclusive pipeline of entrepreneurial new developers who come from marginalized communities and backgrounds? What can we learn from this work?

Downtown Pittsburgh Restaurant Recovery Initiative

COVID-19 necessitated new and innovative initiatives, and a radical departure from how the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP) had previously supported the downtown neighborhood. It also required PDP to identify funding sources and build partnerships to expedite plans that would have an immediate and lasting impact on Pittsburgh’s downtown restaurant economy.

Downtown Days of Wonder Pop-Up Shops

Downtown Days of Wonder (DDOW) is a holiday activation program held from November to January in downtown Tulsa. In 2022, a new pop-up shop initiative was piloted for DDOW, designed to increase the amount of retail offerings downtown for holiday shopping while amplifying the work of local minority small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Pop-Up Shops at Martin Street

Pop-Up Shops at Martin Street is a retail incubator program in the core of downtown Raleigh. The program is designed to increase the diversity of ownership in downtown Raleigh and build a pipeline of new, independent, local retail to fill storefront space in downtown Raleigh. The project is a partnership effort of many local partners.

Grow Golden

Grow Golden addresses a problem many office-dominated districts have grappled with since the COVID-19 pandemic: how to fill and enliven vacant ground floor spaces? Grow Golden harnesses the talent of the diverse small business community and pairs them with property owners who need spaces filled, along with providing wrap-around technical assistance.

DSM Workforce Trends & Occupancy Study

In early 2022, Downtown DSM, Inc. and the Greater Des Moines Partnership commissioned a first-of-its-kind, hyperlocal study of knowledge workers in Greater Des Moines (DSM). The DSM Workforce Trends & Occupancy Study (WTOS) provided regional employers with insight into the workplace and work preference styles of knowledge workers.

Downtown Farmers’ Market Incubator Program

The Downtown Farmers’ Market Incubator Program was created to support underrepresented, small and/or startup businesses and improve access and economic growth for local small, minority and historically underrepresented businesses across Greater Des Moines (DSM). To participate in the Incubator Program, a business must be owned, operated and actively managed by one or more persons who fall into one underrepresented communities.

Grow Downtown

Grow Downtown is an initiative of the Saint Paul Downtown Alliance that connects landlords and tenants to offer short-term lease opportunities to small businesses, adding vibrancy to the central business district of downtown Saint Paul and its skyway system. Selected tenants occupy vacant storefronts with the potential for long-term occupancy.

Advancing Places: Data Collection, Research and Storytelling for Economic Growth

This case study dives into the work of Charlotte City Center Partners. Learn firsthand the year-round work of data collection, research and storytelling to produce the State of City Center Report. This living document resides on the organization’s website and is updated monthly. Learn how the work of this team enhances collaboration with economic development partners, the commercial real estate community, and existing and prospective businesses.

Advancing Places: Inclusive Entrepreneurship

Inclusive entrepreneurship describes the practice of supporting entrepreneurs – from home-based to brick and mortar to scaling – regardless of their identity and backgroundIt centers the unique needs of entrepreneurs from underrepresented or marginalized groups who have historically faced lending discrimination, exploitation by landlords, lack of resources and limitations on the networks they need to thrive. This webinar explores successful methods UPMOs have used to support inclusive entrepreneurship. 

Essentials of Economic Development

While clean and safe and placekeeping activities remain a strong part of almost all place management organizations, many have begun to focus on building strong and relevant economic development programs specifically addressing the challenges facing downtowns. Often, economic development is not about progressing from simple to complex…it’s finding the niche in your community that can best fill and deliver solid results to stakeholders.

Incubating Entrepreneurs

No longer just about catching the big fish, the next wave of economic development is about developing local talent and building capacity from the ground up. Startup businesses are breaking new ground but need a supportive ecosystem to flourish; whether tech, retail or micromanufacturing – community matters. Incubator programs can provide the foundation needed for entrepreneurs to build powerful partnerships, preserve capital, access funding, and share resources and facilities.

Reimagining Downtown Anchors

Downtowns were once anchored by department stores – one-stop shops where buyers could come to peruse washing machines and workwear before spilling out into other businesses. What are today’s destinations that draw people to the urban core? Learn about the “alternative anchors” of today – from libraries to coworking facilities and entertainment venues – that drive consumer traffic to your district.

Design Downtowns & Nightlife for Women – Men Will Follow

Women are the primary decision makers and influencers about where to shop, live, work and play. Yet downtowns are often designed by men. Safety, cleanliness, lighting, restrooms and mobility options influence where women choose to go out. Women seek out a variety of social experiences and leisure pursuits; not just F&B, but also traditional shopping. Yet many downtowns fall short of women’s expectations. Find out how to design women-friendly downtowns. 

Supporting Vital Downtown Areas at a Statewide Level

Visit California and the Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development show important efforts to support all regions of California. These programs are meant to support community sustainability, economic diversification, and drive engagement of local partners in tourism and economic development activities.  

Downtown Retail Rejuvenation

Are you facing vacant retail storefronts? Changes in customer shopping patterns? Increased suburban competition? Scared property owners who can’t find tenants for their street level spaces? Join the club! Every business district is struggling, but creative ideas and effective approaches are emerging.

Top Issues Council Brief: Inclusive Entrepreneurship

This report explores successful methods UPMOs have used to support inclusive entrepreneurship by improving capital readiness, easing access to commercial spaces, and developing programs for business retention and sustainability.

Evolving Third Places

Third places in North America are not just about bars and coffeehouses. Instead, the definition should reflect the forms they take within specific subcultures and cohorts amidst fast-moving societal and technological change. Learn where else we’re going these days for a sense of community and belonging.    

International Place Management & Effective Small Restaurant Support

Grants to support the recovery of independent, small restaurants were implemented in downtown districts in Toronto, Mexico City, London, Tokyo and Sydney. Learn how place management works in these cities and what interventions showed the most impact for small restaurants. 

Reimagining the Downtown Your Community Deserves through Inclusive Entrepreneurship

Reimagining downtown takes more than traditional programming and events. Learn how two downtown agencies/organizations teamed up with commercial property owners and city leaders to reinvigorate their downtowns by flipping the negative impacts of COVID into a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine the future of our downtowns – one storefront at a time – through inclusive entrepreneurship, incubation and pop-ups. 

Inclusive Entrepreneurship

This presentation from IDA’s 2022 Annual Conference covers many of the issues in the Inclusive Entrepreneurship top issues council.

Shelonda Stokes Master Talk

Shelonda Stokes serves as the President and CEO of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and the President of Downtown Management Authority. Shelonda, a results-oriented, mission-driven executive, leads these two non-profit organizations with the goal of establishing equitable change and vibrancy in Baltimore City’s Central Business District.

Pop-Up Shops at Martin Street

Pop-Up Shops at Martin Street is a pop-up retail store program in downtown Raleigh to provide affordable and attractive short term retail space for minority and women-owned businesses to improve diversity in storefront ownership in downtown and Raleigh.

State of Cape Town Central City Report

This is the ninth, and largest, edition of the State of Cape Town Central City Report, produced at the height of South Africa’s various harsh lockdowns. Its mission is to illustrate in financial terms the investment opportunities of the most successful downtown in South Africa through meticulous research.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Rapid Recovery Planning Program

The Rapid Recovery Plan (RRP) program distributed nearly $10 million across 124 communities throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to assess impacts from COVID-19 and develop actionable, project-based recovery plans tailored to the unique economic challenges in downtowns, town centers, and commercial districts. In total, the program has resulted in nearly 1,000 actionable project recommendations requiring mixed levels of funding, technical assistance, and resources.

DowntownDC BID Pandemic Assistance Grant Program

The Downtown Pandemic Assistant Grant Program was created to provide financial assistance to small businesses severely impacted by the COVID pandemic. The program application process was designed to be completed with simplicity and ease. Elements of the program’s success included a web-based application platform and marketing to alert area small businesses to the program.

Downtown Shopping Districts After COVID: Rich with Opportunity!

How did COVID affect downtown shopping districts? What are the challenges faced by these districts, and what is already being done to address those challenges? Looking ahead, which changes are transitory and which are permanent? And what can Place Management Professionals do to position their district for success moving forward?

Advancing Places: The Present and Future of Office

In January 2021, we heard research around how the pandemic-induced work-from-home experiment had altered perspectives on work, flexibility and the office. We are circling back with experts to present new findings on this topic. Join this session and learn from recent research conducted by Cushman & Wakefield and the Center for Real Estate & Urban Analysis (CREUA) at the George Washington University School of Business around office demand, hybrid work and occupiers’ workplace strategies.

Advancing Places: Placemaking and Design for Successful Retail

Watch this session and explore how downtown managers can foster better downtown retail environments with advanced techniques of placemaking and design. We will learn from two seasoned professionals whose expertise in placemaking, and retail design has created tools for more active people environments to support retailers.

Fostering Resiliency: Helping Your Downtown Rebound after COVID

Over the past decade, downtowns have enjoyed a revival not seen since the middle of the 20th century. And then COVID-19 hit. Now that consumers are clamoring for a return to normal activity, it’s time to reevaluate your downtown. To do that, it’s important to understand who your visitors are. 

This free webinar was presented by Buxton. To learn more about them go to Click “Buy Now” to get your free access to this recording today. 

Retail is Changing Are You? Models to “Disaster-Proof” Our Districts

Brick and mortar retail, especially with the pandemic, is changing drastically but our downtown recruitment efforts aren’t keeping up. Moving forward, shared spaces, studio/retail mixes, pop up retail, a diversity of business owners–and an understanding that retail must be different to disaster-proof our districts–will be key to keep retail and businesses alive in our downtowns.

Planning for Retail Vitality in the Face of Changing Market Dynamics

Downtowns are struggling to address the retail challenges and trends accelerated by the pandemic, including changes in shopping habits and fewer downtown workers. Hear how two BIDs approached finding solutions that acknowledge hard truths and identify opportunities for action while working with stakeholders to resolve long standing policies and regulatory issues that stand in the way of downtown recovery.

Recruiting Diversity to Propel Placemaking

How do we build great urban places in unexpected locations? And can we use mercantile diversity to drive larger conversations forward? This session highlights the stories of two communities, one suburban and one urban, and how their redevelopment success is built upon curated diversity and the homegrown business innovation of restaurants and retail entrepreneurs.