Business Recruitment and Retention

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. 


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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.

Colleges and Universities – Powering Cities and National Economy

Colleges and universities are America’s economic engines in towns, cities and metropolitan areas. Typically, large employers, ed’s and med’s are the economic backbone, creating jobs, supporting business, bolstering tourism and innovation districts and collectively fueling the economy. These institutions and host communities need each other to be successful. How do they work with diverse but conflicting stakeholders to maintain mutually beneficial partnerships?

Advancing Places: Retail Is Changing. Are You?

Brick and mortar retail, especially during 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 keeping retail and businesses alive in our downtowns.

Advancing Places: Cementing UPMO Leadership Role in Economic Development

With businesses facing an existential crisis and municipalities cutting budgets in 2020, UPMOs were forced to take the lead on triage and recovery. This session will explain how the pandemic experience and crisis management can translate into a permanent and lasting role in economic development.

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.

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.

Downtown Los Angeles Virtual Tour Platform

The DTLA Virtual Tour platform is an innovative tool developed by the Downtown Center BID to showcase the Downtown Los Angeles real estate market, its most significant properties, public spaces, and development projects, to investors, developers, brokers, and prospective commercial and residential tenants. With a dynamic combination of interactive technology, digital mapping, high-definition photography, and drone video footage the DTLA Virtual Tour offers both a bird’s-eye view of downtown.

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.

Denver Startup Week

Denver Startup Week is a celebration of Denver’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and culture of innovation, designed to showcase downtown’s strong landscape for starting and growing a business. This year, Denver Startup Week reached all the way around the world, and our 23,000+ YouTube views and more than 18,000 Zoom attendees mean that Denver Startup Week 2020 reached further than ever before!

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.

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.

DOWNTOWN-A-THON

Downtown Lynchburg Association held the first ever DOWNTOWN-A-THON, a 12-hour virtual event to raise money for the Downtown Recovery Initiative. The event was broadcast live on YouTube and Facebook from 9am – 9pm, and featured video content highlighting all facets of Downtown Lynchburg – interviews with business owners and local leaders, restaurant features, music performances, non-profit profiles, and more.

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).

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.

Re-Start Downtown Fresno Grant Program

In the early months of the COVID emergency, Downtown Fresno businesses were facing limited re-opening after nearly 3 months of limited operations due to closed in-person retail, no in-door/ out-door dining, no events or pedestrian traffic, and no office workers. The Re-Start program aimed to assist small businesses by providing grants ranging from $1000 – $2500 that could be utilized to help alleviate some costs and help businesses re-open safely.

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.

Small Business Disaster Relief Forgivable Loan Program

Recognizing the significant economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our local businesses, the BBCRA Board approved the creation of the Small Business Disaster Relief Forgivable Loan Program (SBDRLP) and the allocation of $1 million in program funding. Using these funds, the BBCRA provided eligible businesses a forgivable loan of up to $10,000 to offset costs associated with utility, payroll or inventory expenses.

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: Developing, Reporting and Communicating Annual Progress

Communicating the progress occurring in your district annually can come in many forms. Join this session and learn from three UPMO leaders who are gathering data and creating a benchmark for tracking development, investment, housing, and other areas of importance. These reports are used to better understand the current state of their downtowns and to help determine priorities and action steps. Learn how sharing the results can elevate your credibility and attract new investment.

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: The Future of the Office

The pandemic-induced work-from-home experiment has altered perspectives on work, flexibility and the office. When COVID-19 is no longer a lingering health concern, workers will not be expected to come into the office for tasks that can be done from anywhere. What purpose does the office serve in the future and how will that purpose impact the way occupiers think about their portfolio footprints, location strategy and office layouts?

Advancing Places: Capital Market Insights, Real Estate and Economic Forecast

The pandemic-induced work-from-home experiment has altered perspectives on work, flexibility and the office. When COVID-19 is no longer a lingering health concern, workers will not be expected to come into the office for tasks that can be done from anywhere. What purpose does the office serve in the future and how will that purpose impact the way occupiers think about their portfolio footprints, location strategy and office layouts?

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: Entrepreneurship and Retail Pop-Ups

With the pandemic lingering into the coming months, unfortunately we are all seeing vacancies pop up in our districts. Join this session and learn about how two downtown organizations and one economic development corporation worked with partners to create pop-up retail programs to recruit, train and assist entrepreneurs with starting a business.

Advancing Places: Holiday Retail Promotions

The holiday season is a crucial part of the year for many main streets and downtowns. Successful retail promotions can boost the economic development for all business owners and reconnect residents with local merchants. Join this webinar to hear from two district leaders on how they are transforming traditional holiday events into innovative activities that are well-received by both consumers and businesses. Come prepared to share with colleagues how you are navigating this unique holiday season.

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.

Project Spotlight: Activating Retail and Real Estate in Your Community

Project Downtown, the master plan for Wichita, is a 15-year community vision and blueprint for development. The plan was founded on market economics with industry experts providing sound economic forecast information for development. The second project in this presentation is the Open on Main pop-up retail initiative which seeks to increase activity on Main Street, encourage more permanent tenants in the downtown core, and allow shop owners to test retail concepts and strategies.