My neighbors in Fairview, Oklahoma, have an excellent store-front improvement contest going on. And you can copy it.
|CJ’s Country Store has a nice front
in downtown Fairview, Oklahoma
They’re giving businesses plenty of time, the qualifying period is June 1, 2012 ‐ September 30, 2013.
They’re making it worth merchants’ time.
- 1st Place: $5,000
- 2nd Place: $3,000
- 3rd Place: $2,000
They’re keeping it simple. Business owners only have to:
- Notify the economic development committee to assure before‐pics are on ﬁle.
- Design/Complete their project by September 30, 2013.
- Submit application to the committee by September 30, 2013.
|I didn’t see Community National Bank on
the list of sponsors, but they have
a fine storefront in Fairview.
The project is sponsored by several local groups:
- Fairview Savings and Loan Association
- Farmers and Merchants National Bank,
- The City of Fairview,
- Fairview Chamber of Commerce, and
- Major County Economic Development Corporation
I saw the announcement in the Fairview Chamber of Commerce newsletter.
Why do storefronts matter?
Each store front contributes to the overall feeling of your downtown and your town as a whole. Do you want to hang around and shop in an area with lots of ugly storefronts?
How could you add more to this project?
|Here are some storefronts with room to
improve, in downtown Fairview.
Bring in some help for businesses, to help them design better storefronts. Many states have a Main Street program that includes an architect or other design professional available at low or no cost. Many states have major universities that will send students or teachers to help with designs.
Host workshops or work days on improving your store front and store interior. Here are my notes from one workshop lead by Scott Day with Urban Development Services: Small Town Retail Ideas Part 1.
Make a big deal of recognizing every single business that improves, even if they don’t qualify for first, second or third place. You want to encourage every business person to continue to improve.
Make it an annual or biennial event. In a couple of years, you’ll have still more room to improve.
Involve the city or town government. Can they improve their part of the downtown? Maybe they can re-paint light poles or street striping.
How else would you build on this?
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.