Getting to Know Main Street during the Holidays

Main Street sign in Red Wing, MN. Photo by Andrew Wald

Main Street sign in Red Wing, MN. Photo by Andrew Wald

We heard loud and clear during PAM’s market research earlier this year that people were much more interested in Main Street after they knew more about it.  I thought I’d take the opportunity of the holiday season to show how the Main Street Four Point Approach® to revitalize a traditional commercial district (aka downtown or neighborhoods) applies to your downtown (or Main Street or neighborhood shopping district) this festive time of year.


The easiest Point to see, it’s all about getting the district into tip-top physical condition.  Signs of  holiday work in this area: holiday decorations on light posts, garlands strung across streets, window decorating contests, street-tree lighting, etc.  Other, snowier years, a Design Committee might make send friendly reminders to business and property owners that sidewalks need shoveling.

Economic Restructuring

While work on the economics of a district is harder to point to, most everyone can tell when a commercial district is doing well economically – and when it isn’t.  The Economic Restructuring Committee (sometimes called Business Development, Business Improvement, or Economics) works throughout the year to strengthen existing businesses and make the district more attractive to new businesses.  If the Design Committee is interested in decorating vacant store front windows for the holidays, the ER Committee can help by giving them contact information for the building owners/managers.  They also know all sorts of market information about the district – who shops there, what the typically driving range is, etc.. that can help the other committees in their work.


Promotion, in Main Street lingo, includes marketing, image improvement, collaborative advertising, festivals, and retail events.  All of which are at their busiest during the holidays.  These activities are important to:

  1. Tell people about all the good things downtown has to offer and
  2. Reintroduce people to the downtown by giving them fun activities to do
  3. Bring people downtown, especially during the shopping season.

Larger festivals, with parades, food, kids activities, etc. often have subcommittees that meet year-round to plan for next year’s event.


This point includes much of the behind-the-scenes work necessary to make everything above happen, and happen well.  Communicating with the community about what’s happening, getting everyone on the same page, ensuring stable funding for the revitalization program, and recruiting volunteers for all of this work.  During the holidays, Organization might mean collecting email addresses for the district’s newsletter, updating websites, year-end-appeal letters for donations, or manning an information booth during a festival.

Like what you read?  We have more information (oh, so much more) in our Considering Main Street handbook.

 Emily Northey
Minnesota Main Street Program Coordinator


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