Main Street Monthly - August

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Main Street Monthly

A monthly publication from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs

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Highlight local small businesses for Small Business Saturday

Saturday, November 28, 2020, is Small Business Saturday. This day is all about celebrating downtown businesses and choosing to shop small instead of going to a big box retail store. When you support shopping small, you support your neighbor, your family, your friend, and more! In fact, according to American Express, for every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S., approximately 67 cents stays in the local community. So when you Shop Small on Small Business Saturday, and all year long, you can help create a big impact.

In partnership with the Small Business Administration (SBA), OCRA is planning to celebrate your downtown businesses to help promote and encourage people to shop in person at one of your downtown retailers, restaurants, and more. We will help to support this by creating an online map! Submit the small businesses you wish to highlight by completing an online form and placing them into reference categories. Once they are submitted, our team will build them into a Google Map. This map will be featured on our website and social media accounts to encourage people to shop small.

For further Shop Small resources, check out:

Ready to submit your small businesses? Fill out this form.

Once submissions are received, you will find the map on our website. This is the first of a few ways OCRA will celebrate Small Business Saturday; so be sure to stay tuned!

Mark your calendars for these upcoming webinars

Do you have full or part-time staff in your Main Street organization? If so, save the date for these upcoming trainings with National Main Street Center:

Leadership Development for Main Street Directors
Friday, August 28: from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

People are Main Street’s greatest asset. Our organizations depend on the dedication of volunteer leaders and professionals that invest their time, skills, and passion to bring vitality back to the heart of their communities. This session will highlight the multifaceted roles of Main Street Directors in leading, managing, and executing the programs and talking through the integrated components of the revitalization journey. From working with Boards to leading through strategy, to fostering a team culture that empowers volunteers to plan and take action, this session provides important tools to help Main Street Directors maximize the value and impact of people in the success of the program and the organization’s efforts. Register in advance by clicking here.

Leadership Development for Main Street Boards
Friday, August 28: from Noon to 1:30 p.m. (ET)

The role of the Main Street Board of Directors is crucial for the success of historic commercial districts and revitalization programs across the country. This session will provide an insight on those responsibilities and on how boards can elevate their roles through strategy and to align the work of the Main Street organizations. These strategies can lead recovery efforts for their districts through the integrated components of The Main Street Approach. Register in advance by clicking here.


Indiana communities are invited to apply to host a Smithsonian-curated exhibit about water

As part of our next thematic initiative, Indiana Humanities will sponsor a tour of the Smithsonian’s Water/Ways exhibition. Water/Ways is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and state humanities councils nationwide.

The Smithsonian’s Water/Ways exhibition dives into water—an essential component of life on our planet, environmentally, culturally, and historically. Learn more about exhibit content here.

Six communities will be selected to host the exhibit for six weeks each, and they will receive extensive training, funding, and other resources from the expert staff of the Smithsonian and Indiana Humanities. Each of the six hosts will also curate a unique section of the exhibit that explores their community’s relationship to water. Learn more about the last Smithsonian traveling exhibit’s visit to Indiana Crossroads by clicking here.


Important Dates

Bi-monthly regional calls begin in September!

Main Street 101: Four Point Training Webinars, all from Noon – 1 p.m. ET

September 8 – Organization
September 15 – Design
September 22 – Economic Vitality
September 29 – Promotion

Click to view our full calendar.

Board training for volunteer-led organizations

If you missed last week's webinar and would like to watch the recording, click the link below. The recording is available for the next 30 days, so please share this with board members who weren’t able to attend as well. The recording can be viewed here.

Small business assistance through college internships

The Indiana SBDC and Indiana University Kelley School of Business are partnering to support the long-term economic recovery of Hoosier small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Eligible companies may apply for no-cost assistance to help establish or increase their online presence through website development, e-commerce support and other digital tools and services. 

Under this new program, Kelley students and recent graduates are offered paid internships to assist small businesses in solving technology issues or providing new digital capabilities. Projects include: creating or modifying websites, building e-commerce platforms, improving cybersecurity frameworks, migrating data, and more. 

Indiana small businesses are encouraged to submit applications online.

New toolkit is now available!

Using Downtown Spaces to Respond to COVID-19: This toolkit is primarily intended for Indiana Main Street directors but can be easily adapted to fit the needs of other individuals or organizations. Step-by-step directions and planning considerations are provided for each option, as well as some background information on the programs and links to other resources that may be helpful. Click here to download this toolkit.

Small business survey, follow-up from March

Main Street America needs your input! In March, we asked you and your businesses to help us understand how COVID-19 is affecting your community. Please share this follow-up survey with your businesses and ask them to share their experiences.

Indiana Trails

Trails + Parks

Studies have shown that outdoor recreation in trails and parks offers positive economic, health, and quality of life benefits. As people increasingly use trails and parks for socially-distanced recreation, local leaders have a unique opportunity to help funnel new economic benefits into their local commercial districts.

This brief, produced in collaboration with AARP Livable Communities, focuses on the connections between trails, parks, and the local economy, and explores how local leaders can maximize the benefits of these connections in their COVID-19 response and management.

Read this brief, and browse the entire series, by clicking here.

Be a part of a national network of Main Streets. Visit or call 312-619-5611 to join Main Street America.

Census 2020

Take 10 minutes and complete the 2020 Census online or by phone (844-330-2020).