News and Updates
March 25, 2013
It's hard to believe it's been almost three months but we're finally back with a new Main Street. Check out Downtown Sarasota on Florida's beautiful Gulf Coast. Enjoy!
December 21, 2012
Happy Holidays everyone. If you need to do a little last minute shopping, check out St. Augustine, Florida--the latest addition to Destination Main Streets!
November 19, 2012
It's almost Thanksgiving and you know what that means. Black Friday and the Christmas shopping season is upon us. Here's a new page added to get you in the mood. Check out downtown Stuart on Florida's beautiful Treasure Coast.
October 8, 2012
Take a trip to Greece without even leaving the state...of Florida that is. Visit Tarpon Springs. And while you're there, buy a sponge. They sell lots of them at the Sponge Docks. And you'll find plenty of antiques Downtown. So check out our latest addition and let us know what you think!!!
August 29, 2012
Just in time for Labor Day Weekend! Visit our Delray Beach page to learn more about sunny Delray Beach in sunny South Florida. And we've added a new feature. We had so many photos to choose from, that we added an Additional Photos section to give you a better idea of the town before you visit. And yes, you can click on the photos to blow them up. As always, you can follow us on Facebook or Twitter for more updates. So please check out the Delray Beach page and let us know what you think!
August 8, 2012
It's been some time, but we've finally added our first new page in a long while. St. Armands Circle, located in Sarasota, Florida, is just one of the many Main Streets we'll be adding to the site in the next few months. And we've added a new feature as well, starting with the St. Armands Circle page. You can now click on each picture to see a larger version of it. We'll be adding this feature to the existing pages as well over the next few months. You can follow us on Facebook or Twitter for more updates. So please check out the St. Armands Circle page and let us know what you think!
July 5, 2012
No one ever said it would be easy to convert a struggling mall into a vibrant town center, but one place where it's being attempted is in Voorhees, New Jersey. Half of the old Echelon Mall, which was renamed Voorhees Town Center, was demolished and replaced with outdoor retail, offices, and apartments in a pedestrian-friendly, downtown setting.
But how do you take a new town center and infuse it with the life and character of a more historical existing downtown or Main Street? Today the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Voorhees Town Center may be on to something. Every weekend from May to October, the town center will have a farmers market. People can come in and buy produce and other food from local farms and vendors.
The farmers market could be a great shot in the arm to get consumers to visit the town center. As one person in the article noted, many downtowns formed when farmers came together to trade their goods.
But Voorhees Town Center isn't completely without its issues. In an odd move, the developers left half of the original mall in place. And the town center struggles to fill all of its vacant space. If the developers want to create a true feeling of community, the best idea would be to tear down the rest of the mall and replace it with quality, pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use development.
June 4, 2012
Last week, the Palm Beach Post reported that an ambitious streetscape plan for Clematis Street in West Palm Beach, Florida would be shelved because of the loss of 13 parking spots. Smaller palm trees were supposed to replace the existing 40-foot tall palms and were going to be planted closer to the sidewalk to provide more shade.
The contentious issue shows some of the disagreements that can occur when various parties come together to beautify a Main Street. In this case, is it better to have more shade in exchange for the parking spaces, and how much more shade would the new trees provide over the existing trees?
May 29, 2012
The North Carolina chapter of the American Planning Association is sponsoring a contest to pick the winner of its Great Places in North Carolina award. The six finalists are Main Street in Salisbury, Roseboro Street in Roseboro, Main Street in Waynesville, Howe and Moore Streets in Southport, Main Street in Davidson, and Main Street in Mount Airy. You can go here to learn more about the finalists and to vote.
Do you have a favorite Main Street in North Carolina? What do you think of the six finalists? Anyplace you can think of that shouldn't have been left off the list? Let us know what you think.
May 15, 2012
On Sunday, the New York Times had an interesting piece on how the various dollar store chains have threatened Vermont's way of life and tourism industry. Vermont is known for its bucolic lifestyle and small town charm. Many of these small towns are centered around a General Store and other eclectic shops run by small business owners. The state has been largely successful at keeping out the big names such as Walmart and Target. Only a handful exist in the state right now.
However a new threat has appeared in the form of dollar store chains. Being much smaller than Walmart and Target, they can more easily follow local zoning rules to get their stores built. A new Dollar General is opening up in Chester, Vermont and it's able to abide to the arduous restrictions the town has in place. For example, the store will be built with wood clapboard siding in keeping with local architecture.
Although only a few of the big box stores have been built in the state, many more of the dollar stores have been creeping in. The dollar stores can offer items at lower costs than the Mom and Pop stores folks most often equate with towns in Vermont.
So, the question is how does the small guy compete against the much larger chains? Vermont depends on tourism and folks are worried that the influx of dollar store chains may hurt the industry. I would hope though that the tourists coming to Vermont would want to visit the unique one-of-a-kind stores over the dollar store chains they can find back home.
Just before writing this article, I noticed a Target commercial mentioning that it now sells many unique products, just like the ones you can find in Mom and Pop Stores. The experiment is called The Shops at Target, and they will carry merchandise inspired by five indie boutiques located in San Francisco, California; Miami, Florida; Boston, Massachusetts; Warren, Connecticut; and Aspen, Colorado.
Is this a good way for the independent seller to survive or is this selling out? Would you rather shop at the independent small town store or at a big box store like Walmart or Target? Or do you prefer the dollar store chains?
Drop us a line and let us know what you think.
March 31, 2012
By now everyone is familiar with the tragic events involving Travon Martin and George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. Unfortunately, the spotlight cast on Sanford has not been a positive one and the downtown is hurting. Three factors have kept some patrons away: fears of civil disobedience and other disturbances; fears of getting stuck in crowds and traffic caused by protests; and calls for economic boycotts on the town.
It's important to note that Sanford has an excellent downtown full of shops, restaurants, and other services. Most business owners are just as shocked by the events that occurred and how those events have played out so far. If you are a fan of Sanford, Florida's downtown please make a point of visiting again soon and shop and eat at some of your favorite businesses.
You can read more about how business owners and visitors are dealing with the events in the Orlando Sentinel.
If you are a business owner, drop us a line and let us know how you are handling the situation. If you are a visitor, let us know how your experience in Sanford has been lately.
To see past entries, please visit our Blog Archives page. Thanks!!!