From the Desk of the Main Street Program Director
Business concerns include social media marketing and growth of e-commerce
by Rae Gosling | Grayling Main Street Program Director
As you may recall from last week, Grayling Main Street (GMSt) staff and volunteers were coordinating a meeting with downtown business owners to discuss how we could better serve them as a Main Street organization. Today, I will share with you a bit about that meeting.
Last Thursday several downtown business and property owners came together to discuss their investment in downtown, their vision for the community and their businesses, as well as examine ways GMSt could be helping them to actualize that vision.
Each of the attendees identified part of their investment in Downtown Grayling as intrinsic, this is their downtown by way of osmosis, they are as much a part of it as it is them. Many of these folks have watched downtown wax and wane through the years and are now part of the change themselves.
A common concern for downtown businesses is the growth of e-commerce. With online shopping offering the convenience of shopping from home and direct deliver to the recipient, it is difficult to get residents and visitors alike into shops for unique gifts that can only be found in small businesses. This concern was echoed by several in attendance. One identified a need to re-engage with locals, and promote shopping small before leaving the community. GMSt is resolved to finding ways to bring shoppers back to the streets. One way we intend to do this is by actively seeking out unique small businesses and entrepreneurs that offer products that are needed or wanted in our community, are affordable for our residents, and attractive to our visitors. My favorite example of this is an artisan pickle maker. A specialty shop that is unique and enjoyable by most everyone.
Another request from downtown businesses was assistance in better navigating marketing both internally and by way of social media. Our businesses want attractive window displays and products displayed in a manner that promotes ease of shopping and increased sales. Unlike major retailers, most small businesses cannot afford professional marketing and display personnel and services. GMSt is going to explore partnering with marketing and display professionals to offer group training and possibly one-on-one consultations with downtown businesses. Additionally, we will be hosting another round of social media training for local businesses. We received positive feedback from local businesses after hosting two social media sessions earlier this year, and look forward to offering this training again to serve even more of our community.
This article does not cover all of the concerns voiced by our attendees, and the ways we will be exploring to serve them. I could easily fill an entire page on our two-hour meeting. In the coming weeks and months, you will see more of what we discussed, in training offerings and changes to downtown.
Like all of our projects, we need volunteers to make them happen. If you have expertise, or even just a passion for any of the above-mentioned concerns, we want to hear from you. We are looking for folks willing to help GMSt put together trainings and resources for our downtown to thrive.
Want to know more about what GMSt has going on? Check back in future editions of the Avalanche for more From the Main Street Program Director’s Desk. You can also check out our website, www.DowntownGrayling.com, find us on Facebook, or email your questions to DowntownGrayling@gmail.com.
Rae Gosling is the Program Director for Grayling Main Street. She has been with GMSt since April 2016. She is a Grayling resident, wife, mother, local shopper, avid supporter of all things Grayling, and keeps everyone on their toes wondering what color her hair will be next.