How does a local Main Street program work?

Main Street programs are locally driven, locally funded and locally organized. They are independent nonprofits or city agencies based in the community and affiliated with the statewide Main Street South Carolina organization. Main Street SC has an application process through which a community can be designated as a Main Street program. Main Street SC provides technical services, networking and training opportunities to help a revitalization organization throughout its growth.

How do I start a Main Street program in my community? 

Interest in developing a local Main Street program usually comes from business or property owners, city government, civic clubs, the chamber of commerce, historic preservationists or other civic-minded groups. They contact Main Street SC to understand the application process, discuss goals, establish an organization, raise money to hire a full-time Main Street director, and create both volunteer committees and a board of directors to carry out the work. Once the program is established, participants examine their commercial district's needs and opportunities so they can develop a long-term incremental strategy based on the Main Street Four-Point Approachâ„¢ to strengthen the district's commercial activity.

Who should be involved in the local Main Street program? 

Everyone with a stake in the commercial district and its future should be involved. Merchants, property owners, the chamber of commerce, industries, local government and residents all benefit from a healthy local economy and from a historic core that reflects the community's heritage and personality. A sound partnership is crucial to the Main Street program's success. It is also important for both the public and private sectors to support the program financially in order to demonstrate commitment to local economic development.

How can I get others interested? 

Your downtown's revitalization starts with you! Main Street programs are started by community members working in collaboration to reach a common goal. Gather as much information as possible and spark interest among community groups that have a stake in the future of downtown. Put together a task force to plan the next steps. Contact Main Street SC about the state network. Visit and talk with other local Main Street organizations nearby and discuss their successes and challenges.

Who pays for the Main Street program? 

Financial support for local programs comes from local entities. Main Street program success lies in the local initiative, both organizationally and financially. When there is local buy-in, people care more about the success of the program and become more involved.

How long does a local Main Street program last? 

To ensure continued economic success, downtown revitalization is an ongoing process. Just as shopping centers and malls have full-time staff that work constantly to ensure proper leasing, management, and marketing, downtown commercial districts need ongoing attention.

How can I participate if our community is not ready to become a Main Street SC member? 

There's no problem with spending time building capacity before jumping in. Encourage local leaders, economic development agencies, city government, businesses and individuals to view traditional commercial buildings as a community asset and to see downtown as an area full of opportunity to renew a sense of identity, history and place. Consider joining us for our quarterly trainings to learn from downtown experts and statewide Main Street communities.