After absorbing the Downtown Laramie Business Alliance, the Laramie Main Street Alliance is re-evaluating its business promotion priorities, a Main Street spokesperson said.
“Since the dissolution of the DLBA, we’ve taken on a lot of the downtown events,” Main Street Communications Coordinator Jessica Brauer said. “Moving into the new year, we really want to focus on supporting the businesses with the resources and free services we have.”
Created in 2005, Main Street is a economic development organization dedicated to promoting businesses located in Laramie’s historic downtown district. Membership is free, and the organization acts as a cheerleader, marketing resource and event planner for businesses within the downtown district. In late 2017, the organization assumed the duties of the DLBA after the association crumbled beneath a lack of participation from its members, former DLBA president Rob Harder said in 2017.
While the association was funded by membership fees, Brauer said Main Street took over the DLBA’s role, providing similar services for free.
“DLBA was always sort of the promotion arm of Main Street,” she explained. “Many of the changes are surrounding events, managing them, organizing them and dedicating resources to them.”
However, the organization’s extra duties are stretching resources thin.
“We’ve really enjoyed the process of hosting all these events,” Brauer said. “It’s really fun, but it’s really exhausting.”
Instead of dedicating large amounts of time to events such as Brewfest and Scaramie, she said Main Street could start leaning more on its volunteer roster.
“We’re not changing our tactics as much as we’re honing in on some of our tactics,” Brauer said. “Because we now have this calendar full of events, we’re going to rely more on the event committees to handle the marketing and promotion of some events.”
With the time created by the move, the organization plans to ramp up marketing efforts and business-oriented events.
“We really want to put a priority on hosting events that push people into the doors of our businesses,” Brauer added.
One such event, Coffee and Conversation, was developed this spring with the idea of creating a networking and educational opportunity for business owners, managers and organization leaders.
“It’s an opportunity to have a peer-to-peer conversation about what’s happening, and what’s been a success,” Brauer said.
The event is currently scheduled monthly, but the 2018 event schedule is still being refined, which could leave room for more meeting, she said.
Shop Small Saturday and Shop Laramie for Jubilee Days are also priority events in the coming year, but without a definite schedule, Brauer said she couldn’t confirm whether additional business-centric events would be added to the calendar.
“We want to ramp these events up as well as look at the events that aren’t driving people into the businesses,” she said.
Main Street also plans to double down on marketing efforts for downtown businesses.
“Marketing varies business to business,” Brauer said. “There’s some businesses in the district that don’t have a website, and others have a website, social media and a blog, so the demand will vary. The goal is they feel like they have somebody cheering for them and resources in their pocket to deal with the problems they are experiencing.”
Main Street has offered marketing solutions for downtown businesses since its inception, but the organization hasn’t pushed the service in the past, she explained.
“Not because we didn’t want to, but because we’ve always been focused on other projects,” Brauer added. “Moving into the new year, we’ve decided we really want to focus here.”
The new direction is, in part, because of the capabilities provided by Main Street’s new location, 115 Ivinson Ave.
“The new space has a more collaborative space in the lower portion and some office space on the upper level, which allows us to serve our businesses in multiple capacities without creating a distraction,” Brauer said.
Regardless of the refined strategy, she said Main Street will continue to serve downtown businesses with the same fervor it was founded upon.
“Our office is always open for questions and support for our members,” Brauer said. “We’re always willing to problem solve and provide whatever resources we can.”
Visit www.laramiemainstreet.org or call 760-3355 for more information about Main Street.