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Since Covid-19 has dismantled the stability of our small businesses, healthcare system, schools, local and state government, Main Street programs all over the nation have held fast to their mission to revitalize historic districts while uplifting the heart of their communities. As one of many “boots on the ground” economic and community champions, we have felt the pain of our small businesses, entrepreneurs, non-profit and government partners in trying to adapt to new ways of doing business.

Here are a few things that Laramie Main Street is working on as strategies to revitalize the local economy:

- Participating in the statewide, Shop Smart Shop Safe program hosted by Wyoming Main Street. “Shop Smart” refers to the importance of shopping locally and supporting the local economy. “Shop Safe” means shopping with safety standards in mind including wearing a mask, social distancing, increased sanitation, customer limits on the number of customers in a store, and continuation of online, curbside and delivery. For more information about this campaign, visit: https://laramiemainstreet.org/shop-smart-shop-safe

- Hosting the Laramie Farmers Market as an outlet for ag and creative based businesses, including farmers and artisans, to sell their products direct to consumers. View the market safety guidelines and a map of vendors at: https://laramiemainstreet.org/farmersmarket

- Celebrating locally made or “Made in Wyoming” products on our social media feeds on Wyoming Wednesdays

- Hosting summertime window display contests to drive foot traffic downtown. Vote for your favorite window here: https://laramiemarketplace.com/downtown-window-display-contest

- Continuing to listen to the needs of local businesses and respond with resources, whether grants, loans, training programs or marketing assistance

- Partnering with the City of Laramie to re define the use of public space as economic development tools. In order to enhance opportunities for retail and outdoor dining, we are supporting the City in the installation of hand sanitizer stations throughout downtown, providing opportunities to do business on the sidewalks, creating a temporary public seating area at the Hollyhock mural, and supporting clean up efforts and a marketing campaign for the temporary open container permit for the district. For more information about these projects, visit: https://laramiemainstreet.org/public-spaces

We hope these initiatives will help stabilize and grow local businesses and encourage the public to engage as consumers. We know change is hard, especially during times of intense turmoil. We are here to help, listen and learn along side you. Please reach out if you have any questions about our work, or if you would like to volunteer with us as we rebuild a vibrant downtown.

Trey Sherwood is the director of Laramie Main Street Alliance. She can be contacted via 307-760-3355 or downtownlaramie@gmail.com

(1) comment

Brett Glass

Unfortunately, many of Laramie Main Street's "strategies" are not only ineffective but counterproductive and harmful. The organization - a private group which is bound to serve its members and donors, not the public interest - advocated allowing the carrying of open containers of alcohol downtown. What is the benefit of having drunks - who will have to unmask to drink if they wear masks in the first place (unlikely) - barging into stores without masks? There is none, and the drunks will deter the rest of the public from going downtown. But a few bars think they'll benefit, so LMSA supports it. Likewise, LMSA has opened the farmer's market without enforcing social distancing; it's too crowded to stay 6 feet apart and many shoppers are unmasked. Why would LMSA disregard public health and safety? Because the market makes it money. And it's now advocating the imposition of zoning regulations which would prevent new businesses from coming to downtown and/or force the destruction of many classic downtown buildings, while allowing the construction of ugly, incongruous skyscrapers. Why? Because a developer with money and its would-be contractors want those changes. It has even gone into competition with downtown buildings which rent space to residents and businesses by becoming a landlord that competes with them. (Nonprofits are not supposed to engage in businesses which are normally carried on for profit, but it nonetheless is doing so.) LMSA is not doing good for downtown, and should not be funded by the City or be considered to represent downtown businesses or residents or the public interest.

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