A New Development Downtown

Posted by on Jul 13, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Emporia Downtown Redevelopment Group, LLC announced a major new addition to downtown Emporia.  The Roosevelt Plaza & Lofts & Legacy Lofts, a new mixed use development containing forty-seven residential units and 2,700 square feet of commercial space will locate on the northeast corner of 11th Avenue and Commercial Street. Cory Haag, the managing partner of the development group said the development will be very similar in appearance and setup to the Chelsea Plaza & Lofts, Granada Plaza & Lofts, and Kellogg Plaza & Lofts in Downtown.  Haag, stated “If you look across the United States, mixed-use developments like this revitalize and bring people to live in the heart of a community.  The downtown is the heart of a community and Emporia takes great pride in our downtown.  In-fill projects like this will spur future development and projects in the area.  Redeveloping this area will help make the vision of the Black & Gold District a reality.  We are looking forward to this project and believe it will have a tremendous impact on downtown, ESU, and the community.“ Haag and his local investor group; Craig and Joyce French, Jim Shepherd, and Harry and Barb Haag, worked with Emporia Main Street, and the City of Emporia to build a cohesive development that met the vision set forth in the CID Plan proposed by Emporia Main Street and ratified by the City of Emporia in March 2014.  The Emporia State University Master Plan adopted in May reflected a desire for mixed use development on the northern blocks of Commercial Street.  Both plans encouraged investment in the Black and Gold Zone.  The Roosevelt Plaza & Lofts and Legacy Lofts will bring excitement to the Black and Gold District which is vital to both Emporia State University and Emporia Main Street. The City of Emporia planned to remove a dilapidated gas station to create a development area and engage in sidewalk and curbing upgrades to facilitate additional growth in an area commonly referred to as the “Black and Gold” zone.  Infrastructure upgrades and mixed use development were identified within the Community Initiated Development (CID) Plan adopted in March of 2014 and were part of the City’s Community Improvement Plan (CIP).  The planned infrastructure upgrades will now immediately facilitate a large scale redevelopment that the improvements were meant to stimulate. The CID represents a master plan for downtown, including infrastructure improvements, design guidelines, market opportunity identification and incentives available for developers.  Emporia Main Street Director, Casey Woods, stated “Land use redevelopment plans are important documents to foster redevelopment, when the CID was first introduced, a lot of people couldn’t envision mixed use infill development in downtown, and now the plan has helped generate multiple developments that have helped Emporia in...

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Summer is Here!

Posted by on Jul 13, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

For many of us Summer time brings a sense of a time to relax, kids at home, endless tubes of sunscreen, road trips, crunchy hair from too much pool time, popsicles, baseball and watermelon, fireworks. The list can go on and on. For Emporians, we are lucky to add special memories and experiences like Live in the Lot, the Sertoma Train at Soden’s Grove, trips to the David Traylor Zoo, Brown Bag Concerts at the Library, and an endless list that makes Emporia such a cool place. As we find ourselves in the middle of summer (can you believe it?) there is still time to capitalize on the season and take some action to positively effect your business. 1.  Focus on summer travelers. Emporia is a destination. Every year, we see more and more folks coming into our community for their vacation. As a business, you have the opportunity to turn these visits into sales. Remember that uniqueness sells, and you need to get onto the visitor’s “itinerary”. Find out what group you want to target. Is it families coming for a youth sporting event? Is it individuals coming to play one (or several) of our nationally known disc golf  courses? Is it a group of cyclists coming to tackle our internationally known gravel courses?  Social Media offers a variety of platforms and budgets to market to these different interests groups. Look for keywords and specific locations when setting up your campaign. 2. Focus on Staycationers.  Staycations are very popular for folks who just want to rest and relax in their own homes. These “vacations” offer a time for individuals to work on projects they have been putting off or a time for them to try something new. Summer projects can be anything from planting a new garden to painting grandma’s old china cabinet. Finding ways to educate consumers on how to be successful with their projects is a great way to build customer loyalty and your brand. Think about offering a class on how to re-purpose a piece of furniture or be a successful gardener. Staycations are also a great time for art or yoga classes! 2.  Kids are home, welcome them in.  School’s out for Summer! This can mean a variety of situations based on family dynamics and professions. Some kiddos get to hang with their parents during these months. Offering “kids” specials that encourage parents or care providers into your place of business is a good way to increase traffic. Think about specials that still encourage a purchase(s). It doesn’t necessarily need to be a “kids eat free” type of promo, but maybe a deeper discount than normal. During lunch get (insert percentage here) off a child’s meal when an adult meal is...

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The Meaning of Membership

Posted by on Jul 13, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

The concept of “joining” means vastly different things to different generations.  The Baby Boomer generation had committee upon committee, and social organization upon social organization that created a fairly hierarchical community approach. Members of Generation X typically hate meetings, and they prefer the more organic approach of coming together to achieve something specific and actionable.  The Millennial Generation is still carving out their niche where “joining” is concerned, but their grasp of technology when coupled with individualism makes for a unique membership culture.  All three of these generations constitute the fabric of the current business and social culture of the region, with another membership close behind.  The question “why join?” may mean different things to different generations, groups or interests, but there are some similarities in answers when relating to Main Street. We can talk about individual services that uniquely apply to individual organizations, but those services are as diverse as our membership.  The following are some general reasons why your support of Emporia Main Street makes sense: 1.  We assist in creating the unique elements that Emporia is known for.  If you talk to people in the region (or former residents) about what Emporia was known for twenty years ago, you will find a vastly different community concept.  Within the newer brand identity of Emporia, you will find Emporia Main Street at the core.  We aren’t talking about a “we probably had something to do with it” – Emporia Main Street funded businesses, created new funding/educational opportunities, started community related event expansions, sent information to media, created new programs for existing holidays and made physical community changes that have resulted in those “uniquely Emporian” attributes that others can identify as defining brand characteristics.  We continue to press the establishment of defining elements every day through our diverse program of work. 2.  We aren’t afraid to tackle tough (occasionally controversial) issues for the good of the region.  Things like the Community Initiated Development Plan (CID), the Veterans Banner Project, the Historic District, infill developments, street based beer gardens, zero interest loans, temporary event based street closures, tax credit sales, upper story housing and many other initiatives were controversial when Main Street began pushing the concepts.  These things have been, on balance, very good for the community.  Staying neutral on everything, regardless of the good or harm that it can do a community, is a surefire way to create community regression.  We certainly don’t look for controversy, but we aren’t afraid to push for initiatives that move our region forward. 3.  The financing options we have created help businesses start and grow (and that’s good for the region).  Emporia Main Street has now loaned out over $1,000,000 in zero interest loans. We’ve...

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Your answer to an important question

Posted by on Jul 13, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Last week, we asked you a question: “what type of city would you like to live in?”  To contextualize the question, we gave you four different options that we classified as W, O, R and S types of cities.  Before we get into your selection, and what that selection means for Emporia, take a chance to review the different city types: “W City” is a worker city.  People in W City work in factories and other production facilities owned by people that live in another community.  Because owners live in another community, W City citizens strive for middle class status, but have a hard time obtaining significant wealth.  Infrastructure demands are significant to support facilities, and recruitment of businesses typically includes tax abatement and cash incentives. “O City” is an owner city.  People in O City own production operations in other cities, and have owner operated businesses within O City.  Owner based cities are typically a little denser, and create professional jobs with higher potential incomes.  O City focuses on helping businesses that start in the city (local ownership) grow.  Growth is limited to the rate in which locally owned businesses can start and sustain. “R City” is a raw material city.  People in R City produce raw materials that are then shipped out to W City for creation of finished goods.  R City has a variable income depending on the demand for raw materials.  Because income can fluctuate with market demand, a “boom or bust” mentality can exist within business availability and incomes.  Raw materials can be finite, so the impact of raw material sales upon R City’s economy is limited to their supply. “S City” is a city focused on social services.  Dollars collected from taxes and donations go to organizations that employ individuals to serve those impacted by a variety of societal issues.  Support for entities in S City is constrained by dollars available, but robust social systems can attract residents that may act as unskilled workforce.  Competition for dollars can lead to governance by emergency which may limit long term wealth development. Now for the results: 100% of those responding to the survey (and 100% of committee members responding to the earlier focus group test) ranked the “O City” as the type of city they would like to live in.  People inherently saw the value of living in a community where locals owned businesses, property, and developments.  All other community types were ranked fairly closely together in a very distant second.  Now that we know what we want- what does that mean???  Do our actions, priorities and strategies reinforce what we say we want, or do they support different city types?   Cities are complex systems of the different types of...

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What type of city do you want to live in?

Posted by on Jul 13, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

ommunicating business and economic strategies to the public is difficult.  In a sound bite society known for oversimplifying complex concepts, we need more effective ways to engage the public in interactive conversations about community economic priorities.  A recent conversation with an ESU Professor highlighted a conversation mechanism used in his class, and we wanted to test the strategy with this group prior to potentially integrating the message in community outreach. So, please listen to the following scenario.  The discussion that follows is an interactive test to determine community priorities and methods of communicating with the general public.   The choice of four cities:   Imagine four different cities that you can potentially be a part of.  We will call these cities “W City”, “O City”, “R City”, and “S City”.  You need to prioritize the type of city you want to be involved in within this test.  Obviously, these cities are over simplifications of the complex and layered elements that communities must engage, but bare with us, and please click the link after the city descriptions to rank your city preference.   “W City” is a worker city.  People in W City work in factories and other production facilities owned by people that live in another community.  Because owners live in another community, W City citizens strive for middle class status, but have a hard time obtaining significant wealth.  Infrastructure demands are significant to support facilities, and recruitment of businesses typically includes tax abatement and cash incentives.   “O City” is an owner city.  People in O City own production operations in other cities, and have owner operated businesses within O City.  Owner based cities are typically a little denser, and create professional jobs with higher potential incomes.  O City focuses on helping businesses that start in the city (local ownership) grow.  Growth is limited to the rate in which locally owned businesses can start and sustain.   “R City” is a raw material city.  People in R City produce raw materials that are then shipped outto W City for creation of finished goods.  R City has a variable income depending on the demand for raw materials.  Because income can fluctuate with market demand, a “boom or bust” mentality can exist within business availability and incomes.  Raw materials can be finite, so the impact of raw material sales upon R City’s economy is limited to their supply.   “S City” is a city focused on social services.  Dollars collected from taxes and donations go to organizations that employ individuals to serve those impacted by a variety of societal issues.  Support for entities in S City is constrained by dollars available, but robust social systems can attract residents that may act as unskilled workforce. ...

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How to DK

Posted by on Jul 13, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Big events are now a “thing” in Emporia.  We have a series of international events that draw thousands of people into the community, but we need your help to keep events growing.  We also need you to do a few things to ensure that you actually make money during large events (your profitability is important to us).  The following ideas and strategies can help Emporia events continue to grow, and they can help your business or organization gain some profit.   1.  The Dirty Kanza welcome really starts NOW.-  Come to downtown Emporia on any weekend, and you will see vehicles with bike racks parked on Commercial.  If you notice the licence plates, they aren’t from Lyon County.  It is really hard to simulate the conditions of the Dirty Kanza, so a lot of riders simply come to Emporia to experience the route for themselves. Yes, the race isn’t until June 3rd, but the visitors are already here. If you have DK specials that you would like for us to promote on the Etown App please email them to the office or call with details!   2.  Windows and signage.-  The easiest way for a business to welcome visitors is simply putting up window decorations and signage that welcomes riders.  It sounds weirdly simple, but simply showing a little support can draw people in.  When several businesses have a similar “welcome” message, it has a tremendous impact. Would you like a bike to display in your store front? Our wonderful friends at Eclectic Bikes have offered to let local businesses borrow a cool bike for their windows! Call Lorena at 620-208-6200 and she can help you out. 3.  Chalking is a family affair.  Last year, Jessica Buchholz developed the concept of a “welcome wagon” where local citizens chalked sidewalks to welcome riders to the Dirty Kanza.  It was a hit!  Everyone can chalk a welcome sign, draw a logo, (attempt to) draw a bike, etc.  We had a lot of families come downtown last year for sidewalk chalking, and the event served as a good way to teach kids community pride while doing something constructive as a family.  CLICK HERE for this year’s Welcome Wagon details on Facebook!   4.  Don’t be afraid to say “hi”!  Riders probably won’t bite.  If you see someone in lycra rolling around on an impressive bike with body fat under 10%, there is a good chance they are a Dirty Kanza rider.  Walk up to them, say “hi” and welcome them to the community.  Ask them where they are from.  Engage them in conversation.  You will be happy you did.   5.  Be a resource!  If you know basic locations, the Dirty Kanza schedule and helpful...

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