Becoming a Dynamic Online & Offline Destination Business

Small businesses from retail to restaurants to the service industry are facing dramatic shifts in consumer preferences and habits. Independent businesses can no longer rely on great customer service alone. You need to adapt to new customer behaviors, especially Millennial and Generation Z audiences, and you need a strong presence online to attract customers who are often attached to their mobile devices. Differentiation is the key. What sets a business apart from others is what gets people in the door (or online).

Ready to become a dynamic online & offline business destination? Register for a day-long workshop led by a national expert, then apply for technical assistance and grants that build on destination concepts (the workshop is open to any business located anywhere, but assistance and grants are only available to City of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County businesses).

Bricks & Clicks Workshop

Nationally renowned marketing expert and small business strategist, Jon Schallert of the Schallert Group, will lead this dynamic workshop that will give business owners the tools for leveraging the opportunities in these customer shifts. Schallert is highly sought after for his ability to help entrepreneurs tweak their business models and boost profits by strengthening their web presence and transitioning to experience-based businesses. Download the workshop flyer.

Business owners will learn how to become a destination business – both online and in-store.  In addition, attendees will:

  • Get the strategies to make sure customers can find you.
  • Discover ways to create an engaging and sales-driving website.
  • Hear what creative businesses around the nation have done to defy impossible customer markets and attract people from miles away by creating an experience-based destination.
  • Find out how to offer more than a transaction in order to become a destination - whether meal delivery subscriptions are eating into your dining room sales or Amazon is clicking away at your bottom line.

When: Feb. 27, 2018 from 8:00 am – 3:30 pm (agenda coming soon)
Where: JMU Madison Union Ballroom 170 Bluestone Dr., Harrisonburg, VA 22801
Cost: $50 for Rockingham County and Harrisonburg City businesses; $75 for out-of-area businesses. Light breakfast (donuts and bagels), lunch (sandwiches, cookies, fresh fruit, chips & salsa, potato chips), and coffee and tea will also be served during the workshop.
Register: Register by noon on Feb. 26, 2018.

Parking is FREE in lots R10 & R11. For quick transport to Madison Union Ballroom, there will be two shuttles running concurrently from the front of the R11 lot facing Port Republic Rd. from 7:15 until 8:30 am. Return shuttles will run from 1:30 – 3:30 pm. From 81 northbound, take exit 245 and proceed to the exit ramp stop light. Make a right at the light. Then make an immediate right into a long, narrow parking lot (this is R10 & R 11). From southbound 81, take exit 245 and proceed to the stop light. Make a left at the light. Come to another stop light and go straight through light but make an immediate right into the R10-11 lots. If you pass the Exxon Station on the right, you’ve gone too far and missed the driveway.

Apply for  Expert Help & grants

Destination Business Technical Assistance
Participants in the Bricks & Clicks Workshop can apply for Destination Business Technical Assistance. Businesses chosen will receive one-on-one time with website experts, social media and digital marketing gurus, customer experience specialists, or visual merchandising & window display designers. 

Businesses must apply for Destination Business Technical Assistance by March 5, 2018 (application coming soon via email). All applicants must have attended the Bricks & Clicks workshop and be located in Harrisonburg or Rockingham County. Expert consultations will take place between March 26-April 13.

Destination Business Implementation Grants
Destination Business Implementation Grants will help you put new ideas into action. Recipients of the Destination Business Technical Assistance may apply for a grant of up to $3,500 to offset the costs to implement your new big idea inspired by Bricks & Clicks and informed by the expert advice.

Recipients of the Destination Business Technical Assistance are eligible for the grants. Grant applications will be emailed to Technical Assistance recipients directly and will be due by April 16. Grant announcements will be made April 29-May 5 during Small Business Appreciation Week.

Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, Harrisonburg Economic Development, Rockingham County Economic Development, the Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center, and the James Madison University Center for Community Development have joined together to bring business owners the Bricks & Clicks assistance program - an exciting opportunity to grow their businesses in a changing sales environment.