Bricks & Clicks
We know that online sales and a strong internet presence is the key to success for small businesses …And, we know that a really cool bricks & mortar atmosphere builds buzz and sales. We launched Bricks & Clicks in 2018 to help small businesses become stronger online & offline destinations through inspirational speakers, one-on-one technical assistance from experts, and mini-grants. We haven’t completed our first round yet but already one business with declining sales let us know that they have made a comeback and a new business made changes that have already boosted online sales by 30%. We’re still managing this year’s grantees and will offer this economic development program again in 2019.
Business Communications and Convenings
HDR convenes the Friendly City Merchants each month to planretail-focused events and promotions. We develop campaigns and projectstogether such as Winter Wonderfest. As part of that holiday campaign, HDRcoordinates the Cookie Tour in December each year.
We also convene all businesses quarterly or even morefrequently as needed to make sure we are all talking with each other aboutthings from sharing ideas for collaborations to discussing pressing issuesimpacting downtown. We also sending updates to all businesses every other weekor even more frequently.
HDR has funded 100 projects and awarded $196,050 in façade grants over 13 years. Our Design Committee is comprised of several architects and design professionals who help advise on new construction, rehab projects, and interior spaces – either as needed or in conjunction with grant applications. We are getting ready to launch another grants round in early 2019. Our last round funded $16,000 in projects, including Magnolia’s side patio for more outdoor dining, withSimplicity’s sign for their new bricks-and-mortar space, a historic neon sign restoration at Gitchell’s Photography, the backyard patio of Pulp & SBC, and the new sign for Frame Factory and additional sign for Midtowne Market.
Taste of Downtown
We start working on the annual Taste of Downtown promotion that happens each March the year prior. The 2019 event will include a fresh look with a new brand; classes and events; a passport promotion for diners to earn cool merch; and a series of collaborations, promotional deals, new menu items, and other special ways to celebrate the culinary scene downtown. We promote downtown restaurants using targeted digital campaigns and ads as well as print ads in Edible Blue Ridge and media outreach.