In December 2017, the Economic Director of Taneytown, Nancy McCormick, asked the members of the Main Street Advisory Board to create a Strategic Plan to prepare for the coming new year. Each member was to present their plan at the following meeting. The following was my presentation.
When asked to participate on the Main Street Advisory Board, I was a bit reluctant. This past year has been challenging for many of us in many different ways and the thought of wiping the slate clean in order to have a brighter future for Main Street has been difficult for me at times. But in the end, I do want a better, brighter Taneytown and that’s why I’m here. I want to be a part of something that creates prosperity, goodness, relevancy, and a sense of community. That’s my motive, if you will.
In each of our minds, there’s a different reality of Taneytown. For business owners like myself, it’s about getting customers into the door. But there’s more to a town than the financial side and it begins with the way people feel about the town they choose to live in. I’ll be honest, Taneytown’s events and messaging have become stagnant and irrelevant. We need to create an environment full of positive energy, small town charm and most importantly, we need to become relevant again.
As requested, below is my Strategic Plan for Main Street:
Vision Statement: Our vision is to foster a thriving and relevant downtown by providing a business-friendly destination for residents first as well as visitors to experience our unique and charming downtown.
Mission Statement: The mission of the Taneytown Main Street Program is to work with both the public and private sectors to restore the vitality once common in the downtown district by enhancing our community identity and heritage, fostering a center of activity, and ensuring economic stability by embracing the Main Street Four Point Approach – design, organization, promotion and economic vitality.
Business and Team Summary
The primary business of Taneytown Main Street Board consists of the following:
- Economic Vitality
The core team members of Taneytown Main Street Board are as follows:
Strengths of Taneytown Main Street
- Access to funds
- Access to manpower
- Access to influence
Weaknesses of Taneytown Main Street
- Fishbowl mentality – need to reach out to others that might want to be involved.
- Too dependent on grant money; lack of private investments
- Non-profit mindset: businesses are a for-profit enterprise
- Make more of each event by better planning, marketing, and communication
- Help businesses refocus, market and provide support when needed. This support should be from other Taneytown business owners.
- Becoming relevant again
- “that’s just the way this town is” attitude
- Same people, same ideas
Objectives: Design, Organization, Promotion, Economic Vitality
- Façade Grants
- Work with City to enforce code violations
- Create better signage for customers (directional, parking, etc.)
- Be organized enough to plan 90 days prior to event
- Get college students involved (interns)
events planned in December:
- Calendar of Events in The Record
- Events planned out at least 90 days ahead
- Promote in Carroll Magazine, Carroll County Times, etc
- SEO/SEM and retargeting
- Need more
- Heard a rumor regarding more concerts at the park?
- Set a goal for a specific number of new businesses in 2018 – sustainable businesses and one franchise
- Provide support and representation for current businesses including but not limited to: development (educational resources), help with permits and regulations, and networking opportunities
Based on events in 2018, I would add the following suggestions to this Strategic Plan:
- An emergency plan in place for when a business owner becomes ill and requires temporary manpower solutions
- A safety net created for business owners who have fallen on hard times financially or encounter legal issues
- All marketing material must be proofread by another Board member and/or Department Head before being released to the public.
- Zoning and Inspection assistance from an outside source for new businesses, prior to move in.
I offer this for your consideration and encourage you to help your business community by voicing your concerns with valid solutions to your local government officials and town leaders.