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Community and economic development leaders from across North Carolina will explore how three key ingredients combine to support vibrant downtowns at the 2019 edition of the N.C. Main Street Conference, the state’s premier gathering for downtown revitalization and development.  The conference, organized by the Department of Commerce and its N.C. Main Street & Rural Planning Center, will convene March 12-14 in Salisbury.

The three-day conference theme – Time. Talent. Money, will explore how this combination generates measurable downtown revitalization results. The conference is open to anyone interested in downtown revitalization and economic development strategies.

The 2019 conference will offer attendees tools to help transform their downtown districts while allowing public-private partnerships to flourish, ways to help local businesses grow, and how to develop a comprehensive downtown program. The keynote and breakout sessions will feature retail and entrepreneurial development, downtown living, marketing on a dime, special event development, activating a storefront, and much more.  There will also be tours of downtown Salisbury.

The host town, Salisbury, is one of the original Main Street programs in both the country and the state, and a perfect community to explore the essential downtown elements.  Salisbury began its program in 1980 and has achieved nearly $149 million in investment, creating 358 businesses and renovating more than 330 buildings.  Its economic development strategies include expansion of the downtown residential market in mixed use development properties, enhancement of the emerging arts and cultural venues and amenities.

“Salisbury is the epitome of what a Main Street community is; a strong public-private partnership that develops innovative economic development strategies and initiatives, through the implementation of the Main Street Four-Point Approach,” said Liz Parham, Director of the NC Main Street & Rural Planning Center. “The N.C. Department of Commerce is proud to bring the conference to such a vibrant downtown district and to showcase the community’s many success stories.”

The conference will be held throughout downtown at The F & M Trolley Barn, the Meroney and Norvell Theaters and the Salisbury Depot. Downtown Salisbury is continuing to grow as a destination for entertainment and innovative business opportunities, making it the perfect place to build connections, share great ideas, and see what time, talent and money can do for a downtown during the 2019 North Carolina Main Street conference. Larissa Harper, City of Salisbury Downtown Development Department and Downtown Salisbury, Inc. Executive Director, states “It is an honor to host the NC Main Street Conference once again in Downtown Salisbury.  2013 was the last time elected officials, municipal staff, non-profit directors and their tireless volunteers traveled from across the State to see the revitalization happening in Downtown Salisbury and learn from leading industry professionals who share their passion for downtown economic development at this very educational statewide conference.”

Keynote speakers include Nicole Leinbach Reyle, founder and publisher of RetailMinded.com, and Ken Anderson, Director of Small Business and Entrepreneurial Services in the Division of Small Business in the Delaware Department of State.   Reyle will kick off the conference on Tuesday, March 12. She will discuss the realities of retail and must-know strategies to help downtowns thrive. Anderson will speak on Wednesday, March 14.  He will present the most critical steps to develop and enhance an entrepreneurial mindset among small business start-ups and small business owners in downtown. Anderson will also explore the best concepts for success in entrepreneurial pursuits.

The annual North Carolina Main Street Awards Dinner and Ceremony will be held on Wednesday, March 13 and the Main Street Champions Recognition will be held on Thursday, March 14. These two events recognize outstanding projects taking place in Main Street downtowns throughout the state and honor individuals dedicated to making their downtowns thriving places.

Since 1980, North Carolina Main Street and Small Town Main Street communities have generated over $2.98 billion in public and private investment. Nearly 25,000 cumulative net new full-time and part-time jobs and nearly 6,200 new businesses have been created in North Carolina Main Street districts since the program’s inception. In FY 2017-18, 190 volunteer hours were committed to North Carolina Main Street and Small Town Main Street downtown districts, valued at more than $3.5 million.

For more information or to register for the conference, visit ncmainstreetcenter.com.