Tapping into trends in downtown entrepreneurship

Arrow Gift Shop

Connecting growing businesses such as Eagle River’s Arrow Gift Shop with tools and resources helps businesses grow, evolve and transition, as needed. Retaining key anchor businesses brings foot traffic to the district and creates a pool of local business mentors to support future startups. 

Photo courtesy of Retailworks, Inc.


The COVID-19 pandemic foisted many dizzying changes on locally owned businesses, including temporary and permanent closures, changing entrepreneur demographics, labor market shifts and a switch to online sales. One benefit of coordinating a long-standing program such as Wisconsin Main Street (celebrating its 35th year in 2022) is the ability to explore trends over time.

A recently completed study by Wisconsin Main Street illustrates the nature of entrepreneurship over the past three years in Main Street districts. It highlights many changes in the small business world, but also points to the critical importance of downtowns in cultivating and supporting entrepreneurs and building a vibrant small business environment that fosters new business innovation.



Top Rural Development Initiative Nomination
Deadline  Feb. 7
Bylaws Best Practices Webinar
Mar. 2, Noon - 1 p.m.
Conflict Management Workshop
Mar. 8, Beloit
8 a.m. -  5 p.m.
Farmers Market Manager Webinar Series
Thursdays in March
10 - 11 a.m.
Info. &  Register

Main Street Awards
April 22, Fond du Lac
Registration coming soon

Lighting Design Workshop
Jun. 7, De Pere

Find more articles and tips in our Places Blog.

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