Market Street Boutique unveils a successful makeover
When fashion is your business, your business should look fashionable and functional.
That driving principle helped lead Market Street Boutique owner Maggie Simmons to enter the Main Street Makeover contest, aiming to give her growing business a new feel and a way to serve her loyal customer base better.
Simmons hoped that Market Street Boutique—which specializes in on-trend clothing, unique gifts, and stylish accessories for women of all ages and sizes—could better reflect its mission and create a redesign with help from WEDC.
A plan comes together
Market Street Boutique’s proposal was selected as one of three from Wisconsin businesses to receive a $5,000 grant and help from WEDC and Retailworks Inc., a Milwaukee-based retail branding and design company.
The contest—part of the Wisconsin Main Street Program, the state’s signature downtown revitalization initiative—provides selected businesses with funding to help promote change and success.
After months of careful planning and with help from partners, customers, and others in the community, the plans took shape. Ryan Jennings, the property owner and owner of the XO Fitness gym, helped with coordinating the larger physical space improvements.
Meanwhile, the local Main Street organization, Definitely De Pere, connected the Market Street Boutique project to other local partners and provided funding for the shop’s new exterior mural.
“We are excited to see the striking storefront and enhanced interior space.”
Tina Quigley, Executive Director, Definitely De Pere
Function combines with fashion
This collaboration resulted in a new look and feel at the boutique—one that benefits the entire downtown area and positions the business for continued growth. Changes include new dressing rooms, an expanded and permanent jewelry station, added merchandise display options and upgraded lighting. Also added were coordinated paint, signage, lighting, and enhanced checkout counters. The shop—redesigned with the help of many partners—now provides an updated and vibrant shopping experience.
“We want to extend a huge thank you,” Simmons said. “We are so appreciative to all our partners, volunteers, customers, the state and the entire community who have supported us on our journey over the past several years.”
The community has also taken notice of the improvements, which contributed to a livelier, more attractive downtown area.
“We are excited to see the striking storefront and enhanced interior space,” said Definitely De Pere Executive Director Tina Quigley. “As an organization committed to enhancing the vitality of downtown De Pere, we are thrilled to see this prominent corner location refreshed.”
AT A GLANCE
Business: Market Street Boutique, De Pere
Improve the appearance and functionality of this downtown boutique
The Sheboygan Falls Main Street Program began in December 1988, when it was named one of the first five pilot Main Street programs in the state of Wisconsin. At this time, only three buildings in downtown Sheboygan Falls had been renovated, and many stood vacant. However, the actual push for downtown revitalization had begun nearly 15 years earlier, when a few passionate individuals formed a Sheboygan Falls historic preservation group out of the Sheboygan County Landmarks Association. Two separate historic districts were created as a result of this effort. The community effort to launch the program resulted in significant private sector investment, as local property improvements totaled more than $3.6 million in the program’s fifth year after steady year-over-year improvements. Early successes included the Brickner Woolen Mill Apartments, which was a successful $3.3 million adaptive reuse project to create affordable housing units along the river downtown. Projects like this, along with many individual business examples, paved the way for the Brickner Square project and 1878 Broadway redevelopment, which both resulted from local investors pooling funds to purchase and restore long-vacant properties. Bemis Manufacturing was an early investor, leading by example through renovations of a downtown showroom facility, but also providing $15,000 in seed funding toward a revolving loan pool for other downtown property owners. Early activities also set the stage for community-oriented and family-friendly events such as the Ducktona 500, which has grown to attract 8,000 annual attendees. Today, Sheboygan Falls is one of Wisconsin’s successful Chamber-Main Street organizations, a model made possible when the larger business community recognizes that the health of the downtown center is a reflection of overall economic opportunity. Sheboygan Falls has won more than 40 statewide Main Street awards in virtually every category offered. The program is especially recognized for its well-preserved historic architecture and successful community-wide partnerships designed to engage the City, business community, civic organizations and residents to preserve and promote a strong and vibrant local community while retaining its quintessential small-town charm.
Created by a public-private partnership in 1990, Downtown Mainstreet Inc. of La Crosse spearheaded the creation of the city's first comprehensive master plan for its downtown in order to address perceived economic deterioration of the city’s historic district. Today, La Crosse is one of the largest National Register Commercial Historic Districts in Wisconsin, containing 96 contributing buildings. Early preservation efforts led to the completion of a $2.9 million river levee project to protect downtown from Mississippi River flooding. In addition to serving a critical purpose, the project features a riverwalk, recreational boat docking facility, wayfinding signage and downtown streetscaping initiatives. In its first 12 years as a program, downtown gained 170 new residential units. More than 100 building and storefront façade restorations have been undertaken, resulting in an increase of $40 million in assessed property values. With the recruitment of major high-tech corporations such as Firstlogic and CenturyTel's Midwest regional headquarters, employment is now at an all-time high, even surpassing employment at the height of the prosperous retail years. Today, downtown La Crosse is known for its arts scene (including a strong public art program and state-of-the-art Weber Center for the Performing Arts), as well as a commitment to downtown residential development (the Tour of Upper Living regularly sells out). Last year the downtown welcomed $12 million in private investment. This pales in comparison to the $191 million in projects currently under way, which are expected to add nearly 400 new hotel rooms, 246 residential units, and 145,000 new square feet of commercial space and generate more than $22 million in additional consumer activity.
WEDC contributed $249,455 toward a $3.2 million project to renovate and preserve the historic Al Ringling Theatre in downtown Baraboo. The project, completed in time for the theater’s 100th birthday, restored many of the building’s original fixtures, while also adding modern conveniences like updated restrooms and a bar. The theater regularly draws visitors from Madison and Milwaukee, and is responsible for driving foot traffic in the downtown area to support additional businesses. Other funding partners included the City of Baraboo, Jeffris Family Foundation and private contributions. The theater is in the process of expanding its staff by five to accommodate increased volume of activities and tours as a result of the project