Sunday, February 13, 2011

Clayton Downtown Development Group Attends NC Main Street Conference in Shelby NC

From Left: Dianne Carroll, President, Woman’s Club of Clayton; Mayor Jody McLeod; Leslie Hubbard (DDA); Richard Rairigh, President, DDA; Debra Austermuehle, (DDA); Betsy Grannis (DDA); Michael Grannis, Town Council (& NC Main Street Champion); Ed Austermuehle; Margaret Lee (DDA); Heidi Stump, Director, The Clayton Center; Bruce Naegelen, Downtown Development Coordinator; Pam McLamb (The Clayton Center); Laurie Partlo (Woman’s Club)

Thirteen representatives from Clayton attended the 2011 North Carolina Main Street Conference in Shelby, NC from January 26-28. Clayton will be the host community for the conference in January 2012, so a few more people than usual went to Shelby to get a handle on what Clayton needs to do to get ready.

Laurie Partlo, from the Woman’s Club of Clayton has agreed to be our Conference Volunteer Coordinator, so she and Club President Dianne Carroll met with the Shelby coordinator, and learned more about Main Street! Clayton Center Director, Heidi Stump and Pam McLamb checked out the overall operation of the conference, since the 2012 event will be based at The Clayton Center. DDA members Leslie Hubbard, Betsy Grannis, Debra Austermuehle and Margaret Lee attended the conference for the training and to get an appreciation for the conference operations. Mayor Jody McLeod, DDA Chair Richard Rairigh and Councilman Michael Grannis attended the Awards Dinner on Thursday night. Mr. Grannis also accepted his certificate as Clayton’s 2010 NC Main Street Champion.

More than 350 people attended the conference in Shelby, representing 103 towns and cities. Clayton may have a few more attending because of our centralized location. This conference will have an amazing economic impact in Clayton, specifically in downtown and will require the assistance of many people and organizations. Planning has already begun!

The conference is a major training opportunity for DDA volunteers, businesses and others involved in downtown revitalization and development. Here are some of the things we learned during the 2011 NC Main Street Conference:

• Partnering and networking opportunities

• Trails – attract “creative class”

• Foot and bicycle races are good money makers

• Business incubators can be helpful to help start-up businesses

• We need to step-up our retail game – and encourage more retail business

• We need to find activities/business to keep people walking in downtown

• Review our windows and storefront displays

• To encourage more retail, vacant buildings should have a major reduction in rent

• Windows & Signage - mark prices and make sure your signs are spelled correctly

• Institutional and government buildings can be anchors to bring more foot traffic to businesses

• Create “walkable zones”

• Define outer edges of downtown to expand walkability – side streets

• Decorate vacant buildings

For more information on getting involved with the DDA or the 2012 Conference, please contact Downtown Development Coordinator, Bruce Naegelen at (919) 553-1545 or

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