Posts filed under ‘Business’

Strength Test #1: How’s your Main Street doing?

“Take a photo of your main street at midday. Does the picture show more people than cars?”

space2

This is the first item on the Strength Test for a reason. It helps us understand on a very basic level whether your town is filled with cars passing through, or people enjoying your city center as a destination. At Strong Towns, we call humans the “indicator species of economic health.” If you’ve got a lot of them walking around, visiting your town’s businesses, enjoying your town’s amenities and living in your town’s homes, you’re well on your way to being a strong town. That means you have an economic base to support your community and people who genuinely want to live in your place and contribute to it.

On the other hand, if your main street is devoid of people and merely a thoroughfare for cars, that tells us about your town’s auto-dependence (which makes infrastructure costs expensive) and it tells us about the tax base of your community. In our analyses of tax value per acre in city after city, we find that downtown cores and main streets are the most economically productive places.

Read Strength Test #1: How’s your Main Street doing? by Rachel Quedno at Strong Towns.

June 26, 2017 at 10:59 am Leave a comment

From CSAs to containers at Hoople Creek Farms near Ingleside

There really is no excuse to not having fresh vegetables on your table each meal.

Hoople Creek Organic Farms is making it easier to make sure your family gets fresh vegetables by offering up another new in initiative, container gardens.

Hoople Creek owner Jamie Creskey said they have been operating the farm for 10 years now and hopes this new initiative will reach even more local residents interested in having fresh, organic vegetables on their tables.

“The idea is to allow more people to be able to grow organic produce and have it all season long,” said Creskey.

“Not everybody has the time, or wants to have as much as we produce for our CSA customers,” he said. “And we have been trialing hundreds of different vegetables to find the best ones to grow organically in our region. So we are making those plants available now through our container gardens.”

Read From CSAs to containers at Hoople Creek Farms near Ingleside by Lois Ann Baker at The Standard-Freeholder.

May 10, 2017 at 10:02 am Leave a comment

StrongestTown Contest 2017 – Championship Round

We’ve invited our members, listeners and readers to nominate towns based on the Strong Towns strength test and Strong Towns principles. We know that no town is perfect. This contest is about showcasing towns that are doing their best to be strong, that have the building blocks in place to be strong towns today and in the future.

The votes are in and we’ve narrowed down our 16 town bracket to two final contestants: Guelph, Ontario and Traverse City, Michigan.

April 10, 2017 at 10:35 am Leave a comment

How to Encourage Entrepreneurship in Your Town

…nine different ideas for promoting entrepreneurship, within both government and the private sector.

street-festivalA strong town needs strong local businesses. Local businesses provide jobs and opportunities for wealth creation. They can become a draw, encouraging visitors from outside your community, as well as a way for community members to support each other by buying local. Only with a thriving locally-based economy—one that isn’t owned or propped up by someone six states away—can we succeed in creating sustainable jobs and lasting economic prosperity.

Entrepreneurship is a hot word these days. Lots of towns say they would like to attract more entrepreneurs and grow their small business communities. But how do you do it? There are many ways to encourage entrepreneurship in your community, both through government leadership and private sector/neighborhood-level work.

THE GOVERNMENT’S ROLE IN ENCOURAGING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

1. Adjust zoning codes to reduce business costs.

Do your zoning codes allow for mixed-use buildings where a shop owner runs her business on the first floor and lives upstairs? Are there minimum parking requirements for new businesses? Are food trucks permitted in your community? These are good questions to ask if you want to encourage small business growth. Buying or renting and renovating a building for a new business can be extremely costly. If your community allows for creative use of space, diverse income streams and smaller options than the typical stand-alone store, you lower the barriers to entry for small business owners.

2. Help facilitate walkable business districts.

Walkability is a huge factor in small business success and can create fertile soil for entrepreneurship to thrive. In a concentrated, walkable neighborhood with shops and restaurants, passersby are far more likely to frequent multiple businesses than if they were just driving to a specific store in an auto-oriented area.

Read How to Encourage Entrepreneurship in Your Town by Rachel Quednau at Strong Towns.

February 20, 2017 at 12:04 pm Leave a comment

Bulk Barn has embraced the Zero Waste movement

Bulk Barn jars

In one fell swoop, Bulk Barn has revolutionized grocery shopping in Canada. The largest bulk food retailer in the country has just announced that it will accept reusable containers in all stores, starting February 24, 2017. This is a monumental victory for the Zero Waste movement in Canada, since Bulk Barn has 260 locations across the nation, many of which are in small communities without access to other zero waste-friendly stores.

Read Bulk Barn has embraced the Zero Waste movement by Katherine Martinko at Treehugger.com

January 30, 2017 at 11:24 am Leave a comment

The New Consumerism: Redefining Ownership, Values and Priorities

the-new-consumerism

As consumers reassess their priorities and increasingly ask themselves what they truly value, a host of major consumer trends have emerged: from the sharing economy to the preference given to experience over possessions, to frugal innovation and trading up and down. This shift towards new priorities, which we have christened “The New Consumerism”, is impacting across a multitude of industry sectors and has the power to transform even the most established markets.

The eight trends which are combining to form the New Consumerism are:

  • The sharing economy: this is all about supply and demand. Connecting people and businesses with the resources to those that want them. It removes market inefficiencies, empowers consumers and has disrupted, or has the potential to disrupt, a wide range of sectors.
  • The circular economy: one where everything is reused and nothing is wasted. It is the antithesis of the linear “build, buy, bury” model of a one-way stream of raw material to factory, to user, then landfill. It has the potential to completely transform the way in which we do business.

Read The New Consumerism: Redefining Ownership, Values and Priorities by Sarah Boumbphrey at Euromonitor International.

January 2, 2017 at 12:10 pm Leave a comment

Main Streets matter: Shop local this holiday season

christmas-storeForget the Internet and the mall. Show support for innovative, independent local business owners instead. It’s a win-win situation for all.

If you have not yet finished your holiday shopping — or, like me, haven’t even started it — then I would like to suggest a challenge. This is what I’m planning to do, and it would be lovely if more people joined in.

Forget about Internet shopping. Put down your credit card and phone. Close the browser window that’s open to Amazon, eBay, and the like. Put on your boots and coat. Don’t go to the mall. Go, instead, for a walk. Head to the main street of your town or city, where glowing shop windows are decorated and lit up for the season.

Read Main Streets matter: Shop local this holiday season by Katheine Martinko at Treehugger.com

November 30, 2016 at 12:20 pm Leave a comment

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