The main merchandising theme should emphasize the unique and local character and tradition of shopping downtown with personal service and product knowledge offered by the independent merchant in the historic heart of the town. Some measures to achieve this objective are presented as follows:
Upgrade the presentation of merchandise and stock. Conduct periodic peer review of the layout and display practices of each store. Utilize the advisory capabilities of state and national retailing associations i.e. jewelers, clothiers, etc, to bring the latest concepts of that area of retailing to the Main Street merchant.
Improved service in retail stores during the lunch hour is one step, which will help convert downtown workers into better downtown spenders. Maintaining a full complement of staff and offering lunch hour specials are two measures to be tried. Getting downtown employees to buy downtown’s goods and services is a must.
Design, display and imagery - incorporate as much as possible, the historic theme of Downtown into the presentation of merchandise. Use the richness of the materials within the interior of buildings to enhance the display and setting for merchandise. Wooden beams, brick walls, ceiling joists, metal ceilings, wood floors, etc. should be prominent interior surfaces. Letter style and art work in displays, signs and advertising can employ images of downtown’s past glories.
Develop a credit financing pool for stores - Downtown banks should create a short-term loan pool for purchase of stock and displays for stores participating in the revitalization program.
Strengthen the Central Business Bureau. Broad-based participation is essential to a successful retailing community. Joint action on merchandising and other issues requires an organizational framework to coordinate individual actions.
In accordance with market analysis, work toward shifting the traditional business hours of downtown. An increase in market share may be achieved by opening on Sunday. The weekday store hours should be rearranged to be open for area residents after work.
Develop common lease conditions covering items such as uniform store hours joint advertising, required membership in the Central Business Bureau etc. Prepare master lease conditions for use by downtown property owners, which address retailing issues important to the overall success of the district. Receipt of incentives should be conditioned upon use of the lease conditions developed by the Downtown District.
Restaurants should be encouraged to use outdoor areas where possible. The sidewalk in front of the restaurants can serve this purpose. Adding a few tables with colorful umbrellas can add greatly to the visual quality of street. In addition to enhancing the vitality of the street scene, outdoor areas increase restaurant capacity with minimal increase in fixed costs. Encourage Downtown restaurants to identify with a theme i.e. pasta, Creole, etc.