Michigan launches new statewide Main Street support program to stimulate small business-based downtown revitalization

On June 3, 2019, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced a new statewide program aimed at supporting small businesses looking to expand or establish themselves in a Michigan Main Street community.

Launched as a pilot program in March of this year, Match on Main is now available to qualified communities participating at the Select or Master levels of the Michigan Main Street program.

Small businesses are the cornerstones of our communities,” said MEDC Sr. Vice President of Community Development Katharine Czarnecki. “We’ve had two good matches as a result of the pilot program, and we’re pleased to now offer Match on Main to our Main Street communities around the state. With this program, we can positively impact many small businesses, further boosting the downtowns and commercial districts in these communities to make them a place where people want to live, work and play.

Match on Main will provide grants of between $5,000 and $25,000 to Select or Master level Michigan Main Street communities in conjunction with eligible businesses seeking support. Projects can include interior building renovations, furniture and fixtures, permanent equipment, point of sale systems, marketing expenses, and inventory. Participating businesses must also have worked with the Michigan Small Business Development Center on a business plan.

The 25 communities currently participating in the Michigan Main Street at the select and master levels are Blissfield, Boyne City, Charlevoix, Charlotte, Cheboygan, Downtown Lansing, Eaton Rapids, Evart, Grand Haven, Grayling, Hart, Howell, Lapeer, Mexicantown Hubbard Communities, Milan, Niles, Old Town (Lansing), Otsego, Owosso, Portland, Saline, Sault Ste. Marie, Three Rivers, Wayland and Wayne. The cities of Niles and Saline were the first two communities to pilot the program.

Charlevoix is excited about this wonderful grant opportunity and look forward to seeing it utilized to help strengthen our downtown businesses. This funding is so unique in that it can cover things like interior build out, interior design/layout assistance, etc. which can be difficult to find funding for outside of a traditional bank loan,” said Charlevoix Main Street/Downtown Development Authority Director Lindsey J. Dotson. “I hope to see this program continue as it is a surefire way to have positive impact in the place that matters most for the Michigan economy – small businesses on ‘Main Street.’

The Michigan Main Street Center supports local communities across Michigan as they implement the Main Street Four-Point Approach®, a community-driven, comprehensive strategy encouraging economic development through historic preservation in ways appropriate for the modern marketplace. Communities at the Select Level receive five years of intensive technical assistance from MEDC. After communities have completed the Select Level of the program, they can participate in the Master Level, a two-year commitment that includes additional training, networking and mentoring opportunities.

Over the past year, Michigan Main Street communities generated more than $28 million in private investment, 116 new businesses and 92 façade improvements. Since its inception in 2003, the Michigan Main Street has been a catalyst for job growth, private investment and community engagement. From 2003 through 2018, 1,299 new businesses have been launched, with a total public investment of nearly $90 million and total private investment of $286 million. In addition, more than 56,566 volunteer hours were recorded in the task of revitalizing downtowns across the state.

Photo of downtown Charlevoix courtesy of Pure Michigan.

Learn more about the economic development resources available from the MEDC.

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