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Thread: Ideas for a Workshop I am Giving

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Cheese State

    Ideas for a Workshop I am Giving

    Anybody who has read a good number of my posts knows that I come from a background in economic development. I have also worked in retail, as a site analyst, and have developed commercial property. In my work in downtown revitalization, going back to the 1980's, communities have consistently asked advice or assistance on how they can go about filling their vacant storefronts. It is a subject I have spoken about at several conferences. Now that I am consulting I find that this issue is one for which people seek me out.

    A few weeks ago I was talking about this with the girlfriend when she suggested that I put together a workshop on the topic. Well, I have attended them from time to time and always came away thinking that I could have done it better, so why not. I have assembled my files, notes, slides, writings and various other resources, and will have no difficulty in putting together a very informative day-long workshop.

    I always want people to walk away from my presentations feeling like they have gotten something of value which they can use in their community. To that end, I have some questions for Cyburbia:

    * Would it be better to focus strictly on retail, or to also discuss other options for filling vacant buildings?
    * What are some specific questions you would hope to have answered in a workshop on retail attraction?
    * Would it be better to focus on filling downtown buildings, or not be specific about where in the city the vacancies might lie?

    Here are some logistical questions:

    * How far would you travel to attend an event like this?
    * Is there a particular type of location you prefer - i.e., a meeting room in a downtown location, hotel, resort?
    * Do you prefer a small city (under 15,000) or medium sized city (15-50,000).
    * Would you or your employer pay $100 to attend? How about $150?
    * How would you advertise this in your state/region?

    Any other thoughts you want to share would be greatly appreciated.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  2. #2
    Jan 2005
    Odessa, Texas

    I think it would a good idea to discuss strategies for attracting retail not only to downtown areas but, also to places like "inner ring" suburbs areas that have empty big boxes or empty shopping centers.


  3. #3
    Cyburbian michiganplanner's avatar
    Mar 2005
    the verge of Stan-dom



    My 2 cents:

    * I think that you'd better serve your workshop attendees if you used a "total package" approach. Retail is very key to development and downtown, but as you are very aware-it is not the end all.
    * I know that Parking comes up a lot with those I speak to. Perhaps you could do a "Debunking the Myths of Downtown Parking" segment. I have experienced a few muni's that are like deer in headlights when it comes to parking or -Everybody has an opinion and nobody can ever seem to reach a consensus about the state of downtown parking. They usually agree on a parking study that never gets completed. Helping some folks answer those questions could really be beneficial.
    * Well if you were to debunk downtown parking the answer to focus on downtown is obvious. But I think an approach that is not based on downtowns, that could be applied to any part of a city anywhere would be very worthwhile. That would ensure that everybody could take something away from the workshop.

    The logistics:

    * I'd imagine that you'd have more success if you marketed it in regions. Being from Michigan, I would not be that inclined to go to Colorado for something like this. But if there were one in the Midwest...it'd be a different story.
    * Conference Center, hotel...but if you had a local case study then a meeting in that locality would be very appropriate.
    * 0 to 50,000 maybe even up to 75,000 would be good. Even though "on the whole" I am an E.D. in a rural type area, I try to think how some of the initiatives that worked in larger areas could be adapted and applied to me.
    * A couple hundred bucks is not out of the question
    * Some advertising with regional and state economic development organizations could be useful. Michigan Economic Developers Association (MEDA) is an example of one. Then there are the many in state regional associations that you could tap.

    I'll keep thinking...
    I'd be more apathetic if I weren't so lethargic.

  4. #4

    May 1997
    Williston, VT
    Having a lot of experience in trying to market training as a way to make a living I can offer at least this: $100 is not enough. $150 is marginal - I doubt it pencils out for you.

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