May 1, 2014
Small towns face different challenges than big cities — smaller markets, fewer resources and smaller staffs, just to name a few. But, small towns have advantages as well. To highlight those advantages, the Oklahoma Main Street Center, a division of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, is hosting a one-day workshop, June 17th from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., at the Festivities Event Center, 220 North Bickford in El Reno, Okla.
The Small Town Main Street Workshop will bring together revitalization and economic development experts to share ideas and give proven examples that work in small towns.
“There is a need out there amongst our smaller communities for some attention, ideas and help,” said Linda Barnett, director of the Oklahoma Main Street Center. “While we can’t answer all the issues in one day, we hope this is either a starting point or a continual building block to further our smaller communities along the path.”
Becky McCray, from Hopeton, Okla., an international speaker on rural and small town topics such as business, tourism and social media marketing, will open the day addressing that small towns do indeed have a future.
“Will this come easy,” McCray asks? “No, but we have to decide right now how to take action for our own rural future. It doesn’t mean that every smaller town will survive and thrive. Societal trends are moving in our favor at the moment and we must do what we can to capitalize on that movement.”
Luncheon keynote address will feature Tripp Muldrow, of Arnett Muldrow and Associates from Greenville, South Carolina. He will showcase economic development lessons learned from small towns across America
“We first heard the Muldrow brothers at a conference in Arkansas,” said Barnett. “Since then, we have had Tripp’s brother, Ben, as a speaker at one of our trainings. They both understand the issues facing small towns and are experts at helping discover what makes each community unique. We are thrilled to have Tripp speak to the assembled group.”
In addition, members of the Oklahoma Main Street staff, and program managers from throughout the state, will address the Four Points of the Main Street program; organization, design, promotion and economic restructuring.
“Each of the Four-Point presenters will speak about 10 minutes each. After that, we will break into small groups to brainstorm ideas. We hope hearing from local program leaders and state staff will help spur additional ideas that each person can take back with them and possibly implement in their own areas. You don't want to miss any of this important workshop.” said Barnett.
Cost for the Small Town Main Street WORKshop is $40 per person and includes lunch. To register, contact El Reno Main Street at 405.262.8888 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make checks/purchase orders payable to El Reno Main Street. Registration deadline is June 6, 2014. For hotel information, please visit ElRenoTourism.org.This Small Town Main Street WORKshop is sponsored by El Reno Main Street, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and the Oklahoma Main Street Center. For general questions, you can also call 405.815.5379. For more information visit okcommerce.gov/mainstreet.