Photo: Farmers market in downtown Everett. Photo by Jake Campbell, courtesy of Downtown Everett Association.

The Main Street movement was born out of the belief that local community members could stem the tide of economic trends threatening historic downtown neighborhoods. At the time, that threat was malls, which were drawing anchor businesses away from downtown districts. Over the last four decades, Main Street districts across the nation have withstood economic downturns, natural disasters, the rise of online shopping, and a pandemic. We believe that downtowns are so resilient because they are—at least when they are adequately cared for and have supportive resources—living ecosystems that are able to adapt to change thanks to their inherent diversity.

The Main Street Approach is a framework that is meant to empower a local community to take the reins, determine their own future, and build resiliency. Change will happen to your downtown district no matter what. Our hope is that your Main Street organization will be able to leverage baseline knowledge of economic development tools (that’s where this guide comes into play!) and strong community partnerships to plan for an economic future that builds community wealth and creates ample opportunities for all residents to thrive in the place they call home.

View and download the guide:

This Report was prepared by Luke Hallowell for the Washington State Main Street Program.

Many people contributed their expertise and energy to this report. We’d like to thank: Tamsin Bell, Mike Bomar, Stephanie Button, Todd Cutts, Suzanne Dale Estey, Michael Morales, Terri Sauer, Michael Walker, and Dave Zabell.