KEEP IT LOCAL: Greenfield Main Street becomes strategic for downtown growth – The Daily Reporter

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Charlie Vetters, owner of Organic Robot, a specialty store that offers custom printed t-shirts. The store is one of many local businesses on Main Street in Greenfield. Monday February 8, 2022.

TOM RUSSO | DAILY REPORTER

GREENFIELD – Shopkeepers in downtown Greenfield gathered on Tuesday evening to discuss the state of Main Street.

The meeting was hosted by Greenfield Main Street, the organization responsible for supporting and promoting the downtown historic district. The nonprofit group holds quarterly meetings of traders to exchange ideas and foster a sense of community.

Executive Director Debra Smith said it was once again an exciting time to be a downtown business owner after a difficult few years brought on by the pandemic.

“The trend of supporting small businesses has really increased during the pandemic and shows no signs of stopping,” said Smith, who helped welcome four new businesses to downtown Greenfield last year.

Latest additions include The Depot restaurant and bar, Indie & Iris lounge, Three Unique shop and a shop called 1Love.

Smith said the purpose of organizations like Greenfield Main Street is to support these businesses in downtown shopping districts and champion the movement of local stores year-round.

“Every report we read and receive from the National Main Street organization and the Small Business Administration shows that now is a great time to start a business, especially downtown,” she said.

Things are also looking up for Greenfield Main Street, which recently received a Level Up grant from the Hancock County Community Foundation to develop a strategic plan.

“We’re all excited to plan for the future,” said the organization’s vice president, Sara Joyner, who is also a downtown business owner. His home building company, Joyner Homes, is headquartered there.

“Our organization (Main Street) is working with merchants, real estate and business owners, landlords and the city to really bring people together to make downtown a real asset to Hancock County,” she said. declared.

Smith said the future looks bright for the nonprofit, which recently welcomed three new board members: Dan Jack, business operations specialist for Greenfield-Central Schools; Downtown resident Lauren Lavy; and downtown shopkeeper Charlie Vetters.

Vetters started his screen printing studio – Organic Robot Designs – from his home in Greenfield, but later moved to a storefront at 113 W. Main St. He’s been striving to grow the business ever since, despite shipping delays and skyrocketing costs caused by complications resulting from the pandemic.

“Every business has been dealing with supply chain issues and rising costs on a daily basis,” said Vetters, who has suffered three price increases for her garments in the past 18 months.

“My ink costs have gone up 35% and every time you turn around you’re dealing with something else. Business is picking up, but the supply chain is lacking, so you really have to be creative in finding solutions to do your job the best you can,” he said.

Vetters said he was thrilled to join an organization like Greenfield Main Street, which exists to support the historic shopping district and shopkeepers like him.

“I’m excited about the momentum I see with downtown, and I want to be part of it,” he said.

As well as supporting merchants, Smith said Greenfield Main Street is hosting a number of fun events to entice people to spend time and money downtown.

“We will be kicking off the 2022 calendar of events with a new addition, a murder mystery dinner on April 1,” she said, adding that tickets will hopefully go on sale by the end of February.

Bikes in Bloom returns on Mother’s Day weekend when more than 20 bikes are decorated and displayed by local businesses and nonprofits.

Shortly after the appearance of bicycles, Greenfield Main Street will host its annual Mutts on Main event when guests are encouraged to bring their four-legged friends downtown.

The nonprofit will also be hosting Food Truck Fridays throughout the summer, on the second Friday of the month from May through October.

Greenfield Main Street will take part in the National Road Yard Sale on June 4-5 and host the popular Touch a Truck event on June 11, when toddlers get the chance to get up close to fire engines, ambulances and other big trucks.

The non-profit organization will co-host the Turkey Day 5K on Thanksgiving Day, followed by promoting lots of small business shopping on Saturday, Nov. 26, rounding out the year with various hometown Christmas events throughout. throughout December.

Smith is particularly excited about the new murder mystery dinner this year, in addition to welcoming the three new board members.

“I think they are fantastic additions to the board as they each come from different backgrounds and bring a variety of skills and perspectives,” she said.

Jack can help the board connect with families in the Greenfield school system, she said, while Lavy can bring a new perspective that a non-native now living in downtown Greenfield can offer.

Vetters “is a bundle of energy and has big ideas,” said Smith, who noted that a trader’s perspective is a big help for the board.

While store owners have been going through tough times due to COVID, Smith is happy to report things are turning around.

“Businesses will continue to be successful if they offer a top-notch customer service experience, online shopping options, and unique items you can’t get at your big box stores,” she said, but local support is crucial.

“We have to support all the businesses we have downtown if we’re going to continue to have them,” Smith said.

“Hopefully we continue to bring new businesses downtown, (which) only helps the businesses that are already there. The more stores and businesses we have, the more people have the opportunity to spending more time in the area, which means more money spent, which helps everyone,” she said.

Jack, one of the new council members, agrees.

“At the end of the day, we’d like to see a successful business in every downtown storefront,” he said.

Greenfield Main Street recently welcomed three new members to the Board of Directors:

Dan Jack, Business Operations Specialist for Greenfield-Central Schools

Downtown resident Lauren Lavy

Downtown Merchant Charlie Vetters (Organic Robot Designs)

The association also announced its leaders for 2022:

President: Mary Gibble

Vice President: Sara Joyner

Secretary: Jenn Wells

Treasurer: Kim Pauszek

Other board members include:

Jeff Clark

Joanie Fitzwater

Dan Riley

Jeff Somer

Melissa Tennant

Lewis Woton

The nonprofit will kick off the 2022 calendar with a new addition, a murder mystery dinner on April 1. Tickets will go on sale hopefully by the end of February.

Other highlights from this year include:

Blooming Bikes: From Mother’s Day Weekend to Father’s Day

Mutts on Main: May 21

Food Truck Fridays: 2nd Friday of the month (May – October)

Garage sale of the national road: June 4 and 5

Touch a Truck: June 11

Turkey Day 5K (with Greenfield Parks Department and Hope House): November 24

Small Business Saturday: November 26

Christmas with us: variable dates in December

To find out more, follow Greenfield Main Street on Facebook or sign up for the monthly newsletter at greenfieldmainstreet.org.

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