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Vibrant Commercial Districts

  • Get street smart: thriving districts by design

    In conjunction with Metro, the City hosted the Get Street Smart: Thriving Districts by Design meeting series, which discussed ways to improve storefronts, store designs and sales. These topics and resources were developed specifically to help Gresham business districts thrive. 

  • Improve your storefront

    Low-cost, high-impact storefronts

    The storefront, arguably the most important segment of a commercial building, is often the portion that pedestrians and drivers notice the most.

    Create sidewalk appeal

    Boost visibility with sidewalk appeal

    What defines a Main Street? What is the importance of a storefront? Brian Emerick of Emerick Architects discusses how to use elements of sidewalk appeal to draw people through your front door, increase your visibility and encourage customers to linger.

    Increase location visibility

    Trade secrets of distinctive signs and lighting

    More than just a finishing touch, signage and lighting are essential details that will get your business noticed. From do-it-yourself strategies to more sophisticated elements, architect Brian Emerick discusses options and approaches that will set your business apart and help it shine.

    Presentation video by Brian Emerick

    Boost your sales through merchandising

    Design your way to improved sales

    Every business can make a great impression. Careful attention to color, layout, merchandising and branding will draw customers in and invite them to stay. Seanette Corkill of Frontdoor Back and Brian Gage of Pipe and Tabor tell success stories and provide tips on how your brand and your store design can work together to increase store sales.

    Presentation video by Brian Gage and Seanette Corkill

    Create appealing window displays

    Window reflections (is your best side showing?)

    Your front window is your calling card 24/7. Whether your business is open or closed, your window can and should be your most effective advertising. Brian Emerick of Emerick Architecture and Seanette Corkill of Frontdoor Back describe how to stage a compelling window display. They offer tips for keeping your look fresh and strategies for making street-side restaurants and service businesses more enticing.

    Presentation video by Brian Emerick and Seanette Corkill

    Build a customer base with promotions

    Can-do customer promotions

    You can strategically use promotional events to connect with your customers and community to begin building a loyal customer base. Bridget Bayer of Business Association Management provides examples and concepts for district-wide and single-store events that can expand your customer base.

    Build a vibrant downtown

    Program description

    Michele Reeves, an urban strategist with Civilis Consultants, conducted a Downtown revitalization program with Downtown stakeholders in 2011. The Metro-sponsored program, called Real Tools to Build a Vibrant Downtown, resulted in this final report.

    1. Fundamentals of Thriving Downtowns
      In this Fundamentals of Thriving Downtowns video excerpt, Michele discussed the stages of downtown development, building blocks for improving commercial districts and "must have" tenants that build place and generate excitement.
    2. Analysis and Recommendations
      The analysis and recommendations presentation included looking at Downtown's existing conditions and recommending steps business and property owners can take to improve the retail environment.
    3. Mississippi Avenue Field Trip
      On a tour of this Portland mixed-use district (video excerpt), Gresham business and property owners saw first-hand how to improve a retail environment and enliven spaces for future tenants. This included talks with business and property owners who helped revitalize Mississippi Avenue.
    4. Marketing and PR Workshop
      Michele walked stakeholders through a process designed to begin building a story for Downtown that can be used to market and build excitement for Downtown.