Soft Economy Creates Hard Challenges for Some Communities

Posted on: December 12th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

In November, the National Trust Main Street Center took the pulse of communities to gauge the economic health of commercial districts throughout the nation. We asked how the downturn of the national economy is affecting Main Street and what, if anything, is being done to counter negative impacts.

First, the good news. In a survey of 261 individuals in Main Street communities, 21 percent have not seen any significant business closures, reduction in sales, or stoppage of major development projects; seven percent even reported a thriving business district. On the other end of the spectrum, however, 33 percent of the survey respondents reported lower sales than this time last year, 27 percent have seen new and current development projects stall, and 24 percent have seen one or more businesses close.

While many survey participants have felt insulated from the nose dive in the stock market, they aren’t confident that their good fortune will last. The National Trust Main Street Center is compiling tips and resources for retailers and economic development organizations -- check back on Wednesday to take a look at this valuable information.

And in the meantime, when you're doing your holiday shopping, think local. Click here to find the closest Main Street district to you, or visit www.shopmainstreet.org to find specific Main Street retailers, whether you're heading down the block or shopping from the comfort of your living room. (Yes, Main Streets are in cyberspace.)

-- Andrea Dono

Andrea Dono is Associate Editor for the National Trust Main Street Center.

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

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