What is the Main Street Approach™

Working with the National Main Street Center and the Washington State Main Street Program, the Gig Harbor Downtown Waterfront Alliance (the Alliance) is committed to implementing the Main Street Approach™ in Gig Harbor’s waterfront district. The Main Street Approach™ is a community driven program used to encourage historic preservation and economic development in traditional small downtowns. It is a common-sense way to address the variety of issues and problems that face traditional business districts. It advocates a return to community self-reliance, local empowerment, and the rebuilding of traditional commercial districts based on their unique assets of:

Local Ownership – Personal Service – A Sense of Community
Distinctive Architecture – A Pedestrian-Friendly Environment

What are the Four Points of the Main Street Approach™?

The National Main Street Center offers a comprehensive commercial district revitalization strategy that has been widely successful in towns and cities nationwide. Described below are the Four Points of the Main Street Approach™, which work together to build a sustainable and complete community revitalization effort.

Organization involves getting everyone working toward the same goal and assembling the appropriate human and financial resources to implement a Main Street revitalization program.

Promotion sells a positive image of the commercial district and encourages consumers and investors to live, work, shop, play and invest in the Main Street district. By marketing a district’s unique characteristics to residents, investors, business owners, and visitors, an effective promotional strategy forges a positive image through advertising, retail promotional activity, special events, and marketing campaigns carried out by local volunteers.

Design means getting Main Street into top physical shape. Capitalizing on its best assets — such as historic buildings and pedestrian-oriented streets — is just part of the story. An inviting atmosphere, created through attractive window displays, parking areas, building improvements, street furniture, signs, sidewalks, street lights, and landscaping, conveys a positive visual message about the commercial district and what it has to offer.

Economic Development strengthens a community’s existing economic assets while expanding and diversifying its economic base. The Main Street program helps sharpen the competitiveness of existing business owners and recruits compatible new businesses and new economic uses to build a commercial district that responds to today’s consumers’ needs.


Design Committee (Gary Glein, Chair)

Goal:   Encourage improving the physical image of downtown as a place attractive to shoppers, business owners and visitors

  • Educate others about good design
  • Maintain and evaluate an inventory of  buildings, parking and public improvements
  • Encourage quality improvements to private properties and public spaces
  • Provide Design Assistance – design tool kit, resource library, proposal review
  • Help in planning and shaping regulations for downtown growth
  • Encourage historic surveys and preservation
  • Motivate others with incentives and by targeting key projects

Design Committee Focus:

  • UW Storefront Studio Project – summer, physical improvement ideas
  • Walking Map and Shopping Guide – Update
  • Cushman Connection Trail (assist Economic Development Committee) – easement, project planning
  • Flower Baskets – continue with sponsorship and volunteer expansion
  • Vision for future downtown – improvements, design, preservation, overall mix & focus
  • Community Involvement –participation of property owners, merchants, city, citizens
  • Downtown Pride & Maintenance –cleanup, maintenance, small citizen & student projects

Economic Development Committee (John Ross, Chair)

Goal:   Strengthen and diversify the economic vitality of the waterfront district

  • Downtown Assessment – Database collection (building & business inventory), vision and position statement on downtown, market analysis
  • Business retention – Business directory, educational seminars, business call program, etc.
  • Business Expansion – Market feasibility, business projections
  • Business Recruitment – recruitment packet, recruitment teams and partners, incentive package, new and prospective business assistance

Economic Development Committee Focus:

  • Business Database – Maestro updated and continuously maintained
  • Parking –  review effectiveness of changes, review additional potential
  • Business Assistance – In house business assistance library, new business welcome package, merchant requested seminars, property owner relationships, vacancy surveys and publicity for available spaces
  • Waterfront Farmers Market – advisory board

Organization Committee (John Lantz/Mary Gorman, Co-Chairs)

Goal:   Attract people and money to assure financial needs are met and the board, staff, and volunteer staffing is effective.

  • Raise money for projects and administration
  • Manage staff & volunteer recruitment, supervision, and incentives
  • Promote the Main Street program (Public Relations) – downtown & public
  • Manage Finances

Organization Committee Focus:

  • Annual Meeting & Report to Community – February 2018
  • Community Branding Program – Name, Logo, Literature Updates
  • Membership Drive – first quarter – 100 member goal for year
  • Advertising & Public relations strategy for the year
  • Community Contact – Roundtable meetings, organization presentations
  • B & O Tax Credit funding
  • Volunteers –review uses and involvement strategy
  • Budget & Finance –Monitor performance and adequacy of statements
  • Planning for Officer and Board Transition

Promotions Committee (Josh Sherwin, Chair)

Goal:   Promote downtown as the center of commerce, culture, and community for residents and visitors alike.

  • Assessment & Planning – Position Statement, Identify targeted segments, evaluate current promotion program, comprehensive annual calendar and budget
  • Image Development –  Promote positive impression of downtown – slogans, banners, directory, joint advertising.
  • Special Events -Reinforce image, generate pedestrian traffic – heritage, holiday, farmers markets, cultural displays.
  • Retail – discount sales, seasonal sales, promotions, advertising, cooperative promotions
  • Tourism –  Walking tour, coach tours, heritage tourism, special events
  • Measuring Promotion Success – Formal evaluation (sales increase), traffic counts, survey of business

Promotions Committee Focus:

  • Market potential review – Arnett Muldrow Market Analysis (using database & trade area information)
  • Recreational Boating Infrastructure – Maritime Pier and other resources to increase boating visits; Dreamspeaker Boaters Guide
  • Promotional Events – Identify clear goals, chairperson, documented plan,  high merchant involvement, measure results, post review for event improvement:
    • Waterfront Walking Tours
    • Chalk the Harbor
    • Wine & Food Festival
    • Sip & Stroll
    • Restaurant Week
    • Trick or Treat in the Harbor
    • Girls Night Out
    • It’s a Wonderful Waterfront – Christmas events
  • Joint Advertising – restaurants, bookstores, clothing stores, galleries, pet stores, downtown shopping experience, etc.
  • Other Downtown Events – Partner and leverage merchant involvement and customer/visitor promotion