Preservation Virginia Releases Economic Impact Study of Virginia Main Street Program

Preservation Virginia LogoOn Wednesday, Preservation Virginia released a study measuring the economic impact of 30 years of the
Virginia Main Street program. The report documents the Virginia Main Street program throughout the last 30 years. The report has documented the direct economic effects across Virginia Main Streets since 1985, when the program was adopted in Virginia to revitalize its historic downtowns.

“Preservation Virginia’s study highlights the impressive work the Virginia Main Street program is doing to help our communities across the commonwealth stay healthy, create jobs, grow entrepreneurs and attract visitors,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “These communities are one of the many vital assets that will help Virginia prosper in the 21st century.”

Some notable statistics from the impact study range from the number of businesses and jobs created to the amount of private investment and volunteer time. In the last 30 years, 11,908 net new jobs have been created by Virginia Main Street businesses. More than 3,365 net new businesses have been created in our Main Street districts, and these entrepreneurs are a key component to Virginia’s economic strategy. Virginia’s Main Street districts have been able to weather business cycle downturns better than the overall economy. More than $1.2 billion has been invested in Main Street districts, with 71 percent being from the private sector. Almost $2 billion in total economic impact has been generated from the Virginia Main Street districts.

“Beyond the notable numbers, the Virginia Main Street program has helped these communities embrace the cultural history, a sense of community and a wonderful quality of life that attracts visitors, residents and businesses alike,” said Bill Shelton, director of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

Preservation Virginia commissioned the report with funding assistance from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. The report details the economic impacts of the Virginia Main Street Program, an approach to downtown revitalization that purses economic development within the context of historic preservation. The study and research includes case studies on three of the 25 Virginia Main Street communities: Culpeper, Harrisonburg and South Boston.

“In 2014, Preservation Virginia commemorated its 125th anniversary. We used this anniversary as a way to celebrate and highlight the many historic preservation efforts and accomplishments in communities across the commonwealth. We commissioned a three-part economic study by the Center Urban and Regional Analysis at Virginia Commonwealth University to measure the impact historic preservation is having in communities across Virginia.” said Elizabeth Kostelny, chief executive officer of Preservation Virginia. “The second phase of the project demonstrates the value of the Virginia Main Street program regionally and on Virginia’s overall economy.”

To view the entire report, visit

Downtown South Boston Logo Image

Destination Downtown South Boston

Check the local news stands: Virginia Main Street in Southern Living

In the September 2015 issue of Southern Living, you will find a spread highlighting travel destinations across the commonwealth, including a special nod to our beloved Virginia Main Street communities.  Thank you to our partners at Virginia Tourism Corporation.  Web links direct readers to a list of the designated communities and points travelers to the heart of each community, its downtown district.  Turn up that smile and cool down the taps, the neighbors are coming!

Virginia is for Main Street Lovers!

Celebrate Downtown with Virginia Main Streets - September 2015 Issue of Southern Living

September 2015 Issue of Southern Living



Register Now for the VMS Toolkit – September 15-16 in South Boston


Building a Resilient Nonprofit Together

September 15-16

South Boston, Virginia

Behind every exciting Main Street District beats the collective heart of volunteers, entrepreneurs and property owners working together to create an environment of invitation. Every day, residents and visitors are discovering what makes your Main Street their favorite, be it the shops, the food or the hospitality.

What is going on behind the curtain of your Main Street organization? Do ideas and agendas harmonize like a well-rehearsed chorus?  Do the inner workings of your nonprofit more closely resemble Pandora’s Box than a fine-tuned organ? How do you address these issues together?

Join your Virginia Main Street network of dedicated volunteers and professional managers in South Boston for two days of how-to’s and best practices to build a resilient and effective nonprofit organization. Your volunteer board, committee members and local officials are all invited for fun, networking and great ideas to make positive change in your downtown and enjoy doing it.

More information >> Agenda


Virginia Main Street 2016 Designation How-to-Apply Workshops


Virginia Main Street 

2016 Designation 

How-to-Apply Workshops

DHCD will be accepting up to three new designated Virginia Main Street Communities into this successful Virginia Main Street program in 2016. The communities must meet the eligibility criteria to be considered.  In addition to becoming part of the internationally-renowned National Main Street Center, a designated Virginia Main Street Community receives an array of intensive assistance designed to advance its local revitalization efforts. Customized design assistance, access to state and national specialists, training on key downtown issues and ongoing marketing and promotions support are among the range of services provided to Virginia Main Street communities.

Three how-to-apply workshops will be conducted for communities interested in completing the Main Street designation application. Virginia Main Street staff will provide detailed review of the application process and assist with participant questions.  Attendance is highly recommended, though not required, for application for Virginia Main Street designation. Applications will be due Nov. 2, 2015.

Tuesday, July 14
3-5 p.m. 
Miller Center
301 Grove Avenue,Room 304
Lynchburg, VA

Monday, July 20
1-3 p.m. 
Wytheville Meeting Center
333 Community Boulevard
Wytheville, VA

Thursday, July 23
10 a.m.-noon 
Main Street Centre
600 East Main Street
12th Floor Conference Room South
Richmond, VA

The deadline for registering for a workshop is Friday, July 10. To register for one of these events, click here.

Register Now for the VMS Essentials – July 15 in Lynchburg


Virginia Main Street Essentials: An overview of the Main Street Four Point Approach (R)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Holiday Inn Lynchburg
601 Main Street, Lynchburg, VA

Join Main Street professionals and volunteers for a one-day, back-to-basics revitalization training on the Main Street Four Point Approach® presented by National Main Street Center staff and design professional expert.  We encourage your board and committee members and Main Street volunteers to attend and learn more about this program. To view the agenda and workshop information, click here.


The Main Street Four-Point Approach® is a unique preservation-based economic development tool that enables communities to revitalize historic commercial districts by leveraging local assets, from historic, cultural and architectural resources to local enterprises and community pride. It is a comprehensive strategy that addresses the variety of issues and problems that challenge traditional commercial districts.

The success of the Main Street approach is based on its comprehensive nature. By carefully integrating the Main Street approach’s four points (organization, promotion, design and economic restructuring) into a practical downtown development strategy, a local Main Street program can produce fundamental changes in a community’s economic base.

For more information, visit

Launch Gloucester announces winner of first Community Business Launch

A bakery and cafe, a business catering to pets and pet owners and a massage and wellness clinic will be the newest businesses to open or expand on Main Street following the Launch Gloucester awards ceremony on Tuesday, May 19.  Participants in the entrepreneur contest that launched earlier this year also got a surprise element when the Cook Foundation granted a $5,00 award to the sole business in the competition with an arts  component.  Three winners, and the fourth that won the Cook Foundation prize, were among 10 businesses whittled down from an original field that exceeded 40 when Launch Gloucester got under way last year.  The entrepreneurs vied for a combined value of $95,000 in good, services and start-up capital to launch a business on Main Street.

The Launch Gloucester program was one of three in the state that are part of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s Virginia Community Business Launch initiative, managed by DHCD.

Hopewell and Staunton will be announcing their winners in the next few weeks, so be on the lookout.

How-to-apply workshops are being conducted in the next two weeks for the 2016 Community Business Launch application.

CBL Gloucester

Winner Launch Gloucester – Sweet Tooth Parlor & Cafe

Building Collaborative Communities and Community Business Launch How-to-Apply Workshops announced

CBL-BCC1The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has announced funding is available for the Building Collaborative Communities (BCC) and Community Business Launch (CBL) programs for fiscal year 2015-2016.

DHCD grant programs offer flexible resources to do more across your community and region. Register below for one of the how-to-apply workshops to learn about the programs, the successful projects they have funded in the past, program changes for the coming year and how you can best position your effort.

Building Collaborative Communities

Building Collaborative Communities (BCC) provides resources and technical assistance to distressed regions to stimulate job creation and economic development while building community capacity and leadership. Grants must be multi-jurisdictional and can fund a range of projects and activities which will foster regional economic growth and increase collaboration and investment from a broad and diverse contingent of stakeholder groups.

Community Business Launch

The Community Business Launch (CBL) is designed to assist communities in taking a systems approach to building an asset-based small business development strategy. The program starts with a community’s unique vision for its future and then uses a local business competition to find and foster the entrepreneurs that connect with that vision. The CBL offers financial and content resources, guidance, and a learning network of communities pursuing similar strategies. By designing your own CBL, you can help your community develop a coordinated, comprehensive sustainable environment that identifies, launches and supports community-based entrepreneurs.


Wednesday, June 3
10 a.m.

Thursday, June 4
10:00 a.m.

Tuesday, June 9
1 p.m.

Wednesday, June 10
10 a.m.

Wednesday, June 17
10 a.m.

Please register at least three days before the workshop to receive the location address and additional details. If you are unable to attend a workshop, please contact for additional details.


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