You probably know that we don’t have any standard plans here at SaveYour.Town. We don’t have a pre-written template that we try to force onto every town, but we do have one recommendation that works for almost every town. And that is to divide big spaces up for small businesses to share.
It helps you address some of the most common challenges, like entrepreneurs unable to find usable buildings or buildings that would be hugely expensive to renovate. It’s also hard to bring people downtown when there just aren’t that many businesses and their surrounded by those vacant spaces in need of repair. Plus, in almost every town, we hear that existing businesses struggle to keep up with the pace of change today. They need some way to rejuvenate those stale businesses.
How can sharing space help with these challenges? Take a look at this real-world example from Akron, Iowa. Twin Flames & Wellness Centre is a massage therapy business that now includes other businesses like berry juices and supplements, probiotics, handbags, essential oils, skincare, local gifts, and non-GMO, organic, fair trade teas and coffees. That’s a lot of entrepreneurial little businesses that could never afford to renovate and open their own individual storefront, but together they add interest to your downtown. By putting them all together, they’re infusing life into the downtown ecosystem. Planting little innovative startups inside of existing businesses can freshen them up and create a healthy exchange of ideas.
There’s another reason that we as SaveYour.Town suggest this. It’s Idea Friendly. Everyone’s business idea is good enough to let them try a tiny test. Rather than judge in advance or discourage creative concepts, Idea Friendly towns encourage all ideas but at a tiny scale. More tries mean more successes and more economic opportunity for more people.
Not just retail, we share nine different models from shared kitchens to shared industrial shops. Imagine shared spaces not just downtown, but all over town.
I’ll be revealing the best advice I didn’t follow, and Deb will share failures to learn from as well as success stories. The smaller your town, the more you need to follow this one essential principle to succeed (we’ll tell you which one that is)
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