One of our top priorities at Main Street is to make our community a place of welcome. This is done in many ways, and it takes all of us.
One way to extend welcome is to help people find their way ... and we are about to get signs to help do that.
They are called "wayfinding" signs. In other words, they help you find your way around town to all the major attractions. We have so much here to offer visitors, and now they will more easily find their way!
Here's a personal story of how wayfinding signs help: Last month our family spent a few days in London. We arrived at Heathrow airport and followed the signs to the underground (the subway that transports people all over the city).
We were amazed at how quickly we learned our way around the city. Do you know how? Signs. The wayfinding signs in the underground are so easy to follow that we didn't even have to stop and study them, we just followed the arrows and effortlessly found our way.
Thanks to grants from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development and Harrison County Community Foundation, visitors will easily discover all that our town offers!
Watch for signs of welcome! They will be here before summer!
Let me tell you my Kiva story:
Last fall, my daughter told me about a friend of hers, Jimmy, who had a great idea to start a Vietnamese food truck. His story was on the Kiva site. I had such fun reading about his dream of starting a business.
People with ideas and the motivation to work hard to achieve them have always fascinated me!
So, it was not a hard decision for me to take out my credit card and make a small loan through the Kiva site.
I enjoyed watching Jimmy’s account grow over the next few weeks and was excited when I got the email that he achieved his goal of $5,000. Since then, I have received an email each month from Kiva to let me know that Jimmy is paying back his loan and Kiva is returning money to my lending account.
A few months later, I took some of the money Jimmy had paid back to me and loaned it to another entrepreneur: a woman in Louisville who is raising good bugs … ones that growers can put in their greenhouses to keep the bad bugs away. Again, I had fun watching her achieve her funding goal.
Then we brought Kiva to Corydon! Debi and Ron Fredericks quickly raised $5,000 through Kiva to remodel Fredericks Cafe .They had a great idea of moving the big bar from the front room to make additional seating for 15 happy customers. This will allow them to add to their staff and will increase revenue by $750/week.
As I write this blog, our talented young entrepreneurs, Taylor Johnson and Tyler Best, are raising $5,000 for their new technology business in downtown Corydon. They have received 46 micro-loans from people all over the world.
Why not join in the fun?
Encourage these entrepreneurs today: https://zip.kiva.org/loans/14730/i/1x3s
Shine on Corydon!
What does it mean to encourage an entrepreneur?
At Main Street Corydon, we are committed to encouraging entrepreneurs in downtown Corydon. We want the people who start a business here to know that the whole town is behind them. We want them to succeed! We want them to tell their friends, “Corydon is the best place to start a business.”
So, what does that look like?
There are many ways each of us can encourage those who start businesses in Corydon, from making a point to notice and compliment new landscaping or store displays, to buying goods, to recommending them to your friends and neighbors.
I do think it takes some intentionality. What I mean by that is, if you have thought that you wish Corydon were more vibrant, or had more to offer, then think about who is doing something right and support that effort.
That is where Kiva comes in.
Main Street Corydon has found another way for you to get involved in entrepreneurship: investing in local businesses with a small loan … even $5.00 makes you a part of an entrepreneur’s dream.
In the coming months, and years, you will see many businesses start or expand in our community with the help of Kiva.
Basically, Kiva is a bunch of people coming together to help businesses get started or expand. Instead of going to a bank for a loan, the Kiva entrepreneur submits an application to the Kiva team, who are experienced at reviewing plans of start-ups.
Kiva, along with the local trustee (Main Street Corydon), decide whether to place the potential entrepreneur on the Kiva site, where the whole community - and even the whole world - can make a short term (24 month) loan to them.
Your $5.00 loan can say to an entrepreneur, “I like your idea!” or
“I’m behind you!” or
“Welcome to Corydon!” or
“Keep up the great work … we are glad you are expanding here!”
Visit the Kiva Zip site for our newest Downtown Corydon business, Digital Now IT:
Shine on Corydon ... encourage an entrepreneur,
Catherine Turcotte, Executive Director, Main Street Corydon
Shae Kmicikewycz, Director of Indiana Main Street, Office of Rural and Community Affairs, said something interesting: main street communities are important because they give us a sense of place.
She said that our downtowns are where memories are made.
And, that these memories root us to a place.
It is the memories that often bring us back, and sometimes help us to decide to move there.
For example, in 1990, I was working in Louisville for an advertising agency, along with Sheila Wheat, who invited me to a party in Crandall.
She gave me directions from Louisville and this is what she said, “Before you come out to Crandall, take a few minutes and drive through downtown Corydon. It is charming. I think you will love it.”
She was right. I fell in love. After the party, I went home and told Arthur, you have to see this town! So, the next morning, after church, we drove out and had lunch at Granny’s Restaurant (later the Y fitness center). We loved the people there and the food was great.
After lunch, we saw a beautiful home on North Capitol Avenue. On Monday we toured the home. On Tuesday we bought it.
Sheila knew that Arthur and I had traveled all around the country in an RV looking for the perfect place to live. We loved working in Louisville, and we liked the atmosphere of the Highlands and St. Matthews but it was out of our price range.
We found what we were looking for in Corydon.
Yesterday, Roger Corley shared that he was in Florida at a conference and someone came up to him and shared a downtown Corydon memory. This guy had bought his wife’s engagement ring at a jewelry store in downtown Corydon … Albins or Pfeiffers, I guess.
Now, do you think that if that guy bought something at the Walmart in Corydon he would be relating that memory?
I’m not here to slam the big box stores … but I do want to compare and contrast.
Virtually every interstate town looks the same. They provide something for those passing through --- we can pull in, get what we want, and move on, without distractions and without connecting. This is great when you want to get somewhere.
The day before Umuganda, I went in Ace Hardware to get our supplies. It was an experience. A man greeted me and asked what I wanted. Not knowing where everything is … and they have everything … I went down my list. He walked from shelf to shelf with me, and picked out what I needed, and then carried most of it to the register for me. Then, after ringing up the order, he carried it to my car!
It was convenient. And fast. But it was also connectional. Which was good for me and good for him.
So, I’d like to get us thinking about trying downtown. Where else can you get soup for $3 or a mini turkey salad sandwich for $1.89?
And, run into a friend you haven’t seen in ages?
So, while the interstate stores give us convenience and predictability without distractions …
Downtown gives us a place to explore, experience, make memories.
Corydon gives our visitors a sense of who we are … a sense of place.