A sense of place begins with brick and mortar, but consensus is the intangible magic that builds downtowns.
Along the banks of Maryland’s Patapsco River, Sykesville’s downtown burst with over-the-top American charm. From the restored train station-turned-restaurant to the locally made candles and ice cream, Sykesville’s Main Street wasn’t a drive-by; it was a destination. Over the last decade, Sykesville’s absurdly quaint storefronts attracted a stream of visitors and like-minded businesses. But the Downtown Sykesville Connection needed consensus—and cohesion—to become a certified Main Street America destination.
The Main Street America program is a mark of distinction for communities that preserve history and propel economic growth. Certification in the program opens doors to entrepreneurial support, publicity, and revitalization assistance. To capture that golden ring, the Downtown Sykesville Connection hired PPR Strategies to increase engagement and awareness of their brand.
Gurus of grassroots outreach, PPR Strategies engaged local businesses in a dialogue about what was working well—and what wasn’t—in the storybook setting. PPR Strategies ran two unfiltered focus groups and conducted site visits with proprietors. After the “fact-finding” phase, a SWOT analysis evaluated strengths, weaknesses, and the steps necessary for growth.
Empowered by the data, the Downtown Sykesville Connection plotted a path forward. Better communication and collaboration resulted in community buy-in, from residents and businesses alike. Today, Sykesville enjoys certification by Main Street America and eminence as one of Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns in America. A robust events roster, including Mimosas on Main Street, Sippin’ on Summer, and a weekend Farmers Market, delivers fun all year long.
Whether qualitative or quantitative, data drives results. PPR Strategies’s ability to strategize, engage, and elicit feedback helps communities get real—and refine their outreach.