How do you attract new businesses to your Main Street? If you are a property owner, a local merchant or a member of a community with high vacancy rates, you likely ask this question all the time.

On Thursday, July 22, Heather Arnold from StreetSense, a multidisciplinary design and strategy firm specializing in retail, restaurant, hospitality and real estate solutions, presented at our annual Maryland preservation and revitalization conference, about the roadblocks retailers see with historic spaces and what you can do to make these spaces more enticing. Heather uses retail market analysis, incentive planning and merchandising mix strategies in downtown environments to attract the businesses a community needs and wants.


One of the big takeaways from Heather’s talk was that owners need to be realistic in their expectations, and at the same time, they can do things to make a space stand out to a retailer. The benefit to setting up shop in new construction is the fact that everything you need is already in place – electric, internet, etc.  If property owners take a few extra steps in preparing a historic space for a retail tenant, they will likely be surprised at how fast the space is snapped up.

People like shopping in businesses in historic structures because the building adds character.  It makes it a warm and inviting place.  Take a few minutes today to watch Heather’s presentation and discover what you can do to turn your vacant buildings into a vibrant community.