Main Street Arkansas COVID-19

Arkansas Historic Preservation Program - Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Main Street Arkansas is dedicated to sharing information to help businesses affected by the current national health crisis. We have a blog dedicated to this information and encourage you to take a look, but we're also always looking for ways to share the stories of hope and resilience from our local Main Street communities. If your community is doing something to raise spirits during this time, share it with us

Teddy Bear Hunts. 
Main Street programs across Arkansas, like Paragould and Russellville, are hosting a bear hunt inspired by the children’s book “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. Storefronts downtown are placing stuffed teddy bears in their windows, building creative displays and dressing them up. Downtown turned into an I-spy playground as kids and parents had a chance to explore outside, see familiar faces, and see what services are available all at a safe distance. Check out Paragould and Russellville’s Facebook pages to see more.

Sharing Online Platforms & Downtown Hotspots. In the rapid move to online shopping, many merchants struggle to make the jump into the virtual world with so many other parts of their operations shifting on a daily basis. Prairie Grove businesses have established a collective platform called the Shop Prairie Grove Arkansas Online. This Facebook group allows merchants to post individual products for sale. By sharing an online platform, businesses can make the leap to online at a less exhaustive pace, keeping themselves in the transitional and mutative market.

Additionally, Prairie Grove’s downtown internet service (PGTELCO) released the time limits on their service and now all hotspots are open limitlessly. This allows parents without internet access to drive their kids to downtown hotspots outside where they can do homework.

Food Giveaway & Facility Sharing. American Red Cross faces a significant blood shortage due to blood drive cancellations. As of last week, nearly 2,700 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the country. Main Street Osceola extended their hand as a community partner with the American Red Cross by offering their event hall to host their local blood drive. In tandem to the blood drive, meals prepared by local churches were given away for families in need.

Creative Downtown Restoration Grant (DTR) Funding. Russellville is an excellent example of collaborating with multiple community entities for a joint initiative that raises funds and increases sales for local businesses. With their DTR funds, they have designated $9,000 of their funds to purchase gift cards for retail and food from local businesses. The food is being delivered to first responders, such as police officers and firefighters, healthcare workers, ATU public safety staff, as well as Boys and Girls Club staff and teacher volunteers.

In support of this initiative, River Valley Now partnered with Main Street Russellville to sell shirts, mugs, tumblers, decals and more through the #CommUNITY Campaign. Within one week, the campaign has raised over $20,000. Products are sourced from local businesses and sold on the CommUNITY website. All the proceeds are spent at local businesses. This collaboration has inspired community corporations to give thousands of dollars to businesses, and the attention the campaign has produced has been a massive promoter to local businesses and community helpers.

Share Your Community Responses with Main Street America. Fill out the Main Street America survey form to share what ideas and approaches your community has implemented in response to the pandemic. Furthermore, visit the Main Street America website and their COVID-19 Resource page for updated information and tools, such as: federal and national resources, COVID-19 tools and info, funding programs, live and recorded webinars, tip sheets and more.


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