What is the difference between the Saline Chamber, the Saline Downtown Merchants Association and Main Street?
Answer: Each organization has a specific focus and each supports economic development in various ways. All can work together to strengthen the community and each other.
Saline Area Chamber of Commerce (contributed by Larry Osterling, Chamber Director):
The Saline Area Chamber of Commerce is a voluntary partnership of business and professional people working together to build a healthy economy and to improve the quality of life in our community. As the chamber works to accomplish these goals, it wears many hats: economic developer and planner, tourist information center, business spokesperson, economic counselor and teacher, government relations specialist, human resources advisor, and public relations practitioner. Simply stated, the Chamber of Commerce is a network of professional people working together to make our community a better place for everyone to live and work. The Chamber is continually adding to the benefits of belonging (it’s a two-page list and grows every day!) and in expanding its role in an ever-expanding market area currently including the City of Saline, Pittsfield Township, Lodi Township, York Township, Bridgewater Township, Saline Township, and the 48176 zip code area in south and west Ann Arbor. The chamber’s board is supportive of all efforts aimed at helping improve commerce in our market including downtown revitalization efforts and the Main Street Program.
Saline Downtown Merchants Association (SDMA) (contributed by Helen Martin, SDMA Board Member)
The Saline Downtown Merchants Association, founded in 2004 and incorporated as a non-profit organization in 2008, is composed of downtown merchants and property owners and used as a forum to discuss issues affecting all of them. They are dedicated to improving and sustaining the economic climate in downtown Saline through peer support, community events and collaboration with other organizations including the City of Saline and Saline Area Chamber of Commerce, working together to:
- Promote consumer awareness of businesses in the downtown area;
- Promote and cultivate a culture of shopping and dining in the downtown area;
- Promote and develop activities and events to stimulate interest in the downtown area;
- Grow and develop the overall business climate in downtown through implementation of these activities.
Main Street Organization (by Kelly Larson, Michigan Main Street, and Cindy Czubko)
A ‘Main Street’ organization involves representatives from the whole community including residents from the city and townships, businesses, organizations, churches, youth, government and more and focuses on Downtown revitalization, utilizing the Main Street Four-Point Approach ®, a tool which centers around the idea that downtown revitalization cannot happen by focusing on a singular goal, such as business recruitment or marketing. Instead, long-term and sustainable downtown revitalization can only happen when there is a holistic approach focusing on four areas which include: Design; Economic Restructuring; Promotion; and Organization.
DESIGN capitalizes on downtown’s historic assets and pedestrian oriented streets to create an inviting atmosphere for businesses and consumers. Building façade improvements, flowers and plantings, signage, street and sidewalk improvements, and maintenance are some of the activities Design team members focus on.
ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING focuses on strengthening and expanding existing businesses and recruiting new businesses to the Downtown district so that Downtown will be a vibrant, healthy place. This helps to create necessary jobs to the area.
PROMOTION enhances the image of Downtown and encourages consumers and investors to live, work, have fun, and invest in Downtown. Promotion activities also help to build awareness outside of the community.
ORGANIZATION builds a robust volunteer program and develops methods to secure the funding resources for the revitalization of Downtown.
These activities are focused in a designated Downtown district. The success of the activities all working together benefit the entire community by strengthening our economy, increasing the value of the places we live and creating a sense of place. Main Street ® encourages collaboration with the Chamber, the SDMA, the City, Saline Schools and many other organizations for the betterment of the community. We encourage anyone who cares about the improvement of Downtown Saline to become a volunteer and get involved!
We are applying to become a Michigan Main Street community which, if selected, will provide five years of training to help us build a strong, sustainable organization. We need your help and support! Go to our blog at www.downtownsaline.org and click on ‘Join Us’ to get involved!