APA Credits Approved: Main Street Business Retention: Building Resiliency in a New Era


This course will provide attendees with a review of approaches to business retention of main street businesses in a new era, looking at the needs of different business types and building resiliency for the long- term including succession planning.  Emerging and best practices as well as innovative approaches in Wisconsin and nationwide will be presented.  Existing and new technical assistance opportunities will be discussed, including how resources are delivered and new resources that may be needed.  The course will include approaches to bringing people and traffic back to Main street in the short and long term.


Our Instructors:

Matthew Wagner, Ph.D., Vice President of Revitalization Programs, National Main Street Center, Inc. Matt has more than 20 years of non-profit management experience in downtown development, entrepreneurship and tech-based economic development. At the NMSC, Matt is leading the launch of the renewed and re-imagined Four Point Approach, as well as helping the Center reach new communities with this refreshed framework. Overseeing the Field Services team, Matt also leads the Center’s efforts to expand technical service offerings, and offer preservation-based economic revitalization services directly to communities.

Before joining the Center in September 2015, Matt served as President of SC Johnson’s Redevelopment Corporation in Racine, Wis. Previous to SCJ, Matt led the Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation at Gateway Technical College and University of Wisconsin-Parkside, where he also served as UW-Parkside’s Director for the Small Business Development Center and Director of the Solutions for Economic Growth Center. Prior to this, Matt served as Executive Director of the Downtown Racine Corporation. Notably, Matt worked as “Road Warrior” for the National Main Street Center between 1995 and 1998. From 1991 to 1995, he led the Sheboygan Falls Main Street as Director, during which time Sheboygan Falls was chosen as an inaugural Great American Main Street Award winner. Matt received his Ph.D. in Urban Affairs with a specialization in Urban Economic Development from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

The National Main Street Center is a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Trust is a private, nonprofit corporation based in Washington, DC and sanctioned by the United States Congress to be the national voice of the historic preservation movement. The National Trust for Historic Preservation developed the Main Street Approach® to downtown revitalization in 1977, used by over 2,000 communities nationwide and the National Main Street Center was a pioneer in developing market analysis methodologies relevant to the unique circumstances of traditional downtowns and commercial districts.


Errin Welty, CEcD, EDFP, Downtown Development Program Manager, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation   Errin Welty, CEcD, EDFP is the Downtown Development Program Manager at Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, working with communities, businesses and property owners on a wide range of community development initiatives including market analysis, event impact assessment and community marketing as well as small business and real estate development.  

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is committed to creating and maintaining a business climate that allows you to maximize your potential. Working with more than 600 statewide partners, including regional economic development organizations, academic institutions and industry groups, we’re enhancing our communities, supporting business development, advancing industry innovation, tapping global markets and developing a talented workforce to help Wisconsin realize its full economic potential.

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