Osceola Chamber Main Street (OCMS) was recently awarded a grant from Main Street Iowa to help with retail technical assistance. The grant was offered to all Main Street Iowa communities to help with visual merchandising and window displays in the downtown Main Street District.
Competitive applications were accepted from all 49 Iowa Main Street communities and Osceola was one of 14 selected for the honor. The grant consisted of two parts: One was a community workshop that focused on the basics of window displays; and two was visits to four stores in the community that had signed up to take part in the consultant visit.
On Thursday, Aug. 8, the community workshop was held at the OCMS office and focused on the basics of window displays. Anna Buhmeyer, the grant consultant, discussed the different aspects of lighting, product placement, balance and much more in the hour-long workshop. A number of businesses were represented at the workshop and walked away with some great ideas.
Friday, Aug. 9, found several volunteers from the OCMS Retail Committee on hand to help with hands-on window display consulting and implementation. Shoes N Shirts and Robinson’s were the recipients of window display implementations and found the experience exciting and helped them realize the potential of their display space.
“The windows look great,” Dennis Foote said. “It’s a great idea and something I never would have thought to do on my own.”
OCMS Retail Committee Chair Amy Lundquist spoke of the great opportunity this represented for the community.
“When you are in business for a time, you can neglect easy things like window displays or take them for granted. It’s hard to find the time and the energy that can go into the implementation of the window displays,” she said.
Lundquist was one of six volunteers who helped implement the display windows at both locations.
Derek Lumsden, OCMS Executive Director, said the window displays were already causing people to talk and hopefully would inspire more changes in businesses.
“There is no better way to encourage people to shop in your business than to have a great way to draw them in,” he said. “This grant helped several business owners get ideas on how to do exactly that.”
While Shoes N Shirts and Robinson’s were the only implementations done during the day, Flowers N More and Serene Day Spa received personal consultations from the consultant, as well. OCMS hopes more businesses will see the effect and want to have help from the Retail Committee to possibly help revitalize their displays.
“We are here to help the community prosper and we want businesses to come to us with questions on how we can help,” Lundquist said.