Building front at 111 4th Street North.

The Changing Facades of Downtown

Downtown Economics Newsletter — APRIL, 2020.  The Changing Facades of Downtown: A La Crosse, Wisconsin Success Story.  By Andrea Schnick, Economic Development Planner, City of La Crosse.


Walkability Means Better Business

Downtown Economics Newsletter — JULY, 2019. Walkability Means Better Business Written by Katherine A. Westaby, AICP, Planner/Community Development Specialist, City of Platteville, Wisconsin. Contributors: Todd Johnson and Jennifer Stephany. Reviewers Pam Parish and Mary McPhetridge.

empty mall


Downtown Economics Newsletter – MARCH, 2016. Storemageddon: The end of retail as we know it.
An ever-larger number of communities are investing their economic development resources into attraction programs targeting retail and related businesses.


Businesses That Open or Expand After a Supercenter

Downtown Economics Newsletter – JUNE, 2015.  The University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality recently studied the retail market of 13 Greater Minnesota cities where a Walmart Supercenter opened between 2000 and 2008. Their research explores which types of retail and consumer services businesses have coexisted with the retail giant, as identified by openings […]


Retail and Service Business Mix in Wisconsin’s Downtowns

What can we do to increase business activity in our downtown? Are there certain types of retail and service businesses that still make economic sense in our downtown given the proliferation of largeformat stores in other locations? What types of downtown businesses are in similar-size communities? What do we have that they don’t? One way to begin to answer these questions is to analyze the business mix in other communities with similar population. This article summarizes a University of Wisconsin–Extension (UWEX) staff paper titled Retail and Service Business Mix Analysis of Wisconsin’s Downtowns which analyzes the number and types of downtown establishments in over 300 of the state’s cities and villages. It provides a snapshot of business activity to stimulate ideas about business expansion and recruitment.


Creating a Local Food and Culinary Tourism Niche in Your Downtown

Over the last decade, communities have experienced tremendous changes in the way food is produced, distributed and eaten. In light of these changes, many communities are re-connecting with their agricultural roots and culinary traditions as a way to revitalize downtowns, promote economic development, and build a stronger more resilient local food system. Increasing consumer and tourist interest in local, sustainably raised as well as “authentic,” place-based food and cultural experiences may represent a significant new market niche for downtowns. This issue provides an overview of best practices for communities to address food systems issues and capture dollars created by new trends in local foods and “culinary tourism.”


Importance of Buying Local

A growing body of evidence suggests that the businesses most beneficial to a community are those that are independent and locally owned. This article provides an introduction to the potential economic, social, and environmental benefits provided by local business.


Retail and Service Business Mix in Wisconsin’s Downtowns – Full Report

Written by Bill Ryan, Beverly Stencel, and Jangik Jin, this paper analyzes the number and types of downtown retail and service establishments in Wisconsin’s cities and villages. It provides a snapshot of street-level business activity to stimulate ideas about business expansion and recruitment. The analysis of retail and service mix serves as one source of the baseline data required for a comprehensive community business analysis. It is one tool in a spectrum of techniques available for the analysis of local demand and supply.


“Buy Local” Campaigns and Economic Research

Incorporating good economic data and research into your “Buy Local” campaign can have multiple benefits. This article outlines how economic data can strengthen the development, implementation, and evaluation of a buy local campaign. It will focus on economic data related to demographics, “what-if” economic impact scenarios, and evaluation data. The first step in determining what data you’ll need is to be specific about what questions you need answered. These questions might include: what is the income range of the people who are already shopping at our local businesses? How much do they typically spend at these business locations?