Southfield (CW50) – Downtown Rochester is home to more than 350 shops, salons, restaurants, and professional services, with 85% of those businesses run by independent merchants. In a time when operating a small business is even more challenging than usual, the Rochester Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has implemented several ways to help small businesses remain open.

Community Connect Host Lisa Germani, with Kristi Trevarrow, Executive Director of Rochester Downtown Development Authority

Kristi Trevarrow, Executive Director of the Rochester DDA, joins Lisa Germani on Community Connect to discuss the plans that the DDA implemented in March, to help small businesses across Rochester.

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It all started with the creation of a Facebook page for the local businesses to promote their hours, menus, and products, all in one place for people interested in visiting Rochester. The page became the Love Local Rochester Campaign; a way to bring awareness to the downtown retailers and use promotions to bring customers into their shops.

“We tried to push things out there because we didn’t want to go silent. A lot of downtowns kind of hit the pause button, but we didn’t think that was a good choice, because we knew eventually, we would be able to get back open and we wanted to be able to hit the ground running … so we really worked hard to try to pump up a lot of our businesses,” Trevarrow explained.

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Another creation by the DDA was the Rochester Downtown Collaboration Studio. The idea behind the studio was to establish a place for downtown businesses and the community to “reinvent and reconnect.” Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the space turned into a much-needed home for 400 reopening toolkits for small businesses – which included gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, touch-free digital thermometers, and posters to promote the reopening of businesses.

The Rochester DDA continues to support its local small businesses through the pandemic. This support is just one part of the DDA’s continued innovation of downtown development, which is one of the many reasons why Rochester was named a Great American Main Street Community in 2013, for exceptional accomplishments in preservation-based, commercial district revitalization.

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