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Dixon Main Street to recruit businesses with postcards

Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 9:02 a.m. CDT

DIXON – Dixon Main Street is starting a new marketing program to recruit businesses to downtown.

Main Street volunteers and board members will be given postcards with information about the city. When they visit businesses outside the area that they feel could fit well into the downtown, they can leave the postcard and write a quick message, Main Street Executive Director Josh Albrecht said.

“In this day and age, you can’t sit back and wait for people to come to us,” he said. “You have to go and get them.”

Albrecht will then follow up with the business, he said, to recruit them.

Main Street wants to attract some niche businesses to the area, like a men’s clothing store or a confectionery, Albrecht said.

One side of the postcard has a picture of the riverfront and says, “We have the perfect spot for your business to prosper in Dixon!”

The other side of the postcard has information about the city, including downtown being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the city’s proximity to Interstate 88 and other highways, the Rock River, and the city’s downtown atmosphere.

The city will also take a more proactive approach to recruit new businesses to its two tax increment financing (TIF) districts.

City Administrator David Nord said brochures about the TIF districts will be mailed to businesses in Peoria, Rockford and the Quad Cities in about 2 weeks.

“Just to let folks know, first off, that we have a TIF – two TIFs, actually – and that we’re looking for projects,” Nord said.

The city will also put together information specifically for retail businesses looking to expand, Nord said, and might even have a booth at an upcoming retail business convention in Chicago.

Nord also said he thought Main Street’s postcard program could be great for Dixon, adding that the city wasn’t trying to steal businesses from other cities, but instead wants to be a place to which people expand their businesses.

Residents will also be able to pick up postcards at the Main Street office, 115 S. Hennepin Ave., and can serve as “ambassadors” for the city, Albrecht said, by dropping them off at businesses they think could be good fits for the city.

The postcard program, Albrecht said, could even make some Sauk Valley businesses think about expanding to Dixon.

The success of the program can be tracked, and if nothing else, the postcards will have been distributed throughout the state and other areas, Albrecht said, which is a good way to get Dixon’s name out.

Store fronts are available downtown that could get filled through the postcard program, or possibly sooner, Albrecht said.

Main Street and the Dixon Area Chamber of Commerce will sign an agreement with Venture Advisors to bring an entrepreneurial competition to Dixon.

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