Bricks & Clicks recovery program aims to help Harrisonburg business impacted by COVID-19

Harrisonburg Downtown RenaissanceHarrisonburg Downtown Renaissance has brought its popular Bricks & Clicks program back for 2020, this time with a focus on small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Bricks & Clicks offers training, customized technical assistance, and the opportunity to receive a grant for small businesses looking to make digital or bricks-and-mortar improvements designed to help customers feel safe and comfortable when patronizing businesses in-person, and more confident in their online purchases.

The first Bricks & Clicks program was launched in 2017, and has since received a state award and recognition. The Virginia Economic Developers Association recognized the program for its innovative partnership model in which multiple economic development practitioners worked together to offer individual small businesses customized support to help them achieve their business goals or overcome specific challenges.

Direct, one-on-one attention and a deep dive into operations with skilled experts offered businesses tailored recommendations and small grants that helped them put new ideas and knowledge into practice.

“We’re building on the success of the first Bricks and Clicks program, but with a focus on small business recovery post-pandemic. Among the 10 grantees that participated in the first program, 68 jobs were retained and 11 new jobs were created, and overall, participants reported that sales were up nearly 17% on average, year over year,” says HDR’s Executive Director, Andrea Dono.

This year’s Bricks & Clicks program will help 20 businesses using $45,000 in total funding provided by HDR’s 2019 Friendly City Fortune raffle fundraiser, a grant from the National Main Street Center, and a sponsorship from Glo Fiber.

Program partners include Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center (SVSBDC); City of Harrisonburg Economic Development; the Shenandoah Valley Technology Council; the James Madison University Professional & Continuing Education Department; and a team of marketing consultants, web design firms, and architects.

This year’s consulting team included: Digital Minerva, Immerge, Social Bug Digital Media, Mary McMahan Graphic Design, Monteverde Engineering and Design Studio, Blueline, the SVSBDC, WHSV, and KLCreative Media.

Participants this year will work on a range of projects including deploying augmented reality to allow customers to try products virtually, strengthening e-commerce stores, developing new marketing strategies, mastering new social media skills, reconfiguring layouts for safer customer flow during a pandemic, and adding more outdoor dining space. Participants include: Explore More Discovery Museum, The Friendly City Food Co-op, Lineage, Pale Fire Brewing Company, Charlee Rose Boutique, Midtowne Market, Rocktown Kitchen, Urgie’s Cheesesteaks, The Lady Jane Shop, Hugo Kohl Fine Jewelry, Dinamic Cuts, Ten Thousand Villages, The Mark-it, Design 49 Studios, Oasis Fine Art & Craft, Green Hummingbird, J. Ellis Photography, The Beauty Spa, withSimplicity, and Walkabout Outfitters.

         
 

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