Previously vacant storefronts in Norway will be teeming with life this summer season thanks to an innovative program and forward-thinking landlords in Historic Downtown Norway. Norway Downtown, a network member of the Maine Development Foundations Maine Street Program, is coordinating a kind of match-making service beginning this May. The draw: landlords of vacant spaces are being asked to agree to offer their spaces rent-free for July and August for only the cost of utilities.
“This could really be the win-win opportunity we have been looking for in downtown Norway for awhile,” says Glen Holmes, director of the Western Maine Economic Development Council. The businesses have the opportunity to take advantage of some of the highest traffic counts of the year, the landlords cover their costs and generate activity and interest in their spaces, and neighboring shops benefit from increased foot-traffic and buzz.
A committee composed of the Norway Downtown Board, Norway Downtown Economic Restructuring Committee, the Western Maine Economic Development Council (WMEDC), a SCORE counselor, and landlords will accept applications from those vying for the spaces.
“We really don’t know what to expect,” said Holmes, in a press release. “The businesses will really have a great advantage if they participate in this program.” Businesses need to decide to submit a plan to become involved now. This will take some very special entrepreneurs and we are looking forward to working with them.
Applications are due by 5 p.m. on June 3. All applications must be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org and applications are available at www.wmedc.org and www.norwaydowntown.org. If you would like a printed copy you may call to request one be mailed at 207-739-6545. The committee will review the applications and inform the successful applicants on June 7. All applicants will need to be opened for business by June 28, and must remain in operation until Sept. 2 (Labor day). Successful applicants will need to be open at least four days per week and average at least seven hours of operation per day.
Spread the word to all of your favorite shops near and far that you would like to see come to downtown Norway. We need your help to make this a success; the economy has been tough and we have all learned new ways to shop but if we really want a thriving downtown it is up to us to make it happen. Shopping local pays huge dividends; if we keep our money local we all make more.