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The North Carolina economy is as diverse as the regions and driven by technology, agriculture, education, tourism and the military. Small and medium-sized communities are identifying and growing their own niche markets within those broad drivers and their economies are taking off and soaring with vibrancy, diversity and innovation. Such things as arts and cultural development, local food systems, and entertainment and recreational destinations are defining downtown’s economic roles and position within the greater economy.

The Main Street Four-Point Approach® serves as the co-pilot and provides the directional navigation that hundreds of communities across the state are using to enhance the downtown experience. Streetscape improvement projects, wayfinding signage, upper-story housing development, branding campaigns, locally owned, independent business recruitment, farm-to-table restaurants and farmers’ markets, purposeful special events and high quality, adaptive reuse projects, are the after burners used to fuel the local economies.

The North Carolina Main Street Conference is the state’s largest downtown revitalization event, offering learning sessions, tours, time for downtown exploration and opportunities for networking with downtown professionals, elected officials, volunteers and consultants. Soaring with Main Street, the theme for this year’s conference, is an exploration of our North Carolina economic drivers and the innovative, creative downtown applications that are occurring across the state with the Main Street program. Attendees will learn the role that customer service plays in everything that we do, how to soar with innovation, fill large abandoned buildings, develop partnerships, market and promote downtown and so much more.

The 2016 NC Main Street Conference will be in Goldsboro, one of North Carolina’s oldest Main Street communities. Attendees will learn how Goldsboro is using art to drive their economy, how they got a $10 million grant to do a streetscape project, and how, through public/private partnerships, Goldsboro’s downtown is taking off with housing, sustainable businesses, property redevelopment, and entertainment destinations. Goldsboro is Soaring with Main Street!