ASHLAND – Moores on Main in downtown Ashland has been named the winner in the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s (WEDC’s) annual Main Street Makeover Contest.
The clothing shop has been an anchor in downtown Ashland since 1946, when it started as a military surplus store. Now a second-generation retail shop operated by Wendy and Steve Moore, the store caters to a diverse customer base traveling from multiple states for shopping needs, ranging from work wear to back-to-school and everyday fashion. With today’s competitive shopping climate, the business hopes to use the makeover to offer an inviting shopping experience that entices customers to return regularly.
Moores on Main will receive personalized technical assistance and up to $10,000 to implement changes identified in the makeover process, which will include interior improvements to improve customer flow and the shopping experience, as well as exterior enhancements to increase visibility and pedestrian engagement. The goal of the makeover is to update the space and reflect the quality products and services offered by the shop.
A team made up of WEDC staff and professionals from Retailworks Inc., a Milwaukee-based interior commercial design firm, will work closely with the Moore family and stakeholders from Ashland Main Street over the next few months to develop the shop’s new look. The improvements will be made during a 48-hour makeover event later this spring.
“Moores on Main is a great example of a downtown retail destination and is truly deserving of this award,” said Mary McPhetridge, director of the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce. “As a family, they are fully committed to the success of our Main Street and our community. The whole family is involved in beautification and arts in the community, from planting flowers and hanging baskets to the Chequamegon Theater Association. They volunteer their time and support Ashland in so many ways. This award will mean so much to this family-owned business. They are a role model for the Main Street program.”
Megan McBride, director of planning and development for the City of Ashland, also expressed her support for the makeover: “This makeover for Main Street anchor Moores on Main will bring invaluable technical expertise, resources and attention to this longstanding family-owned business and kick off an exciting year of downtown revitalization and investment.”
The contest is designed to raise awareness of the Wisconsin Main Street Program, which is overseen by WEDC and provides support and training for organizations dedicated to downtown revitalization efforts. It also increases the engagement of businesses and communities within the Main Street program and showcases the businesses that bring life to downtown districts.
Multiple nominations from a wide variety of businesses within Wisconsin’s 35 designated Main Street districts were received as part of the makeover contest this year. The four additional finalists were Lucky Cow Gelato in Darlington, Sweet Peas Pies in Mayville, Stateline Mental Health Services in Beloit and Off the Mat Yoga in Marshfield. All eligible applicants will receive outreach and technical assistance from WEDC community development staff and their local Main Street program to help them achieve their business goals.
“A vibrant downtown is critical to the overall economic health of a community,” said WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes. “Recognizing and assisting the small businesses that make these downtowns thrive is a key part of how we support these communities.”
“This unique contest not only provides additional support and services to the winning business, but it also highlights the benefits of the Wisconsin Main Street Program, which has resulted in the creation of more than 2,800 new businesses and 15,000 new jobs in Wisconsin since its inception in 1987,” said Errin Welty, WEDC downtown development program manager.
Now in its fifth year, the Main Street Makeover Contest is an initiative of the Wisconsin Main Street Program, a comprehensive revitalization program overseen by WEDC and designed to promote the historic and economic redevelopment of traditional business districts in Wisconsin.
Communities selected to join the prestigious program receive the technical support and training needed to restore their Main Streets to centers of community activity and commerce. The Wisconsin Main Street Program, part of a nationwide program of the National Main Street Center, has been recognized nationally for its participation, initiatives and outcomes.
For more information on the Wisconsin Main Street Program, visit wedc.org/MainStreet.
The 2018 Main Street Makeover winner was Annie’s Fountain City Café in downtown Fond du Lac.. The 2019 winner was Anthony’s 511 Barbershop in downtown Watertown, and in 2020 Ted’s Pizza Palace in downtown Menomonie received a makeover for the restaurant’s 50th anniversary.