ENID, Okla. — Enid’s downtown development organization is planning a “bigger and better” year on the heels of its recent accomplishments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With both new and increased funding sources, Main Street Enid has several major events and programs over the next three weekends — and for the second half of 2021 — to support downtown Enid and its businesses.
The longtime nonprofit’s next weekend-long program, the statewide initiative Weekend of Local, encourages shoppers to spend their money at locally owned, small businesses from July 23-25.
Many of those brick-and-mortars are concentrated in downtown Enid, said Jay Sharp, Main Street’s new board president, so it made sense for the organization to come on board with the event.
The next weekend of July 30-31 will include an Enid-based local shopping campaign, Enid’s Crazy Days, during which Main Street is encouraging businesses to provide discounts and sales, as well as shoppers to “dress crazy” while they visit downtown. August’s First Friday event will follow the week after on Aug. 6.
During all three weekends, downtown shoppers can play games of Main Street Mini-Golf, where each golf hole will be set up at downtown businesses with materials provided by 4RKids Mini-Golf, Main Street Executive Director Natalie Beurlot said. Shoppers who play all the golf holes will be entered for a $100 night-out giveaway.
Business participation signups started Monday and so far include the Pastry Nook and No. 5 Findings, Beurlot said.
While big-box stores have more built-in support, Sharp said, “our local stores, they rely on shoppers coming through their doors. .. This is so we can let them know that Enid cares about them.”
“July is also a terrible month for sales,” Beurlot said, since people go out of town more during the summer.
The local shopping programs kick off the new fiscal year for the organization, as Main Street is counting on more funding sources to continue regular services and expand new events such as last year’s Holidays on Ice skating rink area, set to return this November.
Main Street is primarily funded from sponsorships, business partnerships and grants, as well as a regular contract with the city of Enid.
This year, Main Street has received $25,000 more for its annual contract, for a total $100,000 allocated from the city’s general fund budget approved in June. The contract had been $75,000 annually since 2012, according to the city.
Last Tuesday, city commissioners then renewed Main Street’s fiscal year contract, which included the $25,000 increase.
Beurlot said she asked city officials and commissioners for the increase this spring because she said the organization has grown over the last 10 years, with more programming, local-business support and grant funding on the books.
She said the funding would also cover staffing expenses, and that the board is looking to purchase a utility task vehicle to carry supplies during event set-ups.
“So (the increase) really helps us feel more comfortable with being able to grow as a program and help our businesses better and be able to grow our downtown,” Beurlot said. “And it shows the city really supports our efforts.”
City Manager Jerald Gilbert said Friday that the additional funding will also allow Main Street to take over duties from Keep Enid Beautiful.
The now-closed nonprofit’s beautification programs are being absorbed into Main Street. The latter will continue running previously shared programs such as cleanup days, corner node monitoring and trash-collecting, Sharp said.
“So it was a natural fit for Main Street Enid to just flow into that,” he said.
For the last two years, Main Street has awarded reimbursable facade grants to local businesses Gaslight Theatre and Enid Family Martial Arts. These funds come from Main Street’s History Makers donors campaign and will be kept separate from the Keep Enid Beautiful programs, Sharp said.
Main Street was selected last week as a beneficiary of the Enid Junior Welfare League’s 18th Charity Gala after submitting a grant proposal for a downtown decorative lighting project, which Sharp said would be part of a larger program.
JWL’s annual gala fundraises from donations throughout the year. This year’s beneficiaries also include the Garfield County Child Advocacy Council and Leadership Greater Enid’s youth program.
Article by: Alex Ewald ENE 7.13.21