Main Street New Jersey to Present Special Seminar on Helping Downtowns in Recession
Program Will Provide Communities with Survival Strategies

TRENTON - The Department of Community Affairs' (DCA) Main Street New Jersey Program will present a seminar April 29 & 30 at Thomas Edison College in Trenton to help downtowns survive today's tough economy and get into position to thrive in the coming recovery. The program is specifically aimed at local elected and economic development officials, as well as downtown business organizations and merchants.

"It is no secret that a flourishing downtown positively impacts a community's economy, quality of life and sense of place. Towns across New Jersey have made considerable gains in revitalizing their traditional business districts in recent years and all that hard work should not go to waste," said DCA Commissioner Joseph Doria. "The Main Street New Jersey program is doing its part to keep downtowns healthy in this difficult time. I applaud the effort and encourage downtown stakeholders to take advantage of the seminar."

The seminar, "Downtowns in Recession: Strategies to Survive Today and Thrive Tomorrow," will include a panel discussion featuring Commissioner Doria and New Jersey Economic Development Authority CEO Caren Franzini. They will answer questions and offer advice about what local officials and downtown managers can do to get through the economic malaise.

The two-day session, which was developed in collaboration with JGSC Group of Merchantville, NJ, will cover such topics as how to identify at-risk businesses, how to leverage a unique asset to create economic growth, and how to attract shoppers through signage, property maintenance and visual merchandising. The seminar will also detail the differences between downtowns and privately-owned retail centers and explore how six New Jersey towns are successfully growing their downtowns.

The session is the second in a series of four seminars being offered this year by Main Street New Jersey as part of its Downtown Revitalization & Management Institute, which is now in its 11th year. People who attend will receive a kit with a set of immediately implementable tools to boost downtown commerce.

All persons concerned with downtown business district management who are interested in attending the seminar should contact Jef Buehler, director of Main Street New Jersey, at (609) 633-9769 or

The Main Street New Jersey Program was established in 1989 to encourage and support the revitalization of downtowns throughout the state. Every two years the DCA accepts applications and designates selected communities to join the program. These communities receive valuable technical support and training to assist in restoring their Main Streets as centers of community and economic activity. For more information on Main Street New Jersey and its Downtown Revitalization & Management Institute, log on to