FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Main Street New Jersey’s NJ350 Pop-Up Store Initiative Wins National Innovation on Main Street Award


 WASHINGTON, DC – New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Acting Commissioner Charles A. Richman today announced that Main Street New Jersey’s NJ 350 Pop-Up Store initiative is a winner of the first-ever "Innovation on Main Street" award. This award recognizes Main Street organizations for successful, sustainable initiatives that represent new approaches to an existing downtown revitalization challenges or opportunities. Awards were announced by the National Main Street Center. 

"Working with a host of state, national and international sponsors and partners, Main Street New Jersey created and managed this innovative program throughout New Jersey, supporting local economic development while celebrating the rich history of our state’s first 350 years," said Acting Commissioner Richman.

Main Street New Jersey was selected for its "NJ350 Pop-Up Store program" which gave participating Main Streets in New Jersey the tools to create temporary retail shops in vacant storefronts. The program, timed to coincide with the 350th anniversary of New Jersey’s founding, provided state-related merchandise, furniture, signage, marketing, technical support and training to help the local Main Street organization develop and promote the pop-up store. The program succeeded by drawing shoppers downtown, supporting local craftspersons and entrepreneurs, and attracting business owners to underutilized or vacant retail spaces. By the end of 2014, 89 percent of the empty retail spaces that were used as pop-up locations were rented.

"Our hats are off to each of the programs selected for the Innovation on Main Street awards," says Patrice Frey, president and CEO of the National Main Street Center. "For the Main Street movement to continue to be successful and relevant, we will need to capitalize on changing trends, demographics and economies. We applaud these programs for daring to innovate and for energizing the field of downtown revitalization with fresh ideas."

The other two winners are Shaw Main Street honored for its "Art All Night" festival, which was expanded to four other Washington, D.C. Main Street programs this year and Winnsboro Main Street program in rural Texas recognized for its "Shop Our Town First" program.  The award is open to any Standard, Designated or Coordinating Program member of the National Main Street Center.

"The purpose of the NJ350 Pop-Up Program was to provide hands-on proof of an effective retail concept for participating communities," said Jef Buehler, Coordinator of the Main Street New Jersey and Improvement District Programs at the DCA.  "By providing a theme – NJ350 – and ready-made, Pop-Up inventory, signage, marketing and more, many of the start-up barriers to a developing a Pop-Up were removed. This, combined with the efforts of our local MSNJ programs, resulted in both marketing and business success in each of our participating fourteen communities."

Established in 1980 as a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Main Street Center works with a nationwide network of communities to encourage preservation-based economic revitalization that utilizes the Main Street Four-Point Approach.®  This proven methodology for historic preservation-based community revitalization has been implemented in 2,000 older commercial districts  over the past 35 years. Now a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Main Street Center provides information, offers technical assistance, holds conferences and workshops, and conducts research and advocacy on critical revitalization issues.

Main Street New Jersey builds upon these efforts through its own comprehensive revitalization program that promotes the historic and economic redevelopment of traditional business districts throughout New Jersey. For more information on local Main Street New Jersey programs, visit .

 (Patrice Frey, CEO of the National Main Street Center, presents Jef Buehler, Coordinator of the Main Street New Jersey and Improvement District Programs at the Department of Community Affairs, with the "Innovation on Main Street" award for the NJ350 Pop-Up Store program)

Program Recognized for Sustainable New Approach to Downtown Revitalization

Tammori Petty
Emike Omogbai
(609) 292-6055