I started my time on Main Street as a small business owner. After volunteering with the Laramie Main Street Alliance, my own love affair began with small business, economic development and cheering on the little guys that make small communities what they are.

I attended my very first conference in Atlanta, and it is here I often say I "drank the Kool-Aid."  (I mean that in the best way possible.) I now work one-on-one with small businesses and organizations on digital media marketing and brand strategy.

At the 2017 Main Street Now Conference, Jess and Laramie's Main Street Director, Trey Sherwood, are presenting: 

Marketing with Heart:

Communication Tools to Increase Donor Engagement, Recruit Volunteers, and Celebrate Your Main Street!


Learn more about the presentatioN!

Find a copy of Simon Sinek's Start With Why at your local bookstore & watch his Tedx talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action below.



Downtown Laramie Instagram Take Over

#MYLARAMIE: Instagram TakeOver

At the 2016 conference I caught wind of Instagram Takeovers and immediately knew I wanted to do it too. We recognized that the voice of our Instagram profile was one-sided and there was opportunity to share the love. 

We offered up our account to anyone in the community - businesses, individuals, students, tourists, etc. - and gave them 7 days to share what they love about downtown. 

See our: 



Taking care of donors is a huge priority for us across all marketing events. We take pride in taking individual care of each donor, whether they are contributing something small or large. 

We tailor custom sponsorship opportunities to attach a business name to an event. We recognize that exposure for them is important, and we work to give them something they are proud to have their name on. 

A local credit union kept us safe by providing funding for us to hire police to check IDs and keep us safe at summer street dance event. 

See our:



Trey is incredible about giving our volunteers the freedom to do what they desire. Anyone who gives us their time has the opportunity to use their unique passion and gift to lend a hand. Because of that, we have an incredible team of people doing amazing things. (And you'll never find us asking them to take out the trash.)

Just a few (of many) projects that have come from volunteer work, interns and gracious community partners: 

  • Inside Laramie Video Series 
  • Student Focus Group
  • High School Yarn Bombing Project
  • Public Art Bike Tours
  • Volunteer BBQ
  • Seasonal Decorating 
  • Installation of Banners/Bike Racks
  • Murals 
  • Community Clean Up 
  • Fundraising Events
  • Parking Studies and Other Data Gathering

Now just imagine if we had all those people fetching us coffee instead...

See our: 



As humans we like to be recognized for our work - whether it's a thank you note or a Facebook post, every little bit counts. We like to make it a point to capture and share what our volunteers are doing for us, which does two things: 

  1. It lets them know we appreciate all of their work. It makes them want to stick around. 
  2. It makes others want to jump on board. 

Ways to brag:

  • Take photos and share them
  • Tag businesses, employers, schools and organizations
  • Make a video
  • Send a thank you note
  • Tell your local officials what their community is up to
  • Don't take credit for all their work silently


The real gift of small community is the opportunity to remember and celebrate the little things. Whenever possible we rally around individuals in the community and celebrate their work and dedication to downtown. 

One of our volunteers has been involved with Main Street since its origin in Laramie and has been pivotal in the accomplishments of the program. He and his wife celebrated an anniversary last summer and we used our social channels to help organize a card sending frenzy and let the couple know just how much they mean to us. 

This year Trey celebrated her 7th year with Main Street, so we created a $7 for 7 years campaign. In place of flowers or cards, she asked that people who wished to celebrate with her instead donated to the program.

In one day we raised over $500 and showed the community how Main Street is more like family than work. 


Look at the big picture

When I first began working with the Main St. office we were essentially a sharing machine. We shared promotions, announcements and content from as many members of our district that we could find. On top of this we would try to sneak in a post here and there mentioning that it’d be great to have some volunteers or maybe a little cash to tackle a project.

Ultimately, people were confused. They didn’t know who we are, what projects were ours and we often found members of the community convinced they’d donated us money or helped with a project, when the truth was, they were involved with a different organization. Not us.

So we decided to flip our strategy on its head. We took the focus off of the businesses themselves and onto the organization as a whole. We focused on the district and its personality. We got to the heart of what makes Downtown Laramie so special.

With that in mind we placed priority on:

  • Downtown Laramie branded graphics for social media sharing
  • Shared photos of streetscapes for a wider view of downtown
  • Adding items to our Facebook calendar, rather than sharing individual posts
  • Creating seasonal shopping guides or parameters for what we will share at a certain time (Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, Graduation, etc.)
  • Capturing moments that show the emotion of downtown in video, historic images, business stories and behind the scenes looks at the organization


At this point Small Business Saturday is a staple in most communities, and it is essentially the Super Bowl of shop local campaigns. If you're unfamiliar, I urge you to check it out. If you are not implementing a Small Business Saturday campaign into your marketing plan, I suggest you give it some thought. 

The best part is, the framework is already there for you.

Here in Laramie we add a little bit more to our #ShopLaramie campaigns to make it fit our community each year. It is always an opportunity to celebrate our businesses and to remind people just how important their dollar is. Check out (and feel free to rip off) some of our custom content below: