Now available: COVID-19 Winter Strategies resource guide for Michigan downtowns and business districts

Friday, November 6, 2020

• New guide provides communities with ideas to give them a jumpstart on preparing for and celebrating winter • Guide builds off Reopen Main Street website, which offers communities COVID-19 response and recovery resources

Snowmobilers pass through downtown Sault Ste. Marie (photo courtesy of Sault Ste Marie Main Street/Downtown Development Authority)


LANSING, Mich. – As the winter months are approaching, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation today announced a new COVID-19 Winter Strategies resource guide designed to help Michigan’s downtowns and business districts develop innovative solutions that address the challenges of snow and cold while enhancing opportunities for safe outdoor winter activity.

“Michigan’s small businesses and traditional downtowns are a vital part of the state’s economy, and we remain focused on ways to support them on the path to economic recovery during this critical time,” said MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Michele Wildman. “This guidebook provides creative ideas and resources for communities that will help them make the most of winter outdoor activity opportunities, making it more fun and safe to be outside and bolstering the community’s ability to retain and attract new businesses and residents.”

The Winter Strategies resource guide focuses on a number of principles of winter planning, including improving winter transportation for pedestrians, cyclists and public transit users; designing for winter safety and comfort; making winter a positive asset to attract business, tourism and new residents; snow management and more.

The guide also provides strategies for business owners to help increase sales, including expanded curbside pickup options, virtual live shopping events, winter-themed marketing, and special dining events. A number of resources are also included, as well as examples of winter activities currently taking place in communities in Michigan and elsewhere with similar cold and snowy conditions. Winter festivals and markets, snow and ice sculptures, festive lighting, skating rinks and winter patios are just a few of the innovative ways communities can encourage safe outdoor activity and celebrate winter.

“The pandemic resulted in a surge of interest in being outdoors for socializing, family recreation, biking, camping, hiking, fishing, and other outdoor pursuits, and the need for people to get outdoors will be more important than ever in the winter months,” Wildman said. “Through careful planning and creative thinking, our communities can engage residents and businesses and drive economic growth throughout winter and year-round.”

Available to all communities in Michigan, the resource guide is based on the Michigan Main Street Center program, which supports local communities across Michigan as they implement the Main Street Four-Point Approach®, a community-driven, comprehensive strategy encouraging economic development through historic preservation in ways appropriate for the modern marketplace.

The Winter Strategies Resource Guide builds off and expands on the Michigan Reopen Main Street website, launched in May by MEDC in partnership with Downtown Professionals Network, Arnett Muldrow and Associates and Michigan Main Street. The website contains COVID-19 response and recovery strategies for business owners and downtown or district management organizations. The site,, is intended to assist Main Street directors, downtown development authority managers, small business owners and local stakeholders in navigating the complexities of operating their local business districts by providing a variety of recovery resources compiled into one, easy-to-use website.

Other resources MEDC developed to assist communities and downtowns include the MI Local Biz Community Crowdfunding Program, which paired successful crowdfunding efforts with a financial match from the MEDC, and an expansion of the Match on Main program to support recovery efforts of small businesses through grants to local units of government, downtown development authorities, or other downtown management organizations.

Through its tourism promotion efforts, MEDC’s Travel Michigan team also launched the Pure Michigan Pledge earlier this year. The pledge is a commitment from businesses within the hospitality industry and beyond to uphold local safety protocols and CDC travel guidelines to ensure safe travel and recreation in the state. To learn more about the Pure Michigan Pledge visit

In total, the MEDC has launched 19 COVID-19 relief and recovery programs that have supported more than 18,500 businesses in the state and helped to retain nearly 147,000 jobs across all 83 counties. To learn more about MEDC’s COVID-19 response programs and the impact they are having on economic recovery efforts, visit Other resources for economic reopening efforts as well as businesses across Michigan struggling with economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 virus can be found online at

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.