August 14 Downtowners E-Newsletter

The Downtowners’

City Center Newsletter

August 14, 2012

What You Will Find…

□ Downtown Tourism

□ Downtown Updates

□ Upcoming Events

□ Association News


Creating a Destination

Downtowns as Tourist Attractions…

Some cities are built for tourists.  It doesn’t matter what size they are.  Medora.New York City.Las Vegas. These places all have unique history, museums, entertainment, identities, attractions, events and are walk-able for visitor ease and friendliness.  More communities across the country are realizing that they have unique historical places with entertainment and identity in their backyards, their Downtowns.  The same things that draw people to a tourist town can draw visitors to a Downtown.  One of our members shared an article with our office a couple months ago titled “8 Amazing Facts About Downtowns” from DDI.  These amazing facts and figures are worth sharing here:

1. The heart and soul of every community, besides its people, is its downtown. The health of a community can instantly be portrayed by the vitality of its downtown. It is the litmus test for all your economic development efforts – both tourism and non-tourism. Downtown provides that all-important first impression…

2. The number one activity of visitors throughout the world is shopping, dining and entertainment in a pedestrian friendly setting. It’s typically not the reason we go to a destination, but it is the top diversionary activity of visitors once they’re there.

3. Consider this: The average visitor is active 14 hours a day, yet they only spend four to six hours with the primary activity that brought them there.

4. Secondary activities are where 80% of all visitor spending takes place.  When we’re out fishing or hiking or biking, we are not spending money. When we are competing in a sports game, we are not spending money. But when we’re done, guess what? We’re off looking for the nearest watering hole, great shops, restaurants, and entertainment. Why did Disney build Downtown Disney outside of Disney World? To capture that other 80% of visitor spending. Smart move.

5. Curb appeal can account for 70% of visitor sales at restaurants, golf courses, wineries, retail shops, and lodging facilities. We all travel. Have you ever uttered these words: “That looks like a nice place to eat.” Other than asking a local, or finding where the most local pickup trucks are parked, this is our only other clue to help make a decision.

6.  If local residents do not hang out in your downtown, neither will visitors. Visitors are not looking for “best kept secrets” or “solitude” when downtown. They are looking for places where other people go. They want to be in a lively, thriving environment. If downtown has the activities and attractions to draw residents, visitors will want to go there too. The number one reason people travel is to visit friends and relatives. When they visit you, where do you take them? That’s what I thought.

7. Then there’s the 10+10+10 rule or the “Rule of Critical Mass.” After researching 400 towns and downtown districts in theU.S. andCanada, we found the minimum critical mass it takes to make downtown a destination. In just three lineal blocks (not square blocks) you must have a minimum of ten places that serve food: soda fountain, bistro, café, bakery, confectionary, sit-down restaurant, coffee shop, to name a few. The second ten are destination retail shops. These are NOT big box and chain stores, but ten specialty shops. These might include galleries, clothing, outfitters, artisans in action, wine shops, books, antiques (not second hand stores), home accents, gardening and gourmet cooking stores. And the third ten: Places open after 6:00, preferably entertainment.

8. A full 70% of all consumer spending (locals and visitors alike) takes place after 6:00 pm. Are you open? For you in the tourism industry, consider this: people spend the night where there are things to do after 6:00. Not just dining, but also shopping, activities or entertainment. —

While it’s clearBismarckis on the right track, we need to continue to make efforts to make Downtown not only an attraction for the community, but for those outside our community.  “A community’s appeal drives economic prosperity,” saidUrbanLandcontributor Edward McMahon.  Words to live by.


Starion Financial Community Night- Free Tickets!

Join member Starion Financial for their Community Night, Friday, August 17. The free picnic starts at 5:30 p.m. at SertomaParkshelter #6. Enjoy the SuperSlideAmusement Park, Dakota Zoo and an outdoor movie. This is open to the community.  Get your FREE tickets at Starion Financial or


Urban Harvest Final Week

The last week of the 2012 Market Season for Urban Harvest is this Thursday August 16 on the corner of 4th and Broadway in Downtown Bismarck from 10am-8pm.  Enjoy food, arts & craft booths, farmer’s market produce, and entertainment and music.  Be sure to stop by for lunch, dinner, and evening entertainment.  For a list of entertainers, visit Thank you for a great 2012 season, be sure to stop out if you haven’t been this summer!  See you next Summer.


Downtown Updates

— The Bismarck Parking Authority is offering free evening parking from 4pm to 2am daily through the end of the year.  With all the new activity and nightlife in Downtown Bismarck, the ramps will allow the public to enjoy the city center and not have to look for street parking.

How the After Hour Complementary Parking Works: Use the entrance to the 3rd & Main Ramp on 3rd Street.  Pull into the ramp and pull a time stamped ticket.  The arm will raise and allow the car through to park.  When exiting the ramp, simply use the hourly lane and deposit your ticket in the slot, the arm will already be raised to allow the cars to exit. There is no leeway on timing.  If you enter at 3:59pm or exit at 2:01am, the customer will be charged the normal hourly rate. 


Upcoming events

What’s Shakin Downtown…

August 15

Brown Bag in the Park



August 16

Urban Harvest


August 17

Starion Financial Community Night

Free Tickets at:

August 18

Saturday Morning Market


Sept 6-9

United Tribes Powwow

Parade Sept 8

Sept 14-15

39th AnnualDowntowners Street Fair



Downtowners’ Association News

Organization and member news …

You can find all of our member’s information at:

Member Cumulus Media’s local stations will soon become part of Townsquare Media.  Townsquare Media is looking for a Digital Managing Editor and Digital Sales Manager for their Bismarck-Mandan market. Click here to read the job descriptions and apply today!

The 39th Annual Downtowners Street Fair vendor applications can be downloaded at:


Please send all member business news and events to:

Check the Downtown Business Association’s websites for updated news and events or

Please forward this on to people interested in Downtown news!