Tuesday August 25, 2015 at 8:00 AM CDT
Wednesday August 26, 2015 at 5:00 PM CDT

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Alley Station 
130 Commerce Street
Montgomery, AL 36104

Driving Directions 

Hampton Inn and Suites 
100 Commerce Street
Montgomery, AL 36104


Code: AMS

Room Rate: $104 Double; $109 King

Includes Parking and Breakfast




Marylon Barkan 
Main Street Alabama 

Main Street Alabama is pleased to announce our annual conference, aLABama Downtown Laboratory, in Downtown Montgomery August 25th & 26th, 2015.  Each year, we expand on one of the points of the Four Point Approach: Organization, Design, Promotion and Economic Restructuring.  This year, the focus will be on Promotion and will include sessions on innovative tools and movements in Alabama that relate to promotion. Our conference features nationally regarded speakers as well as local innovators and community leaders.  We hope you will join us!

Promotion on Main Street has been developed to assist you focusing on the details of promotion, including graphic design, work planning and recapturing your event attendees by leveraging special events to make an economic impact. Need help in recruiting sponsors for your events?  Learn what sponsors want and then watch our "living" session, The Main Street Alabama Shark Tank, where several of our designated communities compete for cash and in-kind support from our sharks.  Conference attendees will clearly understand the components of a successful ask.

Innovation on Main Street will show you how to implement an Entertainment District in your downtown, methodically market your local food scene and develop events to grow your identity as a dining destination. Cultivate Makers in your community with our Maker Movement panel, featuring leaders who started Maker Spaces, events that support Makers and developed private funding mechanisms that utilize Makers for public improvements.  

Enjoy networking with other conference attendees at our Awards for Excellence Luncheon presented by Alabama Municipal Electric Authority and our Speed-Dating social sponsored by Zeekee Interactive (separate ticket purchase required).  




 Tuesday, August 25th 9:30 am

Andy Kopietz, Good Done Daily
Session: Graphic Design as a Catalytic Tool for Storytelling: Andy will demonstrate ways in which D:Hive's  influence positively impacted Detroit's Greater Downtown by promoting economic activity, entrepreneurship, talent attention and retraction. How can design captivate minds, foster civic engagement and bolster successful placemaking? Can branding become a persuasive tool in resurrecting pride for a broken city?

Andy Kopietz is principle of Good Done Daily, a Detroit-based graphic design studio serving philanthropic, non-profit, cultural, and academic organizations throughout Southeast Michigan. 3 years prior to running his own practice, he served as Director of Design at D:hive, a storefront welcome center located in Detroit where he built tools and visual resources that empowered people to discover the city. He believes good design has the capacity to advance society and businesses alike.

   Tuesday, August 25th 1:30 pm

Kennedy Smith, Community Land Use + Economics

Session: Ultimate Work Planning- Is your Main Street  or downtown program in a bit of a rut, spinning its wheels, with lots of ideas but not a lot of action?  Find out how you can apply your successes in promotion, marketing and facade improvements to help address tougher economic issues.  Hear how your Main Street program can turn around and become recognized as the economic catalyst for your city or town by assessing your long-term vision and crafting a new kind of strategic plan.

Kennedy is one of the nation’s foremost experts on commercial district revitalization, downtown economics, and independent business development. She co-founded the CLUE Group in 2004. Kennedy’s work focuses particular attention on creating dynamic retail development plans, cultivating locally owned businesses, creating effective business and property development incentives, finding new uses for key historic buildings, and strengthening the organizational infrastructure needed to create vibrant town centers.

Before launching the CLUE Group, Kennedy served on the staff of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Main Street Center for 19 years, the last 14 of them as the director of the National Main Street Program. During her tenure the National Main Street Program became one of the most successful economic development programs in the US, generating $18 billion in new investment and stimulating development of 226,000 new jobs and 56,000 new businesses and expanding to a nationwide network of almost 2,000 towns and cities.

In addition to her work with the CLUE Group, Kennedy serves as adjunct faculty for the graduate program in historic preservation at Goucher College, where she teaches a class in historic preservation economics. She is a popular international speaker on community economic development and writes occasional columns for several professional journals. In 2002, Fast Company magazine named her to its inaugural list of “Fast 50 Champions of Innovation,” recognizing “creative thinkers whose sense of style and power of persuasion change what our world looks like and how our products perform.” She was awarded a Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in 2005. In 2009, Planetizen.com included her in its list of "100 Top Urban Thinkers". 

   Tuesday, August 25th 3:00 pm

Kathy LaPlante, Senior Program Director, National Main Street Center

Session: Leveraging Events for Immediate and Future Sales- Special events create activity and vibrancy in the downtown and usually generate eventual, typically not immediate, retail sales.  Learn how to capitalize on the good will of a successful event for immediate and future sales.

Kathy La Plante is a Senior Program Officer and Director of Coordinating Program Services at the National Main Street Center with expertise in building organizational capacity and developing promotional programming. She has worked in the Main Street field for nearly 25 years. She joined the staff of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Main Street Center in May 2007. She works throughout the U.S. providing training for cities of all sizes using the Main Street Approach® to downtown revitalization.  Prior to this position, she was hired as the first Director of the New Hampshire Main Street Center, serving in that role for over ten years.  She was responsible for initiating the statewide New Hampshire Main Street Program, and providing technical assistance to 23 designated Main Street programs. Ms. La Plante began her Main Street career in 1989 as the Executive Director of the Chippewa Falls Main Street Program. Seven years later, Chippewa Falls was a recipient of the Great American Main Street Award. Prior to working in downtown revitalization, Ms. La Plante spent 12 years in retail management including, for ten years, as manager of Spurgeon’s Department Stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

    Tuesday, August 25th 4:00 pm

Jay Lamar, Executive Director, Alabama Bicentennial

Session: Alabama's Bicenennial Commemoration: Jay Lamar will help prepare your community to participate in the celebration by introducing the projects and programs of the local activities, education and statewide initatives committees.  

Jay Lamar is the Executive Director of the Alabama Bientennial.  Formerly, she served as the Director of the Auburn University Center for the Arts & Humanities, the outreach office of the AU College of Liberal Arts. She is former editor of First Draft: The Journal of the Alabama Writers’ Forum, served as editor-in-chief for Alabama: The History, Geography, Economics, and Civics of an American State, and has been a freelance editor and writer for numerous scholarly and educational publications.

The Maker Movement

Wednesday, August 26th 8:30 am

Is the Maker Movement growing in your community?  Learn how to best support tthis growing trend from Maker Movement leaders, Garlan Gudger and Bruce Lanier.  Discussion points will cover the Maker Movement in Alabama and describe how Maker Spaces can function as business incubators as well as how to organize a large scale event that supports Alabama Makers and grows this grass roots movement.  Clay McInnis will discuss how the Gumption Fund privately funds improvements in downtown Montgomery while supporting local Makers.

Garlan Gudger, Southern Accents Architectural Antiques and Southern Makers

Bruce Lanier, Principal Architect, Standard Creative

Clay McInnis, Downtown Montgomery Business Alliance, Gumption Fund



Developing your Local Culinary Scene

Wednesday, August 26th 10:00 am

Entertainment Districts- Is Your Community Ready?  Opelika Main Street Director, Pam Powers-Smith, walks through the process of using the state enabling legislation to develop an Entertainment Distict in your downtown.  Learn how to prepare your community, develop district guidlines and foster the necessary communications communications between merchants, property owners, and city leaders. 

Dishing Your District- Once defined, learn how to promote the business niche within your entertainment district with Zeekee Ineractive and Rev Birmingham's James Little.  Scale food inspired events from a Grub Crawl to a full blown Restaurant Week to suit your own needs and learn how to promote your food scene with an "Eat Local" campaign and tips from Zeekee Interactive.  


David Barry, Zeekee Interactive

James Little, REVBirmingham

Pam Powers-Smith, Opelika Main Street






   Wednesday, August 26th 1:00 pm

Sylvia Allen - Allen Consulting

What Sponsors Want:  Selling corporate sponsorships is easy if you follow Sylvia's 12 Steps to Sponsorship Success.  Allen Consulting is experienced at getting corporate sponsorship for both non-profit and for-profit entities and has developed sponsorship programs for communities, individuals, festivals, events and corporations for over three decades.

Following the session, Sylvia will be moderating the Main Street Alabama Shark Tank, our "living" session where conference attendees will learn how to successfully solicit sponsorships for their local events and activities. Designated Main Street Communities will be competing for cash and in-kind sponsorships.

Sylvia Allen is an internationally recognized author, fundraising consultant, and sponsorship sales expert. Her marketing and public relations firm produced more than 100 events and raised more than $1 million worth of sponsorships for clients last year. Allen is co-author of “How to Be Successful in Sponsorship Sales” and author of “A Women’s Guide to Sales Success” as well as numerous articles on sponsorship sales and marketing. Her well-known commentary, “The 12 Steps to Sponsorship Success” has just been released on DVD.