Vineland Downtown Improvement District/Main Street (NJ) Strategic Plan Completed

Historic Downtown Vineland is a regional commercial district catering to shoppers in Vineland NJ and the surrounding communities.  The downtown business improvement district management organization has been working for over ten years to enhance the district by planting flowers, placing banners, providing regular street cleaning of the district, and programming events in the downtown for regional visitors and community residents.

For the last decade, the Vineland Downtown Improvement District/Main Street Vineland has been using an organizing method known nationally as the Main Street Four Point Approach™.  Landis Avenue is the historic and current heart of Vineland, and the Avenue defines the local identity and reflects the community’s history and ‘sense of place.’  This new Strategic Plan represents the next phase in the VDID/MSV’s organizational development. As part of Vineland’s participation in Main Street New Jersey, the state coordinating program provided staff assistance and consulting services to the Vineland Downtown Improvement District/Main Street Vineland as part of the State’s effort to enhance the growth, effectiveness and sustainability of participating MSNJ organizations. 

Heritage Consulting Inc., a Philadelphia- based consulting firm with a consulting contract with Main Street New Jersey to provide Organizational Sustainability services to participating MSNJ communities, led the three-phase Strategic Planning effort.  Donna Ann Harris of Heritage Consulting Inc. worked collectively with Todd Noon, Executive Director of VDID/MSV, local volunteers, business owners, stakeholders and Board members, to develop this Strategic Plan:  The research was conducted over six months and included three distinct activities, which are outlined below.

1) SWOT Analysis.  Held on June 9, 2012, this three-hour evening meeting received the input from fourteen stakeholders, including Board members, volunteers, Main Street Vineland and City Economic Development staff.  During the meeting, we discussed the current conditions of both the downtown shopping district and the VDID/MSV organization.  A summary memo was prepared that offered observations and recommendations for solving several specific problems in the short and medium term.

2) Online Consumer and Stakeholder Survey conducted for three weeks in September 2012.  This survey was an extraordinary success with more than 420 responses.  The survey provided critical demographic and market data about the downtown district’s current shoppers.  A 45-page report and a Fast Facts summary resulted.  Find the Survey report here, and the Fast Facts Summary sheet here http://www.heritageconsultinginc.com/blog/?attachment_id=2925

3) A Visioning and Strategic Planning Workshop held on Saturday morning February 23, 2013, was three hours long and included sixteen VDID/MSV volunteers, Board members, business owners, a City Council member and Main Street Vineland and City Economic Development staff.  Prior to the workshop, all participants received copies of the SWOT analysis and the Online Survey Report.  This workshop began with a brief summary of the results of the SWOT analysis and Online Survey.  During the workshop, all participated in a visioning exercise to help the assembled group visualize the future of downtown five years from now.  Finally, we used the visioning exercise to identify specific strategies to implement projects toward the realization of this long-term vision of downtown.

The Board adopted this Strategic Plan in April 2013.  See it here.

Here is what Todd Noon says about working with Heritage Consulting Inc. on this Strategic Plan.  “I have used Donna's services twice in the past two years and have come away both times very happy that I did. Donna created and facilitated a fundraising training session for our nonprofit Board of Directors and volunteers that was truly outstanding. Donna took the time to learn about our organization and then, using her expertise that has been honed over many years, crafted a presentation that addressed our specific needs. All of us took away from her session many effective, actionable ideas that will help us grow and thrive.

Over the past several months, Donna has also helped our organization -- in a three-step process that consisted of meetings, surveys, presentations and more -- create a Strategic Plan for where we want to be and how we are going to get there. Her knack for bringing together people, resources and creative ideas is really second-to-none; and, equally impressive, is her unique ability to crystallize key issues and guide her clients as they assess them and develop strategies for dealing with them. Without question, I would hire Donna again and I certainly recommend her very highly.”