2019 Texas Downtown Conference Schedule

Presented by the Texas Downtown Association and the Texas Main Street Program.
All sessions and events will be held at the Sheraton Georgetown unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, October 29

1:00 PM - 4:30 PM | Deep Dive into Downtown Georgetown

Breakout AB

This pre-conference workshop will focus on how Downtown Georgetown has transformed over the years from a sleepy county seat to the Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas. Learn about programming, city projects, and partnerships that have contributed to the economic health of the community.

Laurie Brewer, Assistant City Manager
Jack Daly, Assistant to the City Manager
Michaela Dollar, Economic Development Director
Eric P. Lashley, Library Director
Linda McCalla, Former Georgetown Main Street Manager
Moderated by Kim McAuliffe

2:00 PM - 5:00 PM | Anice Read Fund Silent Auction Dropoff

Breakout GHJK

The Anice Read Fund supports downtown projects and programs across Texas. Show your support by donating to our annual silent auction scheduled for Wednesday evening prior to the Awards Gala. Travel packages, locally made arts and crafts, and unique items are all welcome. And of course, you should take some time to bid on items donated by other folks as well. Thank you for your support of Texas downtowns!

2:30 PM - 4:30 PM | Registration

Foyer

Registration open for conference attendees and exhibitors.

3:30 PM - 4:30 PM | Downtown 101

Breakout CD

Overview of downtown and commercial district development and revitalization. Great information for new professionals and communities just getting started with downtown programs.

Kyle Kramm, City of Seguin and 2019 Texas Downtown Association Board of Directors President

4:30 PM - 5:00 PM | TDA Programs & Services

Breakout CD

Members are invited to this short session offering a review of TDA programs and services.

Catherine Sak, Texas Downtown Association

5:00 PM - 5:30 PM | Newcomers Reception

Offsite

First time conference attendees and new TDA members are invited to meet board members and network. *Included with full conference registration.

5:30 PM - 7:00 PM | Opening Reception

Offsite

Join us for heavy appetizers, networking, and fun before you start exploring Downtown Georgetown. *Included with full conference registration.

9:00 PM - 11:00 PM | Hospitality Suite

Taylor Room

Sponsored by Centex Image Design.

Wednesday, October 30

6:30 AM - 7:00 AM | Downtown Run

Lobby

Meet in hotel lobby for a 30-minute dawn run. The two mile route will follow the river trail from the Sheraton to San Gabriel Park. Weather permitting.

7:30 AM - 8:30 AM | Networking Breakfast

Ballroom

Networking Breakfast

7:30 AM - 4:00 PM | Anice Read Fund Silent Auction

Breakout GHJK

The Anice Read Fund supports downtown projects and programs across Texas. Show your support by donating to our annual silent auction scheduled for Wednesday evening prior to the Awards Gala. Travel packages, locally made arts and crafts, and unique items are all welcome. And of course, you should take some time to bid on items donated by other folks as well. Thank you for your support of Texas downtowns!

7:30 AM - 4:00 PM | Exhibitor Hall Open

Pre-function Area

Visit with exhibitors and learn about available products and services.

7:30 AM - 5:00 PM | Registration

Foyer

Registration open for conference attendees.

8:30 AM - 9:00 AM | Welcome and Introductions

Ballroom

Kyle Kramm, City of Seguin and 2019 TDA Board of Directors President
Mayor Dale Ross, City of Georgetown
Mark Wolfe, Texas Historical Commission

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM | Opening Keynote Session: A Story to Tell

Ballroom

Chet believes every place has a story to tell. He will share his own story about creating the Emmy-award winning program The Daytripper, diving into historic renovations in Georgetown, and share many stories that he's discovered on the road that make Texas the most unique place on earth. He'll have everyone thinking about their own towns' story and how to best tell it in a way that only they can.

Chet Garner, The Daytripper

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM | Networking Break & Official Opening of Exhibitor Hall

Pre-function Area

Connect with other downtowners and learn about products, services, and places from our exhibitors.

10:30 AM - 11:30 AM | The Value Proposition of Downtown

Breakout AB

Those of us who work on downtown revitalization understand the important role that downtown plays in a city's economic development program, but how do we demonstrate to citizens and elected officials the true value of downtown? Using real examples from around Texas downtowns, this session will show you how to demonstrate why downtown properties out-perform almost all other properties in terms of economic efficiency for your city. You will learn how to analyze the properties in your downtown to determine which ones provide your city the most economic bang for the buck. You will also be able to see how your downtown properties stack up against other properties in your city like big box retailers, garden apartment complexes, etc. Being able to show your city's elected officials the real economic value of downtown real estate will help you make the case for investing in downtown as a key pillar of your community's economic development program.

Tom Yantis, City of Taylor

10:30 AM - 11:30 AM | Managing Tourism to Benefit Texas Downtowns

Breakout CD

Tourism is the biggest industry in the world. An increasing middle class, cheaper transportation options, and the influence of social media have opened up new veins for tourism. As travelers search for the next 'cool place,' authenticity becomes paradoxically more valuable and more threatened. One of the most obvious threats is short-term rentals (Airbnb, etc.) which converts housing units into hotels, thereby replacing residents (read: voters) with tourists. Some cities, like Charleston have enacted tourism management plans to work toward balancing residential and tourist needs. Other cities - Key West and New Orleans (where I am from) - have opted not to manage, but only to measure tourism. Texas downtowns, especially small-town downtowns, are some of the most authentic places in this country. Preparing for a boost in tourism can harness the industry so that the primary beneficiaries are the citizens of the place being visited. 'If you build it for the residents, the tourists will come. If you build it for the tourists, the residents will leave and the tourists will stop coming.' -Roberta Gratz

Meg Lousteau, National Trust for Historic Places

10:30 AM - 11:45 AM | Field Session: Georgetown Cultural District

Offsite

Do you want to know how to leverage an arts & culture district in your community? Tour the vibrant Georgetown Cultural District for inspiration. Visit several murals, learn about the annual sculpture tour, how to have a call for art, stop in local art galleries and studios, learn about the Georgetown Art Center, & finish with a walk through the award-winning Georgetown Public Library.

Amanda Still, City of Georgetown

11:30 AM - 1:30 PM | Lunch on Your Own

Offsite

Downtown Georgetown has a variety of dining options. Enjoy exploring!

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM | Culinary Entrepreneurship

Breakout AB

The RailYard Incubator selects restaurateurs to mentor through start-up in Denison, Texas. Existing operators looking to beta-test a new market, chefs with little business experience, and cottage industry vendors outgrowing their home kitchens are all welcome. Reducing the cost of entry by offering advertising, commercial kitchen space, common seating, and business mentorship at a low fixed cost, we require only a business plan, a menu, and a passion for excellent service in our seven vendor food hall. Six-month renewable leases encourage experimentation and diversity while elevating the dining experience in our downtown and keeping culinary talent local.

Josh Massey, TRYincubator
William Myers, Denison Development Alliance

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM | Get More Out of Your 24 Hours: Create More Content in Less Time

Breakout CD

Today's downtown professional has access to lots of free/inexpensive and powerful online marketing communication tools (so many that it can seem overwhelming.) It's great that you have the ability to create tons of content about your downtown, but finding the time to do so in your hectic schedule is challenging. Let's talk about ways to be more productive and create more content in less time, with smart repurposing and using different digital publishing formats to tell the same stories, saving both time and sanity.

Sheila Scarborough, Tourism Currents

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM | Field Session: Recreational Tourism

Offsite

Beat the afternoon slump with a bike ride from downtown back to the hotel. Learn about Georgetown's bike share program, trail system that links the community, and Blue Hole Park.

Eric P. Lashley, City of Georgetown

2:30 PM - 3:00 PM | Networking Break

Pre-function Area

Connect with other downtowners and learn about products, services, and places from our exhibitors.

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM | Ice House on Main: Innovative partnerships for historic downtown preservation and revitalization

Breakout AB

This sustainable development project will introduce our relationship with the City of Bryan, their gift of a 20,000 square foot dilapidated ice factory, and our private investment model which has transformed it into a financially robust multi use event space and downtown centerpiece. This is a success story and an innovative approach to heritage preservation and downtown development.

Brady Grimes, Advent GX
Jose Quintana, Advent GX

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM | Growing Foot Traffic through Visibility and Marketing

Breakout CD

Most downtown businesses struggle to find the balance between running a store and "marketing". The foot traffic is there but How do you get them IN THE DOOR? This will be a discussion driven session on how to use social media and websites to grow visibility and bring more foot traffic int YOUR downtown business.

Rebecca Huggins, The Intrepid Catalyst

3:00 PM - 4:15 PM | Field Session: Retailtainment: Experiential Retail is the Future

Offsite

Customers don't just want to walk into a shop and buy your products, but by creating an immersive experience you can be assured customers will leave not only with your products but also great memories. Hear and see how several businesses in Georgetown have learned to think outside the box to create unique concepts that elevate the typical in-store experience.

Jane Estes, Lark & Owl Booksellers
Brenda Massey, Sip & Stain
Valerie Nicholson, Boomtown Escapes
Karen Soeffker, All Things Kids
Brad Strittmatter, Mesquite Creek Outfitters

5:30 PM - 6:45 PM | Anice Read Fund Fundraiser

Breakout GHJK

The Anice Read Fund, founded in 1999, is a grant program of the Texas Downtown Association that has awarded over $100,000 in funding to Texas communities and organizations. During this event we will honor the legacy of Anice Read and host a silent auction benefitting the Fund.

*Ticketed event that includes entry to the fundraiser and the President's Awards Gala. Purchase via the registration form.

7:00 PM - 11:00 PM | President's Award Gala

Ballroom

Join us for dinner and help us recognize winners of the President's Awards Program and the People's Choice Awards.

*Ticketed event that includes entry to the fundraiser and the President's Awards Gala. Purchase via the registration form.

9:00 PM - 11:00 PM | Hospitality Suite

Taylor Room

Thursday, October 31

7:30 AM - 5:00 PM | Registration

Foyer

Registration open for conference attendees.

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM | Breakfast and TDA Annual Meeting

Ballroom

Join us for breakfast and TDA business. Items on the annual meeting agenda include election of board members, announcement of Anice Read grant recipients, and general business. *Included with registration.

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM | How to Beat Scarcity Thinking in Small Communities

Breakout AB

Small and rural communities often face lack of resources, lack of capacity and lack of access to political capital that can make the strategies touted by large communities seem out of reach or not applicable. What can they do? One of the most important steps is identifying how scarcity thinking and the fear of not having enough are detrimental to building strong communities. In this session we will cover what scarcity thinking looks like and how it impacts small communities, how to introduce a more powerful narrative and what can happen when you overcome it to begin moving forward!

Britin Bostick, Stewardship Strategies
Sarah O'Brien, Collaborative Development Collective

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM | The Super Power of Place Branding Your Downtown

Breakout CD

More than merely marketing campaigns, Place Branding explores the features that make your downtown or urban space unique from others. Those quirky spaces and interesting places that define your urban experience. This presentation will share best practices, lessons learned, and surprising tips about how to Place Brand Your Downtown in a powerfully authentic way!

Chad Emerson, Downtown Huntsville, Alabama

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM | How a Downtown Zoning Overlay Brought New Business and Investment

Breakout GH

The Elgin Downtown Zoning Overlay was recognized as a Best Economic Game Changer in the TDA Presidents awards in 2018. From 2016 to 2018 ten buildings were restored, totaling 41,000 sq ft and a net 15 new businesses opened taking downtown Elgin to 90% occupancy through the downtown zoning overlay. The new investment was due in large part to the downtown zoning overlay - allowing mixed use and increasing work live occupancy increased the tenant pool for downtown property owners , and the space options for tenants as well as increasing the residential occupancy downtown. Find out about the zoning overlay and how it can be effective in your downtown!

Amy Miller, City of Elgin

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM | Networking Break

Foyer

Connect with other downtowners and learn about products, services, and places from our exhibitors.

10:30 AM - 11:45 AM | Downtown Organizations and Their Impact on Development and Revitalization Efforts

Breakout AB

Fostering positive relationships with merchants is an essential part of building a successful downtown. This presentation will cover: How to facilitate merchant development; How to increase merchant participation in events and activities; What tools can enhance effective communication; and how to manage merchant issues.

Katelyn Brown, Downtown Bryan Association
Jeff Cartledge, Downtown Georgetown Association

10:30 AM - 11:45 AM | How to do Math on Proposed Development

Breakout CD

In this session we challenge the way cities have done business over the last 75 years. Learn why your city has no money in spite of your growth, and what you can do to develop a more fiscally resilient community, starting with your downtown. Conference attendees will learn ways they can approach their local City Councils, Planning Commissions, City Managers, and Planning Directors, with solid numbers from their cities' own financial statements and budgets to promote and prioritize fiscally sustainable development in downtown.

Justin Weiss, City of Fate

10:30 AM - 11:45 AM | Preservation & Its Downtown Impacts

Breakout GH

Our partners at Preservation Texas are hosting this session that will focus on the tools and best practices of preservation for your downtown.

Evan Thompson, Preservation Texas
Other speakers TBA

11:45 AM - 1:30 PM | Lunch on Your Own

Offsite

Downtown Georgetown has a variety of dining options. Enjoy exploring!

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM | Texas Agency Panel

Georgetown Public Library

Curious about state programs, agencies, and available resources for your downtown? Join us for a panel featuring state agency representatives to learn about Film Friendly Communities, Music City Designation, state park programs, and economic development/preservation resources.

Brendon Anthony, Texas Music Commission
Debra Drescher, Texas Historical Commission
Aaron Friar, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
Kim LeBlanc, Texas Film Commission

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM | Marketing Makeover

Georgetown Public Library

In a marketing slump? Lost your marketing mojo? This Marketing Makeover session will help you get your groove back! Spice up your marketing plan with out of the box ideas, learn how to make every dollar count and leverage partnerships to enhance your downtown message. Walk away with new tips and tricks about marketing best practices and a new energy to revitalize your marketing strategy.

Abigail Noel, Downtown Bryan Association

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM | Field Session: Retailtainment: Experiential Retail is the Future

Offsite

Customers don't just want to walk into a shop and buy your products, but by creating an immersive experience you can be assured customers will leave not only with your products but also great memories. Hear and see how several businesses in Georgetown have learned to think outside the box to create unique concepts that elevate the typical in-store experience.

Jane Estes, Lark & Owl Booksellers
Brenda Massey, Sip & Stain
Valerie Nicholson, Boomtown Escapes
Karen Soeffker, All Things Kids
Brad Strittmatter, Mesquite Creek Outfitters

2:30 PM - 3:00 PM | Networking Break

Georgetown Public Library

Connect with other downtowners.

3:00 PM - 4:15 PM | Closing Keynote: Civic Pride

Georgetown Public Library

The only cure for apathy is pride. This session starts by covering the cost of apathy and how it affects communities. By fostering pride in our communities, we can take the very first steps towards revitalization, by restoring people's relationships to their towns. The session goes in depth on the five areas in which we can work to begin to combat apathy and start to restore a sense of civic pride in our cities.

Jeff Siegler, Revitalize or Die

5:00 PM - 8:00 PM | Night Out in Georgetown: Courthouse Masquerade & Ghost Stories

Offsite

Are you ready for a wicked good time in Georgetown? Join us for an evening of tricks and treats as you close out your time at conference. Costumes are encouraged but have no fear, in case you forget, a masquerade mask making station will be available for you my dear! So come if you dare to the historic courthouse square, for booze and bites, scary shopping deals, and a few of our favorite tales from beyond the grave...

Friday, November 1

6:30 AM - 7:00 AM | Downtown Run

Lobby

Meet in hotel lobby for a 30-minute dawn run. The two mile route will follow the river trail from the Sheraton to San Gabriel Park. Weather permitting.

8:30 AM - 11:30 AM | Brunch and Learn: Perspectives on Downtown Development

Ballroom

This workshop will feature downtown professionals, economic development leaders, and small business experts offering their perspectives on downtown development. A great wrap up to conference!

Please note:  **Field sessions are included with registration and do not require separate ticket purchase.  Field session attendees will be walking to various locations so wear comfortable shoes.