Localize Your Downtown

Your downtown district is the heart of your community, providing goods, services, and jobs, plus community gathering space and a unique, joyful sense of place. Community Allies brings together the pioneers of the local Main Street, local food, local economic development, and local culture movements to help you build a vibrant downtown filled with locally-owned businesses that foster a resilient local economy. 

Our services include:

Local business support and attraction. Community Allies specializes in the marketing, policy, and infrastructure that local businesses need to thrive. We'll show you how to attract and support local entrepreneurs and foster synergies between local business sectors.

Creating a Localism movement. Community Allies shows you how to use economic and market studies to demonstrate the importance of local business ownership. Our speakers can make the case directly to your constituents and elected officials. Then we'll help you develop broad support for local businesses and entrepreneurship through "Local First" campaigns and events. 

Vibrant commercial districts with a unique sense of place.
Community Allies helps you identify the key elements that make your community "home" and strategize how to utilize marketing, place-making, and community engagement to build loyal and passionate support.

Building equity and wealth. 
In underserved communities, Community Allies champions entrepreneur incubation and local ownership to keep money recirculating locally, increasing community's self-reliance and building greater opportunity and quality of life.

Becoming sustainable.
Environmental and economic sustainability are inseparable. Community Allies shows you how to inject an ethic of sustainability into your community's DNA, using it to increase profitability for your local businesses, provide a healthier, stronger environment for residents, and be resilient into the future.

"Ellen really understands the ecosystem of a neighborhood -- especially what it takes to create a vibrant, memorable place."
-- Gina Caruso, Assistant Commissioner. City of Chicago Small Business Center

"Ellen's work and leadership set the standard for neighborhood-based ecosystems development for independent businesses."
-- James Johnson-Piett, Principal and CEO, Urbane Development


sample projects

Community Allies has provided strategy and training on neighborhood business district development and economic localization for dozens of communities, including Ann Arbor, MI; Santa Fe, NM; Fayetteville, AR; and Charleston, SC.