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Three Main Street America Staff members standing in front of a mural in Marion, Iowa.

Marion, Iowa © Tasha Sams

About

We work in collaboration with thousands of local partners and grassroots leaders across the nation who share our commitment to advancing shared prosperity, creating resilient economies, and improving quality of life.

Overview Who We Are How We Work Partner Collaborations Our Supporters Our Team Job Opportunities Contact Us
Two community members in Emporia Kansas pose with a sign saying "I'm a Main Streeter"

Emporia, Kansas © Emporia Main Street

Our Network

Made up of small towns, mid-sized communities, and urban commercial districts, the thousands of organizations, individuals, volunteers, and local leaders that make up Main Street America™ represent the broad diversity that makes this country so unique.

Overview Coordinating Programs Main Street Communities Collective Impact Awards & Recognition Community Evaluation Framework Join the Movement
Dionne Baux and MSA partner working in Bronzeville, Chicago.

Chicago, Illinois © Main Street America

Resources

Looking for strategies and tools to support you in your work? Delve into the Main Street Resource Center and explore a wide range of resources including our extensive Knowledge Hub, professional development opportunities, field service offerings, advocacy support, and more!

Overview Knowledge Hub Field Services Government Relations Main Street Now Conference Main Street America Institute Small Business Support Allied Member Services The Point Members Area
People riding e-scooters in Waterloo, Iowa

Waterloo, Iowa © Main Street Waterloo

The Latest

Your one-stop-shop for all the latest stories, news, events, and opportunities – including grants and funding programs – across Main Street.

Overview News & Stories Events & Opportunities Subscribe
Woman and girl at a festival booth in Kendall Whittier, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Kendall Whittier — Tulsa, Oklahoma © Kendall Whittier Main Street

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Join us in our work to advance shared prosperity, create strong economies, and improve quality of life in downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.

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Downloads

Continuing the Legacy of a 90+ Year-Old Downtown Business

In this episode of the Main Street Business Insights podcast, Matt sits down with Danny Reynolds, owner and president of Stephenson’s of Elkhart, an independently owned high-end fashion retailer in downtown Elkhart, Indiana. For more than 90 years, Stephenson’s has undergone several transformations – from custom tailoring to everyday fashions to special occasions – always with a strong focus on customer service and community involvement. 

A man wearing glasses and a plaid suit jacket leans on a flight of stairs and smiles, standing in a clothing shop.

Elkhart, Indiana © Vala Marketing, Elkhart County CVB


Show Notes

In this episode of Main Street Business Insights, Matt sits down with Danny Reynolds, owner and president of Stephenson’s of Elkhart, an independently owned high-end fashion retailer in downtown Elkhart, Indiana. For more than 90 years, Stephenson’s has undergone several transformations – from custom tailoring to everyday fashions to special occasions – always with a strong focus on customer service and community involvement. 

Stephenson’s opened its doors in October 1931 as an upscale, appointment-only dress shop. Since the mid-1960s, the business has been owned by the Reynolds family – first by Danny’s parents, then transitioning ownership to Danny in 1994

When Danny took over as owner in the mid-1990s, change was on the horizon. Small businesses across the country, particularly retail, were facing an uncertain economic future. In the height of the big box store boom with online shopping on the horizon, Danny knew that if Stephenson’s was going to survive on Main Street, they would need to provide services and meet needs outside of what larger retailers were already doing. So today, Stephenson’s offers high-end clothing for special occasions, including bridal, homecoming, sportswear, and high-end men’s wear. This change is largely due to the in-person experience customers prefer when purchasing special occasion wear. Over the course of the last three decades, Danny has maintained this attitude of constant adaptation and transformation, always looking for the unique ways that Stephenson’s can meet his customers where they’re at. 

In their conversation, Matt and Danny discuss the overall economic landscape for clothing retailers, how Stephenson’s continues to carve out a successful niche, and the importance of connecting with customers on a personal level as well as the community at large. 

Further Reading: Learn about Stephenson’s of Elkhart | Learn about the National Retail Federation | Learn about Downtown Elkhart | Learn about Indiana Main Street 


About the Main Street Business Insights Podcast

Each week, join host Matt Wagner, Ph.D., as he travels the country and takes a deep dive into the personal journeys of downtown and neighborhood entrepreneurs. The stories that far too often go unheard. Learn about the innovative ways that these Main Street businesses have overcome adversity, whether it’s starting a new enterprise or keeping a multi-generation business alive, and the advice they have for others on how to keep their businesses on track. Main Street Business Insights is powered by Main Street America.

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Vulcan Statue © Art Meripol

Main Street Now 2024

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