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What Makes Downtown Bernardsville Different from Other Local Groups?

We get this question all the time. What are we doing here at Downtown Bernardsville? What is our purpose and what makes us different from other groups in the area?

Downtown Bernardsville is a 501(c)4 non profit organization. While we have the support of our borough, we are not affiliated with our municipality. DB operates as a private organization with a board of directors and committees within that run our events and help organize future projects.

Unlike other organizations, we are 100% devoted to the revitalization effort and have adopted the Main Street 4-Point Approach toward growth. Since 1989, towns all over the country have been finding success with the Main Street program’s process and these towns continue to thrive. We intend to utilize this system as a guide and make it our own. Accreditation with the Main Street New Jersey program will provide us with training and resources from the state, however, even without this support, we will continue utilizing the 4-Point Approach as a guide, doing only what works for Bernardsville.

Its not about just one big project or a bunch of fun events. Downtown Bernardsville intends to create a solid foundation, branding Bernardsville and creating a strategic plan for one, five, ten, and twenty years. Following the 8 Guiding Principles of Main Street NJ (and America!) will be a key focus in this process. What are they? Read on.

8 Guiding Principles of a Main Street Organization

Comprehensive. Plans and execution of a short and long term strategy incorporates multiple projects to beautify the town and welcome new businesses and residents. A single project cannot revitalize a downtown or commercial neighborhood. It will be crucial to maintain a range of ongoing projects, large and small, to thrive and maintain success over the long term. Our first beautification project will be the Bernardsville Mural Project on Mount Airy Road. More to come on that in October 2019.

Incremental. Taking on the SMART goals process is incredibly important for Bernardsville’s growth. Specific, measurable, attainable, reliable, and timely will be the focus for each project and initiative we take on. Downtown Bernardsville began by running a series of events, from there we will expand by starting smaller beautification projects, create new fundraising opportunities, and build the organization from the ground up.

Self-Help. Becoming accredited with Main Street New Jersey can offer Bernardsville valuable resources, however, it is the leadership and individuals on our board of directors and planning committees that will make the difference. Perseverance is what will separate us from other failed efforts in Bernardsville’s history. We ALL must commit to pursuing the revitalization effort and work together to find success.

Public/Private Partnership. Support must come from all areas. Residents, educators, commercial property owners, business owners, employees, government staff and officials, public servants and all with an interest in preserving our town must work together to make these initiatives succeed.

Identifying and Capitalizing on Existing Assets. Our focus, while we welcome and support the development of new structures, will be to utilize the existing framework and historical foundation of Bernardsville. We consider ourselves value enhancers and will work to create or exploit the value we already have and make it better.

Quality. We don’t just organize events or create projects, we invest time to understand the community, what we want, and the best way to achieve our goals. Every single event, project, and initiative will be organized with the community in mind, growing every year and always aiming to be better and do more.

Change. What we do this year may not necessarily work five or ten years from now. Continuously evolving, understanding our market, reevaluating our community’s desires, and accepting change will allow us to be successful over the long term.

Action Oriented. We won’t have support unless we demonstrate success. Our first event, the Trunk or Treat in 2018, yielded 1,600 attendees, Restaurant Week offered thousands of diners incredible dining from our delightful establishments. We are soon embarking on beautification and other projects to demonstrate to the community that we mean business. Small, but dramatic, improvements will remind the community that the revitalization effort is underway.

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