"It's the small retailer, the mom & pop offering good customer support, who know their customers by name and are making those connections that are still getting sales." These words epitomize the mentality of McPherson, a community of 13,000 in the heart of Kansas. Although small, our Downtown is comparable to cities double in size, with vacant spaces rarely lasting more than a few months. We have a good mixture of retail, service, restaurants and entertainment options, both franchise and locally owned, and are fortunate to have a strong community of supporters and business owners who are invested in each other's success. We offer 0% gap-financing options for entrepreneurs and have long tenured businesses of 30 years, managing to nurture our existing businesses while we recruit new ones to fill any gaps. We work with other groups to create sales promotions, events and activities, raising awareness of the products and services available right here in McPherson. Our member businesses not only contribute financially, but they serve on our boards and committees, they volunteer and attend our events. In keeping with the spirit of working together as a community, we have also developed strong ties with several big box stores who continually help us with funding through grants, donations and discounts, as well as serve on our committees. Together we represent a strong, unified team who work hard to raise awareness of shopping locally first and the impact it has on our local economy. We are currently working on an outdoor community center in the heart of our downtown that will be used for concerts, meetings and a place for downtown employees and shoppers to take a break and enjoy the space. Winning the $25,000 would be a welcome boost toward our goal and further our vision.