Minden Main Street director’s goal: more foot traffic downtown

By Marilyn Miller

One of the newest hires for the City of Minden, Main Street Director Taylor Wren, definitely has some new and revitalized “ideas” for her position. However, her foremost “goal” is to increase foot traffic for businesses located in the Downtown Business District.

“My purpose is to help our businesses succeed,” Wren said. “We’re in the process of developing our Work Plan, and our key issue there is getting people downtown.” Other issues need to be addressed before that can happen, including parking, which has been a long-time problem for Main Street businesses.

“We have looked into the idea of shuttles,” Wren said, but “that needs to be given more thought.”

Whether it’s assistance with advertising, help with drawings, or the incorporation of things for kids, Wren is willing to look at them. And she is in favor of investing festival funds with businesses in order to finance these promotions, and more.

 “With event money I would like to offer businesses grants which could be used for such things as an air conditioner going out or a roof that needs to be replaced.”

The Minden Main Street Program is included in the City’s budget, for the director’s salary and for supplies. Everything else is funded by events, which are in turn funded by sponsorships. The Main Street Program’s Board of Directors is currently looking at other funding sources, including memberships.

“We are definitely trying to find other options to replace hitting up our businesses all the time,” Wren stated.

While “Grillin’ on Main,” the biggest money-maker, has already taken place, the Minden Main Street Program still has “Main to Main” (Nov. 3-4), the Christmas Parade (Dec. 9), and the Mardi Gras Parade (2024) to look forward to. The Vintage Car Show (Sept. 9) also takes place in the Downtown Business District (Miller Quarters Park).

“The Greater Minden Chamber of Commerce and the Webster Parish Office of Tourism have other events and we share some events,” Wren explained. “Stephanie (Barnette/Chamber) and Serena (Gray/Tourism) are great to work with. There’s already a lot of events.” Some business owners complain about road closures and even less parking during the events causing them to close early or not open at all. Wren sees this as more reason to share the revenues from festivals and parades with the businesses.

Wren, who has only been on the job for approximately six months, graduated from Minden High School before going on to earn a BS degree in Elementary Education from Louisiana Tech University and a Masters from LSU-S in Educational Leadership. She taught for three years before applying for the Main Street position.

“I like to be involved,” she said. “And I’ve always wanted to give back to my community. This gave me the opportunity to do that.” Taylor is married to Ethan Wren, who works for Benton & Brown. Her mom, Karrie Corbit, also lives in Minden.

“The Minden Main Street Program serves a whole lot more than Main Street,” Wren said, showing one of many maps that the program uses, the Downtown Historic District map. The Downtown Development District map shows the area covered by Main Street.

Minden’s Main Street Program is accredited on the National, State and City levels. In order to qualify, municipalities must have a salaried director, who must attend mandatory quarterly meetings (population determines the hours required to work) and must have a Board of Directors.

Currently Wren is making an effort to visit Minden Main Street business owners. Despite the heat, she’s given a “Shout Out” to Mandino’s Flower House, Pink Pratique, and Heavenly Treasures. She wants to visit two businesses a week, and she wants to update the Minden Main Street website, which now is used primarily for registrations.

Wren wants to encourage citizens to volunteer to help with the many events happening in Minden. “There’s always a need for more help,” she said. “People can also reach out if they want to join the Board.”

Next up…the Vintage Car Show, Sept. 9, Miller Quarters Park, Larry Gipson, chairman. Call him!