Downtown Cambridge believes in small businesses and the difference they can make for our community. Our organization’s mission is focused squarely on the goal of creating a climate for business & historic development in the downtown district.
Thinking about opening a shop, restaurant, or office in our downtown? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We would love to help.
MARKETING / PROMOTIONS DEVELOPMENT
- Maintain and update this website with free business profiles.
- Send monthly e-newsletter, Downtown News, to 2,000 recipients.
- Deliver one-page Weekend Roundup to area resorts, hotels and B&Bs and email subscriber list.
- Prepare media releases publicizing upcoming events and news about downtown.
- Operate Facebook fan page with more than 9,500 “likes” and growing.
- Operate an Instagram account with 1,500 followers and growing.
- Prepare an annual events bookmark
- Prepare an annual Downtown Guide to Restaurants, Shops, and Attractions
- Prepare a self-guided architectural Walking Tour brochure
- Support & help promote Monthly Second Saturdays, all day / 5-8 pm Art Stroll
- GrooveFEST: Blues, Brews & BBQ festival: Third Saturday of September
- The Taste of Cambridge: Second Saturday in July
- Groove City Culture Fest: Celebrating Black Culture: Third Saturday August
- Bushel Basket Christmas Tree, First Saturday of December
- Small Business Saturday, Saturday following Thanksgiving
Downtown Cambridge Main Street also delivers marketing and other support services to events run by individual businesses and organizations downtown. See the full downtown calendar of events here.
- Facilitate cooperative advertising with downtown businesses, often at discounted non-profit rates.
- Coordinate cooperative planning for holiday and other seasonal promotions.
- Support & help promote individual merchant events throughout the year including group promotional activities
- Use “Soul of the Shore” branding and marketing to help drive message about downtown Cambridge
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT RESOURCES
ACCESS TO STATE LOANS/PROGRAMS
The following state programs give priority attention to applications from businesses in Main Street districts like ours:
- Be Smart: Energy Efficiency Loans
- Neighborhood Business Works Loans
- Sustainable Communities Rehabilitation Tax Credits
- SBDA Business Support and programs
- Building Improvement Grants for targeted downtown projects
ACCESS to local incentives include:
- City & County property tax abatement programs for significantly improved properties
WORKSHOPS & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
- Throughout the year, we offer retail and restaurant, hospitality workshops just for our downtown businesses
- Sign up for our downtown business communications network and get information specific to being a business in the Main Street district! Sign up using the form on this page.
- Regular merchant meetings to organize ideas, projects and initiatives through business cooperation,
- FREE DOWNTOWN WiFi – Downtown Wireless Network named under “Cambridge Main Street”
- Current Initiatives include: Business Retention & Growth (BIRE) program with SBDC consultant Garrett Glover
- Relationship building with area and state agencies like City & County Economic Development offices, Department of Commerce, Small Business Development Center, area lenders and real estate firms, State of Maryland.
- Annual accommodations hospitality tour of downtown businesses
STREETSCAPE & GREEN TEAM
- Flowerpot program
- Streetscape cleanups
- Support maintenance of traffic islands and parking areas
- Banners and holiday decor for downtown lampposts
- Facade Improvement Program (funding currently unavailable) or targeting Building Improvement program for targeted prioritized properties
- Creative Placemaking Initiatives, including downtown public art initiative
- Downtown Decorative Lighting Project (continuing along Race Street 2019 & 2020)
- Electric Vehicle Chargers
- Targeted vacant lot investment & improvements
- Downtown Security Cameras
Start a business in downtown Cambridge
Cambridge Venture Capital Fund I, LLC
Cambridge entrepreneurs could receive $50,000 in assistance through new venture capital fund!
Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Dreaming of opening a retail shop? You may qualify for up to $50,000 in assistance from the Cambridge Venture Capital Fund I, LLC, formed in 2012 by local business people. The funds are available to entrepreneurs hoping to open retail shops (sorry, no restaurants) in the core of downtown Cambridge on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
- Low-interest loans or other assistance up to $50,000 per entrepreneur.
- Funds can be used for inventory, building improvements, signage, marketing, point of sale systems, and more.
- The Venture Capital Fund also offers advice and guidance from a seasoned businessperson.
- Entrepreneur must develop a business plan and present it to the members of the Cambridge Venture Capital Fund.
- Entrepreneur must be able to provide 10 percent of the capital. So if you’re applying for $50,000, you need to have $5,000 in hand.
- Only retail businesses will be considered. Sorry, no restaurants or service businesses.
- Retail concept should be something that fills a need in the existing retail scene in downtown Cambridge.
A few ideas: Clothing for men, women, and/or children, Toys, Shoes, Cards, Sporting goods, Jewelry, Antiques, Flowers, Home decor, Furnishings
- Must be a new business, not a new location; not an expansion of an existing business.
The Cambridge Venture Capital Fund will consider plans for retail businesses on these streets:
- 300 block of High Street
- 500 block of Poplar Street
- 400 and 500 blocks of Race Street
To get started, call Brett Summers at 202.315.1108.
Merchant Promotions Committee
Join us as a part of the Merchants Promotions Committee, meeting monthly for coffee and planning sessions for select merchant promotions. Quarterly wider merchants meetings are also organized to touch base on challenges, special projects happening in the downtown, and more.
Contact to learn more about how you can get involved.
Market Analysis 2009
For Downtown Cambridge
“Cambridge is ripe to be the next significant revitalization success story in the State of Maryland,” according to a newly released report that analyzes the potential for entrepreneurship development in downtown Cambridge.The nearly 100-page market and positioning study was funded by the Community Legacy program in the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development. Looking at the past, present, and potential future of Cambridge, the report includes recommendations that would strengthen downtown’s economic and retail environment.
Briefly, the report recommends improving the connection between downtown and the waterfront; bolstering downtown as a center for arts, creativity, and microenterprise development; and shaping the commercial district and waterfront as destinations for retail, entertainment, and cultural activities.
The study was conducted by Economic Development Visions, which specializes in economic development and downtown revitalization. The recommendation to do the study came out of the 2006 R/UDAT (Regional/Urban Design Assistance Team) report.
Download the report, A Commercial District Revitalization Framework Plan for Downtown Cambridge, Maryland (4.5 MB PDF).
Download the Market Analysis Appendix (1.1 MB PDF).