In a small community, curb appeal can determine the ability of a business to not only survive in today’s marketplace, but to also thrive.
These last days of winter offer building owners an opportunity to evaluate the condition of their property to decide what maintenance or renovation is needed this construction season.
While many of our downtown buildings have been renovated, some are showing significant wear and tear, such as rotting window trim, peeling paint, bricks in need of tuck pointing and, in some cases, faded and worn awnings. 
Fortunately there’s good news, said Vickie Phillipson, Chamber of Commerce and DDA program director.  
While the renovation of building facades is more than just spring cleaning, thanks to Mayor and Council, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) continues to offer financial assistance to downtown building owners who renovate their front facades. Monies appropriated by Council from the City's economic development budget, to fund the $10,000 annual Facade Incentive & Architectural Design Services Program, continue to be used to rejuvenate downtown storefronts.
The incentive is administered on a matching funds basis. Property owners are eligible to receive up to $2,000 for front facade renovation. Double storefronts may receive up to $4,000. The Design Review Committee will also consider a secondary side of a building, if it constitutes a major presence in the central business district. 
“With several properties having recently changed ownership and others that are following suit, we anticipate several projects will move forward this construction season,” Phillipson said. “As a result, applications will be considered on a first-come, first-ready basis.” 
Last year the program awarded $6,000. Property owners Jacqueline Hale and Steve Roll made use of the Facade program to renovate the exterior of Spa-toe-Pia and Art Found Gallery.
To receive a program application, contact the DDA and Chamber of Commerce at 782.8212 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Latest News from your Chamber

  • March 2nd, 2020

    Sign Up for Vendor Space for Summer in the City

    Dowagiac Summer in the City & Sidewalk Sales is Friday & Saturday, July 17 & 18, featuring the booths of craft, commercial, non-profit & food vendors, along with an expanded line-up of festival events. Booths will be open Friday from 10 to 6 pm & on Saturday from 10 to 4:30 pm.
    Read more ...  
  • March 2nd, 2020

    Lunch & Learn is March 11

    Join Dean Johnson and Patti Middleton-Badner of Kemner Iott Benz for Lunch & Learn on Wednesday, March 11, from noon to 1 p.m. at the Chamber office.
    Dean and Patti will briefly discuss the options for business owners who are selling their business to retire or to continue on to a new venture. They will also discuss how to form a group health insurance program for your business.
    Read more ...  
  • March 2nd, 2020

    Now’s the Time to Start Thinking Spring Maintenance

    In a small community, curb appeal can determine the ability of a business to not only survive in today’s marketplace, but to also thrive.
    These last days of winter offer building owners an opportunity to evaluate the condition of their property to decide what maintenance or renovation is needed this construction season.
    Read more ...