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Lincoln Park businesses get fresh paint jobs under new program

First impressions can have a big impact on the success of a business. The same is true for a whole business district, says Mark Jennings, executive director of the Lincoln Park Business Group (LPBG). That's why he has high hopes for "Paint Lincol...

First impressions can have a big impact on the success of a business. The same is true for a whole business district, says Mark Jennings, executive director of the Lincoln Park Business Group (LPBG). That's why he has high hopes for "Paint Lincoln Park," a brand new program to help Lincoln Park businesses spruce up.
"First impressions are human nature," Jennings said. "When people visit Lincoln Park, their first impressions will influence their decision to shop here, return later, or recommend us to their friends. We want the entire presence of Lincoln Park to be inviting to people to come here to visit, to shop and perhaps consider setting up their own business. People feel more comfortable and safer in an environment that's clean, neat and well presented."
Paint Lincoln Park is modeled after the city of Duluth's Storefront Program, and is designed to mesh with that program should the business owner eventually want to go that route. But painting can be a first step. And with the historic palette of colors available in paints and stains, the transition would be a smooth one. "That's the palette used by the Storefront Program," Jennings said. "We want to ensure that what is accomplished through the Paint Lincoln Park Program is compatible with the comprehensive program and make it possible for some to start with this, and if they wish later, smoothly transition into the Storefront Program."
Through Paint Lincoln Park, discount paints and stains are available at the same price paid by contractors. This is a substantial savings over the regular over-the-counter price.
Free architectural opinions are available for those who would like a licensed architect to examine their storefront and give an opinion about various treatments that might add that special touch to make the business attractive to a potential customer. This can include suggestions on paint color, lighting, accent trims and ways to integrate the business into its surroundings.
The architect, Paul Winship, also works with the city's Storefront Program, and he has experience with Lincoln Park, which is important to Jennings. "He can help ensure anything a business owner does in the Paint Lincoln Park Program fits into the city's Storefront Program. He is experienced in Lincoln Park and has studied our area in detail. It does not involve plans or drawings, anything like that. These are the thing you might think about doing. These are the colors that would go well together. Here's how you could fit into your neighborhood."
Paint Lincoln Park also includes what's called "a free curb appeal opinion." A person with 20 years experience in the arts is available to give an independent opinion of the artistic image created by the features of the storefront, like the signs, window displays and accessories.
For those shying away from storefront improvements because of the cost of labor, the Paint Lincoln Park Program is offering free labor for scraping and painting. Selected youths who have had a brush with the law are completely diverted from the criminal system through the GRACE program. "These kids live in Lincoln Park," Jennings said. "It is a chance for these kids to become assets to their community. This is where they live and their parents shop."
For more information contact the Lincoln Park Business Group at 727-6573 to ask for a referral to these resources. You will be given the name and phone number of each resource, and you may choose to use any or all of them. LPBG charges no fee, but does want to monitor the progress and success of the program.

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