Our Initiatives

All Small Business Volunteers

We're all owners, employees, and representatives of downtown Carlisle small businesses and organizations volunteering our time to help each other and our community.  There are no membership applications or fees to get involved with us.  We create opportunities and present them to our downtown neighbors, and we'll try to work on their behalf whether they take advantage of every opportunity we offer them or none of them.  If you're located in downtown Carlisle and associated with a business or organization, we want you to be successful and will do what we can to help make that happen.

Encouraging a Cooperative Downtown

One of our main goals in starting Destination Carlisle was to help merchants connect with one another and have a better understanding of the larger business community in downtown Carlisle.  Being in small business can be very isolating, as the long hours and dedication required to be successful in a system designed for big companies can often result in going through the day with blinders on because the   focus is so singular on trying to survive  that there is rarely time for anything else, especially in the first years of business.  

This can result in many missed opportunities for shared success with other businesses right next door.  We want to try to bridge that divide and present opportunities for our businesses to  get  to  know each other and to work together towards the common goal of growing our downtown.  Among  other  things, we:

  • Host regular business get-togethers, called Sip, Snack, and Chats, where all downtown businesses and organizations can come to meet their neighbors, find out what's going on downtown, ask questions, and get advice. 
  • Look for opportunities throughout the year where businesses and  organizations  can partner together and try to facilitate those interactions, such as our Farm-to-Table Downtown for Charity and facilitating Angel Tree and  Tabletop Bucket locations for The  Salvation Army.
  • Create  larger  events  where  downtown  businesses  and  organizations  can work together to   showcase  what  our  amazing  downtown has to offer,  such  as  our  Downtown  Summer  Bucket  List and Halloweekend.
  • Encourage downtown morale and pride through projects that beautify downtown, such as our Window Decorating Contests and Lamp Post Decorations.
  • Maintain an active merchant-only facebook group,  where  merchants  can  quickly  and  easily seek  advice and  talk to each other.
  • Use an  email list to update our businesses on what's coming up downtown and how they can get involved.

Fostering Business Success

Starting a new small business can be scary, especially one located in a small downtown with no built-in draw that creates foot traffic.  While there are several agencies that will advise and help new businesses get started, there are very few who have the expertise to answer merchant- or restaurant-specific questions about  what  it's  like  to  actually  do  business  in  downtown  Carlisle  before and after you get started.  And while there are vast resources available online, getting  locatlity-specific advice from others in your area can be difficult, as small businesses are understandably cautious.

Believing that our downtown does better when we all succeed, we try to facilitate getting businesses the information they need when they need it from their fellow merchants  downtown.    If we can't answer the question or address a concern, we will find who can and connect our businesses to them.  We also provide business mentoring in the guise of open conversations.  All a downtown business needs to do is ask,  and we'll make time for them.  Because we bring years or retail, restaurant, and service business experience with us as fellow merchants, we can help businesses with just about anything from how to handle a shoplifter to the sign permit process to choosing a new POS system.

If you are considering opening a business in downtown Carlisle, you need as much information about doing business here as possible.  We're willing to chat with you, too.

Improving the Downtown Experience

While we believe downtown Carlisle is a unique and truly special place, we know that there are ways we need to improve to provide our community and those who visit us with the best experience they can have.  We are always working on ways to raise awareness of what is downtown, looking at what is needed to enhance the downtown experience, and listening to our patrons, neighbors, and fellow businesses.  We try to create events and work on projects that address all of these areas and provide new opportunities for our downtown to shine.

Advocating for Businesses

Because of the devotion it takes to one's own business to be successful, it can be difficult to notice when changes in local governments or regulations may affect your business until it's too late.  We try to keep an eye on what's happening locally, regionally, and nationally that may affect our business' ability to succeed and keep our fellow merchants apprised of what's going on around them and when to pay close  attention.

We encourage our businesses to become more involved with other  organizations, charities, and local government.  We also do fact-finding, surveying, attend  meetings,  and  advocate on  behalf  of downtown businesses and when they don't have the time to do it themselves.  We realize that while  one  business'  voice is small,  the entire downtown business community, when pulling together, is a force that isn't easily ignored.  We try to serve as the glue that can bring those voices together.

Download Our Brochure

Click the button below for a pdf copy of our organization's current brochure.

whoisdestinationcarlislebooklet (pdf)