Small Towns, Big Charm: Revitalizing Your Downtown with Small-Scale Manufacturing
Recorded On: 11/09/2021
Too many small towns and cities think economic development is all about recruitment or chasing the next "it" business sector. But the reality is that every community has an amazing economic engine sitting right under their nose: small-scale manufacturing. These businesses employee anywhere from 1 to 50 employees that make products, sell in person and online, and can help your local economy become more disaster-proof.
Join Ilana Preuss, author of Recast Your City, for a discussion about how we can flip the model on economic development in a better way that highlights the charm of our small towns, and invests in our people and places. This webinar will show you how to build a strong and resilient economy through concrete steps to include all types of talent in your entrepreneurship efforts, why (and how) to focus on small-scale manufacturing businesses as a catalyst, and how new real estate models for main street (and downtown) can be essential to your success.
ICMA Practice Areas:  Financial Management and Budgeting
Founder & CEO, Recast City
Ilana Preuss is the Founder of Recast City LLC, and author of Recast Your City: How to Save Your Downtown with Small-Scale Manufacturing. Preuss’ consulting firm works with local leaders, real estate developers, city and other civic leaders to integrate space for small-scale producers into redevelopment projects and place-based economic development. She is passionate about making great places and sees that small-scale manufacturers are a missing piece in today’s real estate and economic development efforts.
With over 20 years of experience in community development, Ms. Preuss projects at Recast City span the country – from Washington, D.C. to Honolulu, HI. Through work with small-scale manufacturing businessowners, real estate developers, foundations, city planning and economic development offices, improvement districts, and mayors, the projects go from idea to action to build great places with vibrant economies.
Ms. Preuss’ book, Recast Your City: How to Save your Downtown with Small-Scale Manufacturing, was released by Island Press in 2021. In 2017, Ms. Preuss co-authored, Made in PLACE: Small-scale manufacturing and placemaking, in partnership with Smart Growth America and funded by a grant from U.S. EDA, and she co-authored, Discovering Your City’s Maker Economy, for National League of Cities, in partnership with Etsy and Urban Manufacturing Alliance.
Ms. Preuss is an experienced speaker, see her TEDx presentation, “The Economic Power of Great Places,” and keynote speeches such as at the Northeast Maker Summit and the North Carolina Main Street conference.
Previously, Ilana was Vice President & Chief of Staff at Smart Growth America and worked in the US EPA Smart Growth Division, and she currently serves on the Board of Directors for the national non-profit, Incremental Development Alliance.