Downtown Mason City - By the Numbers

The Mason City Downtown Association officially become designated as a Main Street program in 2004.  Since then Downtown has had an incredible influx of private investment in buildings, several downtown community projects, many new business startups or expansions, and an increase in available jobs.

While not all of the reported numbers can be directly tied to Main Street Mason City, our organization has helped build the atmosphere in Downtown that has promoted new jobs, new businesses, and continued private investment.  

From 2004 to the end of 2015, our downtown has had a total of 68 new business startups, business relocations to the district, or business expansions.  This has led to about 130 new full time equivalent jobs within the downtown area.  What is truly exciting is that in 2015 alone, there were 5 business starts or relocations that accounted for 5 full time jobs.  With more new businesses and projects on the horizon for downtown in 2016 and 2017, we could see these single year numbers double or even triple in the next 2 years.

Looking back on our past 11 years as a Main Street program, we are also excited to report a total of $25.2 million invested into building renovation or rehabilitation projects and an additional $6.8 million invested in the purchase of downtown buildings.  16% of the building acquisition investment took place this past year.  This indicates a level of desire to be a part of our growing and promising downtown district.  We are excited to see this trend continue as our district continues to flourish in the next 2 years.

Finally as a volunteer based organization, the Main Street Mason City program is able to report that since 2004, we have logged over 33,600 hours of volunteer time.  Our volunteers sit on our board of directors, committees, event assistants, and program/office assistants.  It is truly amazing to see the amount of time individuals in our community donate to local organizations.  We hope to see this continue as Main Street continues to pursue our mission.

With major downtown projects on the horizon, including a new hotel and an ice arena, the future of the district looks bright.  New businesses lead to new (and more) jobs in the district and a more vibrant downtown community.  How successful do you see Downtown Mason City in the next 3 years? 5 years? 10 years?

(Downtown statistics reported in this post provided by Main Street Iowa, January 2016)



Come out and support Main Street Mason City!

Each winter, Main Street Mason City hosts an annual fundraiser.  This event is to help us kick off our investment campaign and raise some of our funding to carry out our mission for the next year.  Events like this are imperative to all small not-for-profit organizations around the United States, especially those who do not draw funding from membership dues.  

Main Street Mason City works to provide a fundraising event that is FUN and EXCITING for all in attendance.  This year, we have chosen to center on a the 1920s-30s theme.  We will have live period music performed by The Hats, food and drink, casino games (with no real gambling), and a live auction packed with great packages.

We encourage all of you to attend our event this year.  By doing so, you are helping our organization continue to drive our mission and the great positive momentum in Downtown Mason City.  This year's event (The Main Street Speakeasy) will be held on Saturday, February 27 from 7-10PM at The Music Man Square.  Tickets are $40 each and can be purchased online or by calling our office.

Check out our event page for more details HERE!

Meet Your Neighbor: Art on the Plaza

Meet Art on the Plaza, located at 11 S Federal Ave!

Art on the Plaza is an artist owned art gallery located on the plaza in Downtown, Mason City (inside Bergo’s Mini-Mall).  The gallery started with 8 creative women and has grown since opening in mid November to a total of 22 artists!  


Pam Bergo Coffey, organizer for Art on the Plaza, has a strong history with Downtown and is very excited to have the new Art Gallery open.  Pam is the daughter of R. Lyle Bergo, a gentleman who has had a great impact on our Downtown.  The family legacy lives on with the Bergo’s Mini-Mall which lies in the heart of our Downtown and is now home to Art on the Plaza.

Looking to the future, Art on the Plaza plans to have education as a part of the gallery and will feature individual artists each month.  

Make sure you stop in the gallery, meet Pam and Christina Blum (gallery Director) and check out the amazing art on display!

What is a "Main Street"?

What is Main Street?

Established in 1980 as a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Main Street Center works with a nationwide network of coordinating programs and local communities to encourage preservation-based community revitalization, and has equipped more than 2,000 older commercial districts with the skills, and organizing framework they need for renewal during its 35-year history.


The Main Street movement grew out of a recognition that a community is only as strong as its core. In an era when many people had given up hope about the commercial and cultural viability of downtown, and when suburbs, shopping malls, and big box retailers were dominating the American landscape, this seemed like an unlikely proposition.  But, the practical framework outlined by the Main Street Approach, as well as the passion of the professionals and volunteers who make up the Main Street network, helped to pave the way for the renaissance of healthy, vibrant downtowns that we’re experiencing today.

Source - National Main Street Center (Main Street America) Website


Main Street Mason City is a local program of Main Street America.  In 2004, the Mason City Downtown Association earned recognition as a National Main Street community.  Because of this recognition, our program has access to state (Main Street Iowa) and national support.  As a National Main Street community, we have access to many online and in person resources to assist in the development of our Downtown community.  We follow the Main Street 4-Point Approach pioneered by Main Street America.  


What is the Main Street 4-Point Approach?

A community’s business district often accounts for as much as 30 percent of the district’s jobs and 40 percent of its tax base.  But, Main Street is more than an economic asset.  It is also a community’s center, a place that evokes strong emotions and helps define our identity.

In recent years, many approaches to commercial district revitalization, from urban renewal to paint-up, fix-up projects, have failed because they focused on just one or two problems, rather than dealing with the full spectrum of interrelated issues that affect the district.  

The National Trust Main Street Center (Main Street America) offers a comprehensive strategy to commercial district revitalization that has been widely successful in many towns and cities throughout the country.  The points described below are the keys to the success of the Main Street Four-Point Approach.


Organization means getting everyone working toward the same goal.  Using a volunteer-driven program with an organizational structure of a governing board and committees can ease the rough work of building consensus and cooperation among the groups that have an important stake in the district.


Promotion means selling the image and promise of Main Street to all prospects.  By marketing the district’s unique characteristics to shoppers, investors, new businesses, and visitors, an effective promotional strategy forges a positive image through advertising, retail promotional activity, special events, and marketing campaigns carried out by local volunteers.  It serves to improve consumer and investor confidence in the district.  


Design means getting Main Street into top physical shape.  Capitalizing on its best assets - such as historic buildings and traditional pedestrian-oriented layouts  - is just part of the story.  An inviting atmosphere, created through window displays, parking areas, building improvements, street furniture, signs, sidewalks, streetlights, and landscaping, conveys a visual message about what the commercial district is and what it has to offer.


Economic Restructuring strengthens a community’s existing economic assets while diversifying its economic base.  By helping existing businesses expand and recruiting new ones to respond to today’s market, Main Street programs help convert unused or underutilized space into economically productive property and sharpen the competitiveness and profitability of business.

Source - National Main Street Center


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Main Street Mason City!

Christmas Now And Then - by Wayne Baggerly


Well, it is December, and Christmas is almost here

Another happy Christmas for family and good cheer

There will be tables loaded with turkeys, hams and sweets

We know there will be more than we could ever eat



There will be a big tree shining so bright

With beautiful decorations and pretty shiny lights

Under that tree there will be presents galore

So many you would wonder how there could be anything left in the store



Christmas now is really so much fun

But gosh there is just too much for everyone

My thoughts go back to a cold Christmas long ago

To a family not blessed with riches and gold



Our little tree was kind of skimpy, with some ribbons and a few shiny balls

But to us it stood magnificent, the greatest of them all

Under that tree was a present for Raye, a present for Sister and a present for me

And we could hardly wait as we would open them with glee



There was not a lot of fancy food on that table, times were kind of tough

But we were all happy, and for us it was enough

We were so thankful as we thanked the Lord above

We knew what we had was paid for with Daddy's hard work and Mama's love



I'm thankful that we now have so much and our blessings are many

And it is good to live in this great land of plenty

But I would gladly give every material thing that I own

To have one more Christmas with Mama and Daddy and my two sisters at home






As the snowflakes begin to fall from the sky, allow yourself this holiday to put work on standby.  Whether you are here or there, surrounded by many or just a few, we wish a Happy Holidays to each and all of you.  


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Main Street Mason City.

MSMC Meet Your Neighbor - FION Wine Bar

December 2015: Meet Your Neighbor 

Our business highlight for December 2015 is FION Wine Bar located at 107 S Delaware Avenue in Downtown Mason City.  

FION is a wine bar located in downtown Mason City one block south of Mason City Brewing and 2 blocks east of the Park Inn Hotel.  They opened on October 29th to reveal it’s beautifully renovated space and fantastic wine options.  

FION offers a select variety of international wines to suit any wine lover’s palate. With 40 wines and 35 imported and microbrew beers, including 8 varieties of Japanese sake, to choose from, they hope to satisfy even the most discerning taste. FION also offers a minimal food menu which includes a charcuterie and cheese board.

FION is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.  If you have not had a chance to stop in and check them out - be sure to do so this month!





Welcome to our MSMC Blog!

The mission of Main Street Mason City is to enhance, promote, and preserve Downtown Mason City as a diverse business, cultural, and residential destination for the benefit of the entire community.  We are an organization who cares about the history and vibrancy of Downtown.  Through the years we have worked with various organizations to promote the changes this community desperately needed.  Our organization continues to promote further progress and make Downtown Mason City the heart of the community.

As a stand-alone organization of one staff person, we rely heavily on volunteer support.  We are blessed with a fantastic board of directors who jump at the chance to get involved with events, promotions, business recruitment, and many other tasks associated with our work.  We are not a membership organization, which allows us to provide assistance and services to all businesses within our Downtown District.  Due to our lack of membership, our organization is also heavily reliant on financial investment from local businesses and citizens.  Like any other business, we need money to cover our operating costs, this is where investment and donations play a large role.  We are very grateful to all who donate to our organization - in all amounts.

As we continue to build our Main Street blog, we will provide you with insight to our organization, happenings in Downtown, best practices from our successful businesses, and much more.  We will do our best to keep this updated a minimum of every other week and incorporate a few of our board and committee members as writers.  If there is anything you would like us to report on, write about, or questions you have about our organization, please feel free to reach out by emailing

Thank you and we look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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