MONROE — Businesses in downtown Monroe are now connected to shoppers within and beyond the state of Wisconsin thanks to Main Street and a newly launched virtual portal. Main Street Monroe, which is part of the state Main Street program in the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporations, uploaded store profiles for shops within its historic district that offer online shopping.
The website, mainstreetwi.com, provides a searchable database of more than 230 locally owned shops that offer online sales and shipping. Visitors can choose to search by geography or by product category. Currently three Monroe stores, Toy Haus, Artful Gourmet and 213 Mercantile, offer online shopping. Toy Haus and Artful Gourmet did not offer online shopping prior to the pandemic.
There are more than 200 shops listed on the site, offering a wide array of goods — specialty food, apparel, home goods, toys, gifts and more. To be listed, shops must be located in one of the 34 Wisconsin Main Street communities. Jordan Nordby, Main Street Monroe executive director, expects additional stores to be developing online websites. He also noted that Facebook, including Main Street’s LIVE! shopping nights have connected customers with over a dozen additional stores.
The Main Street Marketplace helps businesses and consumers make these connections while also showcasing the wide variety of retail offerings available in Wisconsin — from clothing to coffee and from vintage vinyl records to decorative glass.
Wisconsin Main Street is a community development program administered by WEDC that targets Wisconsin’s historic commercial districts. WEDC provides technical support and training to the 34 Main Street communities to help them revitalize their business districts based on guidelines developed by the National Main Street Center.