On-going Business Support

The DFP is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1999 to revitalize downtown Fond du Lac. Led by a board of directors, staff, and hard-working volunteers, the DFP manages and works to enhance, revitalize, and redevelop Fond du Lac’s central business district. The DFP is part of the Wisconsin Main Street Program, a comprehensive revitalization program designed to promote the historic and economic redevelopment of traditional business districts. Four elements combine to form a multifaceted approach to downtown development and provide resources for business and property owners in the downtown district.

ORGANIZATION involves building a Main Street framework that is well represented by civic groups, merchants, bankers, citizens, public officials and chambers of commerce. DFP examples: Meet Me Downtown, Monthly Newsletters, Networking & Educational Sessions for Business Owners, Volunteer Coordination, Discount Cards.

  • Meet Me Downtown
    • A quarterly social event for downtown business & property owners. New businesses from the previous quarter of the calendar year are welcomed as guests of honor. Annually, the first week of August is “Meet Me Downtown Week;” a week of promotions from downtown retailers specially designed for downtown employees.
  • Monthly Newsletters
    • Distributed via email to downtown business and property owners and archived on the "Publications" page.
  • Downtown Morning Marketing Meetups
    • These are usually no agenda meetups among downtown business and property owners. On occasion, we’ll have a specific topic to cover, but most of the time these meetups are designed as brainstorming and troubleshooting roundtables. Attendees put their name in a hat and we draw a name, they give us their marketing question and then everyone gives them feedback while a timer goes for five minutes. When that five minutes is up, we draw a new name. The questions raised vary from business to business so we’ve addressed things like best text for a sandwich board, how to capitalize on downtown events, what types of products can be placed outside to sell when there are no events, etc. On occasion we also vary from this process to host one of the follwoing topics: Deep Dive (specific training on one topic), Event Advantages (how to get the most out of an upcoming downtown event), and Guest Presenters (experience from comparable communities). Monthly meetups occur on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 8 a.m. at rotating locations.
    • In the interest of using the meetups as partnering opportunities, we rotate locations on a monthly basis. If you would like to have the group meet in your space, please let us know. The host simply needs to provide enough seating for 10-15 people at 8 a.m. on the third Wednesday of the month. 
  • Fond du Lac Marketing Professionals Partnership
    • Fond du Lac Marketing Professionals (FMP) is a program of the Fond du Lac Association of Commerce. We have partnered with them to provide a free membership for any downtown business representatives (ordinarily a $100 cost per person). The group is made of marketing professionals from businesses through Fond du Lac, so the topics of the workshops are intended to address marketing questions in depth. In the past, they have done workshops on Search Engine Optimization, Google Ad Words and Analytics, etc.
  • Volunteers
    • Volunteers are a key component in successful events and committee work. Details of committee opportunities are available on the "Committees" page. Event volunteers are welcome to assist before, during, or after events and full details are available by emailing info@downtownfdl.com. Farmers Market volunteer details are available on the "Farmers Market Involvement" page.
  • Downtown Discount Cards
    • As an incentive to help raise operational funding for the DFP, a discount card promotion (similar to the quarterback club) is available to employees of companies that help support the DFP through corporate sponsorships. The cards will be good through the end of each calendar year. All discounts are listed at www.downtownfdl.com/discounts. If you would like to add a discount for your business, please contact us.

DESIGN enhances the attractiveness of the business district. DFP examples: Grant programs for building and façade improvements, Adopt-A-Planter program, investment in signage, trash receptacles, holiday decorations.

  • Facade Grants
    • Numerous grant and loan programs are available to downtown businesses. Full details on the "Financial Incentives" page.
  • Adopt-a-Planter or Park
    • Local businesses may opt to "adopt" a planter or park in the downtown area. Adoption includes general upkeep of the planter or and park and planting of flowers and foliage.
  • Downtown Cleanup Day
    • Each spring, the DFP partners with the City to help business owners dispense of bulk waste for free. Volunteers take part in a downtown cleanup on this day as well. Business owners and employees are encouraged to the join the cleanup!

PROMOTION creates excitement downtown. DFP examples: Wednesday and Saturday Downtown Fond du Lac Farmers Market, Fondue Fest, Chili Crawl, Monster March, Shop Small Holiday Campaign, Downtown Gift Certificates

  • Special Events
    • The DFP organizes many special events throughout the year which bring several thousand visitors to the downtown area.
    • For Farmers Market, businesses within the market area who would like to reserve a 10x10 space in front of their building each week. Businesses outside the market area may also reserve a 10x10 space during the market. We request that businesses who reserve spaces commit to utilizing their space in some way every Saturday; this could be as small as placing a sandwich board in the space to encourage customers to come inside during the market or as involved as a tent full of merchandise.
    • Businesses who do not need a space every week are eligible to request one 10x10 space for free on any Saturday. Space will be granted wherever it is available and the location of the space may change based on vendor attendance from week-to-week. This option may be particularly useful for businesses outside the market area.
  • Sponsorship Opportunities
    • Sponsorship of downtown events can be an exceptional marketing tool for your business. Full details of special event sponsorship and corporate sponsorship options are available by clicking here.
  • Marketing Assistance
    • Staff at the DFP are happy to sit down with business owners to assist with writing press releases or brainstorming marketing ideas. Attendance at the Downtown Morning Marketing Meetups will give business owners a chance to share ideas and best practices with others.
  • Web Development Connections
    • The BBS Agency, a downtown web development company, offers a special website package deal exclusively for downtown businesses. Big thanks to owners Vincent and Kelly Wondra for being great neighbors to everyone downtown! View the demo site here: fdlwebsite.com
  • Events Calendars
    • The Downtown Fond du Lac website event listing is yours to fill! You can see the list of events on downtownfdl.com and can add your event by clicking on the MEMBERS button in the upper-right hand corner of the page. Login to your account and you can update your events as well as your business listing page. If you need help with the process, don’t hesitate to give us a call for a quick tutorial.
    • The DFP Facebook event page now showcases your business’s events in addition to events organized by the DFP. If you have a Facebook event page for an event and we’re missing it, please don’t hesitate to reach out!
    • The Convention and Visitors Bureau recently provided the DFP with a binder of information from their Social Media Consultant on best practices in Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram as well as several social media “cheat sheets.” If you would like assistance with social media marketing, the binder is available for you to borrow and Dusty is happy to sit down with you as well. If your business would like assistance with a press release or other marketing, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
  • Social Media Ads and Education Materials
    • The DFP offers Facebook ad service to downtown businesses for cost of ad, plus $10 for staff time. The ad will be featured on the DFP Facebook page, which reaches approximately 6,000 people per week.
    • The Convention and Visitors Bureau recently provided the DFP with a binder of information from their Social Media Consultant on best practices in Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram as well as several social media “cheat sheets.” If you would like assistance with social media marketing, the binder is available for you to borrow.
  • Downtown Gift Certificates
    • Businesses can redeem the certificate by bringing or mailing the certificate to the DFP office at 30 S. Portland St. A check will be issued within 2 business days after receiving the certificate in the office.The certificates are not redeemable for cash, but change will be given when the purchase is not for the full face value of the certificate. 
    • If your business would like to be added or removed from the participating business list, please email info@downtownfdl.com. Web listings will be updated immediately. Printed copies of certificates will be updated during the next printing cycle.
    • Downtown Fond du Lac Gift Certificates expire one year from the date issued.
    • This is a no-charge service we provide for the businesses and customers of Downtown Fond du Lac.
    • You may request a "Downtown Gift Certificates Accepted Here" table tent for your counter at any time.  

ECONOMIC VITALITY involves analyzing current market forces to develop long-term solutions. DFP examples: Market Analysis, Business Start-up Assistance, Business Recruitment, Property Listings, Vision Planning for the Arts & Entertainment District, the Riverwalk District and The Gateway District

  • Property Listings
  • Building Improvement Grants & Loans
    • Numerous grant and loan programs are available to downtown businesses. Full details on the "Financial Incentives" page.