We work with small towns to mid-sized cities, generally with populations up to 250,000, and particularly those not part of larger metro areas. These are the "stand-alone" communities whose downtowns are the social and economic centers of their own micro regions.


Asset-based strategies refer to a focus on creating new combinations of what already exists in a community in terms of infrastructure, institutions, economic activity and the skills and talents of the resident population. These are strategies that recognize that typically 90 percent of new economic growth comes from within a community, from the expansion of existing enterprises and from new locally created ventures. And, this ratio is particularly true for small and mid-sized communities.

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Anchor-based strategies leverage the impact of “anchors” in a community for the economic growth and stability they can provide, particularly to revitalize downtowns. Anchors are the large institutions that are well-established in a community and prominent in terms of employment and real estate holdings. Downtown Strategies has specifically modified these strategies, customarily associated with large metropolitan areas, to work in small to mid-sized communities.

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Promoting workable economic and community development concepts


Specializing in Strategies for Small and Mid-Sized Communities.

Allan Hooper created Downtown Strategies after a 30 year career in economic development with Consumers Energy, a Fortune 500 electric and natural gas utility serving much of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. As the department manager since 2004, Allan transformed its mission to that of a laboratory for new “workable” economic and community development concepts specifically targeted to address the challenges of the many small and mid-sized cities the company served.

Allan created and managed the highly successful Michigan Small Town and Rural Development Conference from 2005 through 2014. For these conferences, he sought out the most promising concepts being used nationally for small town development and brought these thought leaders and practitioners to Michigan where hundreds of local community officials were introduced to new, practical and “doable” strategies.

Since 2013, Allan has been especially focused on retooling the concept of anchor-based economic development, formerly the province of large metropolitan areas, to make it applicable to the realities and limitations of small and mid-sized cities. This evolved into his leadership of the stand-alone Jackson Anchor Initiative from mid-2014 to 2016 where these anchor strategies have been put into practice.


Stories and Resources
October 10, 2016

Can Small Towns Succeed?

A recent guest editorial in the Battle Creek Inquirer, Battle Creek, Michigan, offers some interesting thoughts about small town assets: Do small towns face challenges? Sure. […]
October 7, 2016

Add 100’s to Your Town’s Population in 90 Days or Less

This title sounds like a community’s version of a get rich infomercial. However, stay with this for a couple of paragraphs and see if it just […]