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Welcome to one of Kansas’s hidden gems – the quaint, historic, and economically diverse “Main Street” of downtown Sterling. 

Broadway Avenue serves as Sterling's primary business district.

Here, you’ll find a delightful blend of small-town charm, welcoming locals, a variety of shops, eateries, and attractions to explore.

Start your visit by taking a leisurely stroll down the tree-lined streets, soaking in the picturesque scenery and beautifully preserved architecture. As you walk, you’ll discover a treasure trove of local boutiques, antique stores, and specialty shops, offering everything from handmade crafts to unique gifts. Whether you’re a fashion enthusiast, a vintage collector, or simply looking for something special, downtown Sterling has it all.

If you’re a coffee lover, downtown Sterling won’t disappoint. The area is dotted with a cozy coffee shop, a specialty roaster, and shops selling your favorite mug options.  

Grab your drink to-go and meander by the fabulous artwork up and down Broadway.  Bronze bunnies, murals, and community parks make this Norman Rockwell type town come to life. 

In addition to the shopping and dining experiences, downtown Sterling hosts a variety of community events throughout the year. From farmers markets and art walks to parades and live music performances, there’s always something happening to keep locals and visitors entertained. These events provide a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant community and connect with the friendly residents of Sterling, KS.

Downtown Sterling, KS is not just a place to visit; it’s a place to experience the true essence of a welcoming Midwest community. 



On a Mission to Revitalize Downtown Sterling! 

Main Street Sterling (MSS) is a community-based non-profit organization dedicated to the renovation, revitalization, and future growth of the City of Sterling downtown area.


MSS fulfills its purpose through public/private partnerships with the City of Sterling, Rice County Economic Development, and many private organizations, businesses, and individuals.   


MSS works closely with the City of Sterling on attracting businesses to downtown by using the 4-Point Main Street Approach of Design, Economic Vitality, Promotion, and Organization.  By carefully integrating these 4-Points into a practical downtown management strategy, MSS produces positive changes in the community’s economic base.


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For a Main Street town, Design involves “enhancing the physical appearance of the commercial district by rehabilitating historic buildings, encouraging supportive, new construction, developing sensitive design management systems, and long-term planning.” So, what does this mean for Sterling?

A prosperous, attractive downtown business district becomes a “visible barometer” for the well-being of the entire community. Over the years, Main Street Sterling has been instrumental in enhancing the visual quality of downtown through: obtaining the beautiful street lamps, banners, benches and trash receptacles; planning and planting the flower pots and landscaping along the sidewalks; and providing renditions, drawings and recommendations for paint colors and facade improvements.There is even a matching fund available for downtown businesses to make these improvements, thereby maintaining the handsome historical buildings in downtown Sterling. The old cliche, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” is true. Visitors and traveler’s positive perception about Sterling is due in large part to a caring city and community in addition to the efforts of the Main Street Design committee.


Economic Vitality involves recruiting new businesses, creatively converting unused spaces, sharpening the competitiveness of the merchants, and attracting investors.  Promotion creates excitement downtown with retail events and social media promotion. It involves marketing an enticing image to shoppers, investors, and visitors.

By helping existing businesses expand and assisting in recruiting new businesses, Main Street programs maintain a productive, healthy downtown district. Activities usually include: studying local market conditions, helping existing businesses find better ways to meet customers’ needs, finding uses for underused or vacant, downtown buildings to boost profitability, promoting the downtown marketplace and developing long-term strategies for downtown. Economic Vitality is an on-going process and requires both public and private sectors in the community for success. It should be community driven, building on local assets maximizing hidden potential and working closely with the Main Street promotion and design activities. The goal is to build a commercial district that responds to the needs of today’s consumers while maintaining the community’s historic character.



According to the National Main Street Center, “promotion takes many forms, but the goal is to create a positive image that will rekindle community pride and improve consumer and investor confidence in your commercial district. Advertising, retail promotions, special events, and marketing campaigns… communicate your commercial district’s unique characteristics, business establishments, and activities to shoppers, investors, potential business and property owners, and visitors.” A good promotion must drive traffic, sales, publicity and/or fundraising.” A good promotion must drive traffic, sales, publicity and/or fundraising.


When considering promotions in Sterling, we ask several question: What assets do we need to promote? What do we need to “show off?” What is Sterling’s personality? How do we advertise all these things to both residents and visitors?

To answer these questions, we look to our distinctive geography, buildings, people, businesses and past to decide potential points to promote Sterling. But, we also consider what Sterling visitors and newcomers see with their fresh, new eyes. As Vince Lombardi noted, “Image isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.”

Through Main Street Sterling and the Chamber of Commerce, many events are already being held in Sterling each year that endorse Sterling’s image. Some of these events include Pots N Pedals, the Old Fashioned 4th of July, Warrior Fest and the Christmas Festival. These are very successful events due to the passionate, caring and efficient volunteer force in this town. We are fortunate to have such talented people willing to use their time and gifts to promote Sterling.


Organization involves building a framework of partners represented by business owners, property owners, bankers, citizens, public officials, etc., all working together to renew downtown.

The City of Sterling provides yearly funding for a portion of MSS' work.  We are truly appreciative of this support.  

MSS is governed by a dynamic Chamber of Commerce Subcommittee and the Chamber's Board of Directors, carefully selected from multiple business categories, retail, downtown residency, and for passion for the mission.  Our Subcommittee Chair is Meg Van Dyk.


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