News and Events

Wetumpka picked for new HGTV series ‘Home Town Takeover’

Posted on Jul 02, 2020

WETUMPKA, Ala. (WSFA) - Wetumpka has been selected for the new HGTV series “Home Town Takeover.”

Wetumpka was picked after a months-long nationwide search for a small town for Ben and Erin Napier to take over and make over, according to HGTV.

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How Atmore became a designated community

Posted on Jul 02, 2020

Atmore became affiliated with the Main Street Alabama program through the Network tier in 2015. At this introductory level, members become more familiar with the program, attend training workshops at a discounted rate, and are given the opportunity to visit other Designated cities to see first­hand the success of Main Street. Earlier this year, after meeting many milestones including securing funding for many projects in the district, and realizing the need to move forward with Designation, the steering committee, that included representatives from the City, Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce, and Pride of Atmore, attended application workshops in Enterprise, Birmingham, and South Huntsville.
By March when the pandemic hit, the committee decided to move forward with the application as they felt the Main Street Alabama program was needed more than ever due to the impact of COVID-19 on their small businesses. By expressing the need for Main Street and the capacity to maintain a program, Atmore officially became a Main Street Alabama Designated community in June 2020.

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Atmore wins jackpot with Main Street Alabama designation

Posted on Jun 11, 2020

Many travelers along Interstate 65 in southwest Alabama recognize Atmore as home of the Wind Creek Casino, but travel just five more miles to find the pride of the community – the historic downtown district.

On June 6, Main Street Alabama announced that Atmore had been selected as a new Main Street Alabama Designated Community.

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Main Street releases market study details

Posted on Jun 09, 2020

Invited guests last Wednesday attended the release of a detailed market study for Main Street Enterprise at the civic center.

Main Street Director Cassidi Kendrick said the program, largely compiled and presented by Jay Schlinsog of Downtown Professionals Network and Main Street Alabama Coordinator Mary Helmer, was the result of about nine months of work.

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Atmore Receives ‘Main Street Alabama’ Designation

Posted on Jun 06, 2020

“Main Street works 100% of the time if the community is willing to work,” said Main Street Alabama State Coordinator Mary Helmer. “Atmore impressed upon the selection committee that they had the work ethic to become a successful Main Street program that will bring jobs, dollars, and people back to the district.”

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Posted on Jun 05, 2020

Many travelers along I-65 in southwest Alabama recognize Atmore as home of the Wind Creek Casino, but travel just five more miles to find the pride of the community - the historic downtown district.

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Atmore awarded as designation city by Main Street Alabama

Posted on Jun 05, 2020

Main Street Alabama announced today that city of Atmore has been awarded the organization’s designation, according to officials.

Main Street Alabama is a private non-profit and state coordinating program of Main Street America. The National Main Street Four Point Approach™ is an over 40 year model that focuses work in four areas: organization, design, promotion and economic vitality with strategies unique to the community and based on market-based outcome.

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Athens Saturday Market returns this weekend

Posted on Jun 04, 2020

You can purchase fresh produce, baked goods, music, art and crafts at the Green Street Pavilion.

Athens Main Street executive director Tere Richardson says it can be a good way to get outside, shop local, and still stay 6 feet apart.

“If you ever needed music, now is the time. Come down, we’ve got our rockers and our picnic tables social distanced so you can get some beignets and be social distanced and really have a nice time and support our local farmers and artisans,” said Richardson.

The market is every Saturday through August beginning this week at Green Street Pavilion. You can shop from 8 a.m. until noon.

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Enterprise Main Street striving to grow downtown

Posted on Jun 04, 2020

Enterprise Main Street is doing its part to help build the downtown experience.

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New fund launched to aid small businesses impacted by Sunday unrest: Here's how you can help

Posted on Jun 01, 2020

A new fund has been created in Birmingham to aid businesses that were affected by the rioting and unrest that occurred Sunday night in downtown Birmingham.

The Birmingham Business Relief Fund will support small businesses and storefronts that sustained damage during the unrest, which prompted a nightly curfew that will begin on Monday at 7 p.m.

The new fund will be administered by the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham.

Spire will provide seed money for the fund, which is a collaborative effort between REV Birmingham, Urban Impact, the Birmingham Business Alliance, the city of Birmingham and the Community Foundation.

You can find more details and make donations here.

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Customers returning downtown; First Friday for June won’t

Posted on Jun 01, 2020

First Friday in downtown Gadsden has become a signature event, drawing large numbers of people to enjoy music, visit food vendors and local restaurants, and local retailers staying open late to welcome them in.

But Downtown Gadsden Inc. Executive Director Kay Moore said because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the event won’t be back for June.

“I want to be careful,” Moore said, before hosting an event that brings 10,000 people to gather in a few blocks of Broad Street where it is not possible to social distance as recommended by health care officials.

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DOWNTOWN TURNAROUND: Temporary parklets will raise revenue for restaurants

Posted on May 13, 2020

Hoping to throw a lifeline to downtown Athens restaurants and retail stores, city officials have agreed to let restaurants temporarily block off parking spaces for use as outdoor dining space.

By allowing restaurants to take the action over the next four to six weeks, restaurants could recoup losses suffered during the state shutdown to fight novel coronavirus.

Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks is allowing restaurants to apply convert lots to outdoor dining. Athens City Council members approved the mayor's action during the council meeting Monday.

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Gadsden salon won’t open until next week so owners can take extra precautions

Posted on May 13, 2020

GADSDEN, Ala. (WBRC) - Even though Governor Ivey gave the OK for salons to open Monday, the owners of one salon in Gadsden say they aren’t ready to take that step yet.

The Moxie Salon, located in the old Printup Hotel in downtown Gadsden, will remain closed until next week.

Brad Norris, who co-owns the salon with his wife, says he wants to go above and beyond to keep his business safe for its customers.

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Alabama reopens: Is it worth it?

Posted on May 13, 2020

Alabama opened in ways Monday, tentative and halting and with varying degrees of enthusiasm.

At the Fish Market in downtown Birmingham, where George Sarris has held court for 37 years, the restaurant opened for lunch, but served only about a dozen customers in the first two hours, he said.

They ate off plastic plates, with individually wrapped condiments, on tables clean but far apart. It was dining out, but he admitted it lacked the typical “vibe.”

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Helping Small Businesses, Keeping Main Streets Viable

Posted on May 06, 2020

The mission statement is only four words: Creating jobs. Keeping character.

The work of Main Street Alabama is crucial during normal times. Even more so during the pandemic. More than two dozen communities rely on guidance and support from the nonprofit organization.

“Main Street Alabama has been extraordinarily proactive during the COVID crisis, sharing daily information, strategies, webinars and other educational programs,” said Paul Carruthers, a Regions banker and longtime board member of the statewide organization. “There has been a sharing of ideas on how to assist small businesses in Main Street communities, how to change and increase marketing efforts, and educating small businesses on how to increase sales via online avenues and promotions.”

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Jake’s relies heavily on support from community

Posted on May 06, 2020

One of the biggest things that has helped keep Jake’s on Broad afloat is the support of the community and organizations such as Main Street Alexander City.

“If it wasn’t for this small community getting behind us, I don’t know if I would have made it,” owner Jake Mixon said.

The locally owned and operated family restaurant, Jake’s has been a staple in the community for years and now more than ever Mixon is appreciative of the constant support.

While Jake’s currently is offering only curbside pickup due to Gov. Kay Ivey’s restrictions, Mixon said business is still pretty steady.

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‘Keep Opelika On Track’ T-shirts available for purchase to help downtown businesses

Posted on May 06, 2020

The COVID-19 outbreak has effected all parts of our community, especially impacting our small businesses.

As part of our goal to promote a strong and prosperous downtown, Opelika Main Street has launched a Keep Opelika On Track t-shirt to help assist our downtown merchants during this time.

The shirts, made locally by Victory Designs, are $20 each with $12 going directly to Opelika Main Street’s downtown member restaurants, entertainment venues and retail shops.

“This is a great way for us to get much needed dollars into the hands of our small businesses,” said Opelika Main Street Executive Director Ken Ward. “We hope this will be a way for the Opelika and Lee County community to show their support for our great local businesses during this unprecedented time.”

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New hobby, gaming store locates to downtown Calera

Posted on Apr 30, 2020

Family hobby and gaming store R.O.E. Hobby has moved to downtown Calera and is set to open Friday, May 1, Calera Main Street announced Wednesday, April 29.

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Foley Main Street looking towards future after COVID-19

Posted on Apr 25, 2020

FOLEY - Though COVID-19 has closed down numerous businesses across the world, Foley Main Street is still hard at work looking towards the future after the pandemic has ended. Foley Main Street, which kicked off back in 2018 after a long application process, is designed to help cities’ downtown areas further develop and bring the area to life.

Since the beginning of 2020, Foley Main Street’s Facebook page has gone from 1,690 followers to 2,893 followers, while the Instagram account has gone from 416 followers in Dec. 2019 to 687 followers as of April.

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Downtown Wetumpka merchants dance their troubles away while waiting for shutdown to lift

Posted on Apr 24, 2020

WETUMPKA — Business owners in downtown Wetumpka busted a move Friday morning, all part of a combination hootenanny and dance off.

Main Street Wetumpka and the Wetumpka Area Chamber of Commerce, along with downtown merchants, danced to Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop The Feeling." The party was videotaped and will be posted on social media.

"With everyone staying at home, the Wetumpka businesses are ready to get back to work as soon as guidelines say it is time to open the economy again," Pam Martin said.

It all kicked off in the mayor's office, with Mayor Jerry Willis doing the old soft-shoe.

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Meet Andrew Jones, CEO of Fly V Apparel Brand

Posted on Apr 23, 2020

As a small-business owner, Andrew Jones pays attention to detail. Take, for example, the name of his apparel brand, FLY V.

“FLY is an acronym for Forever Live Young, and V is symbolization for wellness and empowerment,” Jones said. “V is the only letter in the alphabet that has one origin and grows upward in two different directions. I took on the meaning for the letter V having one origin, meaning no matter the direction, you always grow upward, stay rooted, and remember where you started.”

Jones, FLY V founder and CEO, opened his first store in 2016. Now his clothing is sold in more than 30 stores across the Southeast, and his flagship FLY V Showroom is in downtown Birmingham’s historic 4th Avenue Business District.

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Montevallo small businesses struggle as COVID-19 restrictions continue

Posted on Apr 22, 2020

MONTEVALLO, Ala. (WBMA) — This is Main Street in Montevallo, in Shelby County, Ala. It was booming not long ago. The mom and pop businesses here give this small city of 6,600 people its personality.

But now, COVID-19 restrictions have forced businesses to temporarily close or operate on a much smaller scale.

Phil and Suzanne Hurst own Falcon Art Supply. It’s closed for now. And the schools it supplies are closed, too.

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Music on social media: Artists share songs of hope, strength

Posted on Apr 18, 2020

DECATUR, Ala. (AP) — With bars, restaurants, performance spaces, concert halls and arenas shuttered due to the coronavirus, musicians, from up-and-coming artists to regional draws to international stars, turned to social media.

Performing in front of cellphones and iPads, the artists share songs of hope, strength and encouragement.

“Music is essential. Vital. I’m not sure I know of a time when music is as important as it is when there’s suffering and fear,” said Decatur singer-songwriter Tim Tucker.

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Are you ready for your close-up?

Posted on Apr 13, 2020

In the days before COVID-19 and social distancing dominated the headlines, Montevallo Main Street Design Committee volunteers Jan and John McKinnon designed and built an interactive photo spot downtown.

“The Main Street Design Committee was looking for interactive activities that would engage the public and bring them to the downtown area,” Jan said. She and her husband created a free-standing frame that invites people to take a photo under Main Street’s tagline, “Make your mark on Montevallo!”

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#Sidewalkvibes art encourages community

Posted on Apr 13, 2020

A tight-knit community that is known for taking care of each other, Columbiana has managed to find ways to encourage its citizens while maintaining physical activity and safe distancing.
Chosen as the county seat in 1826, Columbiana has an old-town charm that lends itself well to those who need to get outside and move during the quarantine.

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Downtown Opelika adapting, improving to survive COVID-19

Posted on Apr 12, 2020

So, what’s it like trying to keep a shop going in downtown Opelika during the COVID-19 outbreak?

“Oh, well, we’re not making what we made before,” said Southern Crossing owner Valerie Smith, “but we have actually been slammed this week with Easter. We implemented free delivery — we’ve never delivered before. And we’re doing curbside from 1-4 p.m. every day.”

There has been a big run on Easter baskets for the shop, which is on South Railroad Avenue next to Ma Fia’s Ristorante.

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Historic video tours of Wetumpka to be online this week

Posted on Mar 31, 2020

In an effort to keep residents informed, educated and entertained for the next few weeks, Main Street Wetumpka announced plans to detail Wetumpka’s historic downtown in a series of videos.

Main Street Wetumpka executive director Jenny Stubbs said the idea came about after she recently found a hand-drawn map from 1972 by local artist Austin R. Martin in the back of a book.

“I’ve never seen the book or map before but because I have delved into the history of Wetumpka the past four years, people have sent me odds and ends,” she said.

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Spend Local Safely: Five Ways You Can Support Your Main Street Businesses During the Coronavirus

Posted on Mar 27, 2020

The new coronavirus is first and foremost a threat to the health of millions of Americans. Thousands of suspected cases have been confirmed with countless others yet to be tested, putting an unprecedented strain on health care professionals and hospitals.

But the effects of COVID-19 are being felt just as acutely by small businesses. Across the country, main street corridors packed with historic buildings stand silent, as the customers who typically flock to these places wisely stay home. The results are exactly what you’d expect: Without their primary source of revenue, local shops and businesses must make difficult decisions about whether to lay off workers, or even close permanently.

The National Trust's Main Street America program is seeking to minimize the blow by guiding Main Street communities through the crisis. “The impact of COVID-19 on small businesses and local economies is already significant and appears likely to become even more extensive,” says Matthew Wagner, vice president of revitalization programs at Main Street America.

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‘Everybody is making a sacrifice’: How one Alabama main street is coping

Posted on Mar 27, 2020

Only 12 weeks ago when the coronavirus was getting a ripple of news in faraway China, Gadsden’s Back Forty Beer Co. was projecting 15 percent growth for 2020.

But within the last week, the dominoes started falling. Now owner Jason Wilson is looking at a loss of about 65 percent of his revenue due to the social distancing measures in place for containing the virus. At the same time, the brewery’s taproom and kitchen are seeing all-time highs in takeout orders and to-go beer sales from community support.

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Jasper is becoming one of Alabama’s best towns for trails and outdoor recreation

Posted on Mar 12, 2020

Once a coal-driven community, Jasper has been hard at work rebranding the identity of its small town. The city wants to embrace a culture of health and sustainability and capitalize on a different resource: the great outdoors.

Its vision is to become a recreational destination and trail town, along the lines of a “mini” Asheville, North Carolina.

Jasper has a wealth of wilderness areas nearby like William B. Bankhead National Forest, Walker County Lake and Lewis Smith Lake, so all that’s required is turning ideas into action.

One of the big players at the helm is Jasper Main Street. The town received its designation as an Alabama Main Street Community in June 2015 and, ever since, it has been a big force behind a massive revitalization. Jenny Short, president of Jasper Main Street and a Jasper native, says becoming a Main Street Community was a game-changer that the town embraced wholeheartedly.

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