Downtown renaissance

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 6, 2004

Greenville Main Street announced at its meeting on Monday at The Hair Shoppe that several new businesses would be opening along Commerce Street soon.

Main Street Executive Director Nancy Idland informed the group that Vesta Taylor of Alissa’s Closet would soon have her store open in the old Hunter’s Hideout building next to the courthouse.

Karen Rainey announced she had purchased the Thomas Sanderson building and had renamed it Karen Rainey Interiors. The shop is located next to Whitney Bank on Commerce Street.

Lana Kershner, owner of Kershner Fabrics, currently located on Ala. Highway 10 East, told the group she recently bought the old Alice’s Mini Mall building and its contents. She plans to relocate her store there and has donated the contents of Alice’s to Main Street.

&uot;I’ve also bought a billboard on the Interstate,&uot; she said. &uot;I’m really expecting to draw people in to Greenville.&uot;

Kershner hopes to be open for business in the middle of September.

As for the contents donated to the merchant group, they are planning to hold a public auction Sept. 11 at the old Pecan Warehouse with the proceeds going to fund a new Main Street Grant Program.

&uot;One of our goals was to have a fa?ade grant program that people could apply for to redo their buildings,&uot; Idland said. &uot;This auction will give us the seed money for that. We have all these wonderful drawings from the Notre Dame students and we want to utilize them. We still need more items though and any donations to the auction would be appreciated.&uot;

Auction items may be previewed at 9 a.m. on Sept. 11 with the auction beginning at 10 a.m. Buyers are asked to bring their own packing material.

Idland also announced that the annual Oktoberfest program was being renamed to the Grits Festival.

&uot;We didn’t feel we were getting a real bang for out buck since we’re not a German community,&uot; Idland said. &uot;I think (the new theme) has a lot more flare and flavor for the community.&uot;

Discussion turned to the up-coming holiday season and ways to keep shoppers in the city. Several ideas were brought up including reviving the &uot;Wonderful Wednesdays&uot; program that was successful a few years ago.

&uot;The Pineapple still does this every year,&uot; she said. &uot;We’re hoping to get more merchants on board this year.&uot;

The program included discounts for shoppers at participating local retailers.

Another idea brought up was a possible program of shopper discounts in exchange for canned goods or toys for children.

&uot;I think we’re definitely going to try to get this going we just have to coordinate it with the Department of Human Resources,&uot; Idland said. &uot;People would be purchasing locally, children would be receiving gifts and shoppers would receive a discount. Everyone wins.&uot;

Idland also said the Chamber would again have their Chamber Wrapping event where shoppers could get free gift wrapping for items purchased locally.

The next meeting has been planned for Wednesday, Sept. 8, at First Realty of Greenville.

To learn more about Main Street and its mission to keep the downtown a vibrant and prosperous part of Greenville, call Idland at 382-3041.