Merchants to revive downtown with events

Published 9:34 am Thursday, March 27, 2014

A growing and diverse group of Luverne’s downtown merchants gathered once again at the General Store to discuss means of revitalizing the city.

Step one involves offering an equally diverse group of planned monthly activities for both locals and visitors to the Friendliest City in the South.

Sherry Prevett, owner of 13 and Fifth antique and vintage shop, said that the formation of the committee would allow the merchants to take a proactive approach in allowing the district to grow on its own, chiefly through the strength of it’s own distinctiveness.

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“I think that it’s just the uniqueness of Luverne, and of the people that are local,” Prevett said.

“We have a lot of little shops down there; we’ve got Gary’s, a new art shop which is a first for Luverne.

“And there could be a lot more, if we would only concentrate and have promotion to bring people not only locally but visitors, as well.”

But one of the main goals to draw people downtown derives from having various events and functions around the town on a regular basis.

The first such event, the Egg-Citing Easter Egg Hunt, is slated for April 12, which includes opportunities for children to take pictures with the Easter Bunny, coloring contests for children ages 5-10 years of age and the egg hunt itself.

But it’s just the beginning of what the committee has planned, with a car show, a Top Pig barbecue cook-off, carriage rides, turkey calling contests, arts and crafts and more coming down the pipeline.

The committee also looks to celebrate Luverne’s 125th anniversary with a  Founder’s Day celebration, scheduled for June 13 with a “Dance at the Depot” featuring local country-western performer Shane Owens.

But according to Prevett, the participation of the downtown merchants, and Luverne as a whole, is vital to the success of any upcoming events.

If Tuesday’s second meeting is any indication, the committee is off to a strong start.

“I was very pleased last night,” Prevett said.

“During the first meeting we had, I think we had four or five, and then this Tuesday night it doubled. I want the input of the downtown merchants and I want their input.  I want more people to come to our next meeting because of course their input and suggestions are very valuable and needed.”

Prevett added that not only was a combined effort from Luverne’s citizens necessary, but it also had to be a positive effort.

“We’re proud of our traditional past of starting from just a pine forest in 1889 to a thriving little community. And now we would like to continue that and have the same hometown qualities that we first began with. It’s a perfect blend of people, and we’re all different, and that’s what makes it so important that we get out and share our plans and thoughts.”

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 1 at 6 p.m.