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Downtown merchants deem Founders Day a success

Neal Green traveled from Montgomery to visit the Friendliest City in the South for the celebration of its 125th birthday, and topped off his visit with some chocolate ice cream at Mainstreet Sweets.

Neal Green traveled from Montgomery to visit the Friendliest City in the South for the celebration of its 125th birthday, and topped off his visit with some chocolate ice cream at Mainstreet Sweets.

Luverne defended its title as the Friendliest City in the South by welcoming visitors from near and far to the downtown area for its first ever Founders Day celebration.

Sherry Prevett, owner of antiques and vintage shop 13 on Fifth, was one of more than a dozen vendors who set up shop along the streets of downtown Luverne, and she said that her business drew attention from far and wide throughout the weekend.

I was very pleased at the number of vendors that came, and also with all the people who stopped from various places,” Prevett said.

“I had people from Virginia, Pensacola, Birmingham, Brundidge, near and far, and all I heard were good things.”

The celebration also offered the various downtown establishments an opportunity to cross-promote each other, which bore fruit more often than not in the form of new business.

“If they stop at my shop to get an antique, they might want some ice cream from Mainstreet Sweets,” Prevett added.

“I think if we work together as a team and have good communication skills, then we can boost each other up and point out what’s all available in Luverne.”

Mainstreet Sweets proved an oasis as a relief from the heat on a sweltering day, and co-owner Tim Dowdy said that he was swamped from the moment he opened his doors to the public until closing time.

“I did double what I normally do on a Saturday, so that’s a wonderful thing,” Dowdy said.

“I wish we had planned it a little better and gotten a bit more statewide advertising out, because I think people would’ve been glad to come down and spend a day down here.  But Saturday was a great day.”

Gary Mitchell’s art gallery is one of the most recent additions to the downtown space.

And even though his gallery isn’t as storied as those establishments of some of his fellow merchants, the weekend celebration still proved a great success for his business.

“I think the turnout was good for our first effort,” Mitchell said.

“We could’ve had a better turnout, but this was our first time trying to do something like this and we really only worked on it for three months.  And we’ve learned a lot of things that we have to do in preparation for when we do it again.”

Preparation for the next event is one of the items on the agenda for next week’s meeting among members of the Downtown Merchants Association.

Despite being pleased with this past weekend’s events and the city’s willingness to revitalize the downtown area, the group is aiming at making the next event even better.

“Certainly, I’ve talked with the Downtown Merchants Association members and we’re looking to have a meeting soon to go over the good things and how we can improve our next event,” Prevett said.

“I think if we work together as a team and have good communication skills, then we can boost each other up and point out what’s all available in Luverne.”