DBA to continue efforts to increase visitors downtown

Published 9:53 am Monday, January 26, 2015

With dozens of unique businesses located in downtown, the Downtown Business Association is continuing its efforts to increase the number of visitors to the downtown and raise awareness of its historic shopping district.
In order to do that, the DBA is planning to increase the number of events held in downtown Elizabethton.
“We plan to focus on more events that will bring people to downtown,” DBA President Cathy Shoun said. “If we expose more people to downtown, they will see more of the shops, they will come in and look around and they will come back.”
Shoun said a Valentine’s Day celebration will be held to kick off the events. Through this special, she said participating stores will exchange Valentines with each other. The stores will then distribute the Valentines with customers to promote the other business in downtown.
After that, the goal is to add new events to those already existing.
Shoun said the group is considering having sidewalk sales during the Covered Bridge Celebration.
Another option is to host a fall tailgating event in conjunction with the weekly Carter County Car Club Cruise In that is held from April to October.
“It is just something fun we could do that would get more people involved,” Shoun said.
In the fall, Shoun said the DBA will continue with the annual trick-or-treating that is held each Halloween.
“I know it is hard for the businesses because they are practically closed during that time, but it brings so many people into downtown,” she said. “The people appreciate it to. I don’t know how many thank yous I get from people because they are glad we have a safe, fun event for their children on Halloween.”
The DBA also plans to expand the Scarecrow Contest this year. The group hosted the contest for the first time last year, and Shoun said it was a hit.
“It was small but people had a ball,” she said. “We had a lot of calls from people just wanting to comment that they had stopped downtown. People were always stopping in to take pictures of the scarecrows, and the businesses love it. Hopefully we can make it even bigger this year.”
Shoun said she would like to see the Christmas events, such as the annual Open House and Small Business Saturday, expanded so that more shoppers are in downtown.
“I want to make the Open House even bigger and better,” she said. “I want to have Santa in downtown on Saturdays and maybe even have groups caroling.”
Shoun added the DBA has other plans to continue improving on the appearance in downtown, focusing on the grassy triangle at the western entrance to downtown and the seasonal banners that hang on the light poles in the district.
“We have accomplished a lot with the triangle this year,” she said. “We had the Christmas tree put in and we worked on the landscaping.”
She said future plans for the triangle included adding a welcome sign and a sculpture acknowledging the new Tweetsie Trail.
As for the seasonal signs, Shoun would like to purchase more so the banners can be changed more frequently.
“We have talked about so much,” she said. “If we can accomplish just a few of these things, then we will meet our goal.”

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