Bill Strickland is the President/CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation and has dedicated his life to educating and inspiring change through the arts.
Entrepreneurs are, by definition, visionaries. I see a connection between the creativity instilled by a love of the arts, and the skills needed for business success. [Entrepreneurs] can visualize something that doesn’t exist, to look at a canvas and see a painting. Entrepreneurs and artists are interchangeable… I’m talking about respect, about common sense and decency, about the dictate that our best hopes must always be acted upon, that all people everywhere possess an innate hunger for, and right to, what is sustaining, good, and beautiful.
Laurel Main Street agrees.
We believe that people respond beautifully to beauty. That’s why the Façade and Amenities Grant program is such an important aspect of what we do. When a business owner chooses to make his or her building more welcoming, more pleasing, more beautiful, it invites all of us to take part in a world that is fascinating and appealing.
Beauty opens a door into a better world and, when we embrace it, gives us permission to believe in the ideal and delightful. When Bill was building his center in Pittsburgh, he put a fountain in the lobby. People questioned him about why he put a fountain in a center that was teaching vocational skills to teenage mothers and dropouts. He responded that he believed that people deserved to walk into a building and see a fountain—that people deserved beauty in their lives.
Downtown Laurel has so many wonderful buildings, and we are so proud of the entrepreneurs who have taken advantage of the Façade and Amenities Grant and given us access to a lovelier Laurel!
We are also excited about some upcoming businesses that will soon call Downtown Laurel home.
Can you guess where they are?
Laurel Main Street exists to help create a better Laurel. We want to do everything we can to ensure the success of small businesses and support the people who turn dreams into reality. Voting every day in the America’s Main Streets competition is about more than just funding. It’s about the brave men and women who dare to imagine something new.
So, help us continue to spread beauty in Downtown Laurel. Join the movement that celebrates the visionary. Be a part of the solution, and vote now to help us show the nation that Mississippi’s Downtown is a place where we acknowledge the past and work for the future. A place where businesses grow. A place where people matter. A place where we are proud of our hometown!
Thanks to Brooke Davis of Blackhorn Productions for the beautiful pictures of our progress!