Top 5 Reasons to Shop Local This Holiday Season

This holiday season looks a little different, but we can still share joy. Shop Small and support your favorite small businesses – both in-store and online – all holiday season long.

1. Economic Stimulus. Supporting local is more than just a hashtag, it’s a lifestyle. Shopping locally supports local families and our local economy by keeping dollars local, so they can make more of an impact in our town. When someone opens their own business, they hire local people, pay local taxes, and source goods locally. When you shop local, you expand opportunity for others in your community. The health of small business is a direct reflection of the overall well-being of a community. Healthy Small Businesses = Healthy Local Economy.

 

2. Connect & Experience. We live in a “buy with one click” world. But there are still many consumers who want an experience, who desire interaction; that’s where small businesses and downtowns can thrive. They serve as a place to socialize and gather. Shopping locally means bumping into friends, benefitting from the expertise of local retailers, enjoying lively streets, and discovering something new. In a world where people are plugged in 24-7, many folks still desire a unique shopping experience.

3. Job Creation. Small, local businesses are the largest employers nationally. Compared to Amazon, independent retailers create 2x as many jobs for the same amount of revenue.1 Plus, the more jobs you have in your local community, the less people are going to have to commute, which means more time and less traffic.

4. Community Investment. Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s welfare and future. Local business owners also donate more to local charities than non-local owners. In places with more local businesses, people have stronger social ties2 and participate in more civic affairs.3

5. You Matter More. You might have read about exerting influence with your purchasing choices, or “voting with your wallet.” It’s a fact that all businesses respond to their customers, but your values and desires are much more influential to your local business than the big box stores.

Promoting the “support local” initiative is something that we celebrate as an organization on a daily basis. We value strong partnerships with the business community, and we believe that people want to support local businesses too. But if you MUST shop on Amazon, consider enrolling in the AmazonSmile program and designating Laurel Main Street as your charity of choice. Click here for more information on the AmazonSmile program and how you can help local non-profits.

 

Going local does not mean walling off the outside world. It Means nurturing locally owned businesses which use local resources, employ local workers, and serve primarily local consumers. It means becoming more self-sufficient and less dependant on imports. Control moves from the boardrooms of distant corporations and back into the community where it belongs.

– paraphrased from Michael H. Shuman, author of the book Going Local.

 

  1. “Amazon’s Stranglehold,” Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Nov. 2016
  2. “The Health and Wealth of US Counties,” Troy C. Blanchard, et. All., Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy, and Society, 2011.
  3. “The Configuration of Local Economic Power and Civic Participation in the Global Economy,” Troy Blanchard and Todd L. Matthews, Social Forces, June 2006.

The 4th Annual Scarecrow Invasion

It’s time for the 4th annual Scarecrow Invasion!

The Scarecrow Invasion is a time when our downtown Laurel community comes alive with colorful and creative life-size scarecrows. We invite businesses, non-profit organizations, schools, civic groups, families and individuals to design and display their own whimsical scarecrows.  Anyone is welcome to create a scarecrow and join the fun! This year’s theme is Famous Mississippi: Persons, Places, and Things.

Last year, our downtown merchants’ creations ranged from sweet to spooky and everything in between!

Peddler’s Junktion was awarded third place for their “cheeky” display.

2019 Scarecrow Invasion – 3rd Place – Peddler’s Junktion

Magnolia State Bank took their scarecrows to frightening heights with zombies scaling the building and encouraging passersby to save lives by donating blood.

2019 Scarecrow Invasion – 2nd Place – Magnolia State Bank

The top prize went to the creative team at Shug’s Cookie Dough & Candy Bar! Shug’s is the perfect place for Cookie Monster to hang out, don’t you think?

2019 Scarecrow Invasion – Winner – Shug’s Cookie Dough & Candy Bar

This event is absolutely free to enjoy! All scarecrows will be installed by Friday, October 2, 2020, and judging will begin at noon. Scarecrows will remain on view through the month of October, and will be removed by Friday, November 6, 2020.

“The One” Awards

Once a year the Laurel Main Street organization honors members of our downtown community for their commitment to the Main Street cause and their dedication to our community with “The One” Awards.  The awards were named for a phrase that pops up again and again during brainstorming and event planning sessions: “Those who say it can’t be done should get out of the way of THE ONEs who are doing it!” On September 10, we celebrated the dreamers, the doers, THE ONEs whose desire to leave things better than they found it is evident in all their pursuits.

Downtown Business of the Year

The Loft on Central, a downtown staple for 10 years, is a Laurel Main Street Partner and was named downtown Business of the Year. Their steadfast support of our community includes hosting fundraisers for those in need, animal rescuers, and opening their doors on holidays to feed our first responders. They also lead the way in figuring out how to survive and serve during the Covid-19 crisis of 2020.

Business of the Year – The Loft on Central

 

Volunteers of the Year

THE ONE Award was presented to two longtime LMS Board Members whose years of service will come to an end this year. Heather Brown and Lew Yoder have seen more than their fair share of sunrises in downtown Laurel while setting up for events. Their dependability is rivaled only by that of the U.S. Postal Service — they truly have served LMS in rain, hail, sleet, and snow, and let’s not forget about hurricanes and tornadoes!

 

Lew has served as Secretary of the Board, Chair of the Organization Committee, and is the immediate multiple-term Past-President. Lew Co-chaired the Loblolly Festival and chaired the search committee for the new LMS executive director.

Volunteer of the Year – Lew Yoder

Heather also served as Secretary of the Board, Promotions Chair, and Co-chair of the award-winning Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off.

Volunteer of the Year – Heather Brown

We appreciate the service of our volunteers, members, and partners, and their dedication to our community.

Laurel Main Street Recognized at Mississippi Main Street Annual Awards

Laurel Main Street was recently honored for Outstanding Creative Placemaking at the Mississippi Main Street Association’s annual awards. Leontyne Price musical park was a collaboration among multiple businesses and community organizations.

Laurel loves Leontyne Price. The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art’s (LRMA) year-long celebration of the beloved opera singer and Laurelite’s 90th birthday proves that, along with Laurel’s new musical park. Leontyne Price Park represents the collaboration of almost a dozen different entities including the City of Laurel, Laurel Main Street, LRMA, the Price family, Laurel Machine and Foundry (LMF), Sonny & Cille Screen Printing, The Knight Butcher, and Central Creativity.

The “Treble Makers,” a Leadership Jones County team, raised over $15,000 to fund the project and worked hard to reach out to the community for both input and arts education. The park was built to enable people of all ages—but especially formative youth—to experience the enrichment that music can provide through both sheer enjoyment and gaining an understanding of musical concepts. The many students who come to the park to play and learn will be inspired by Laurel’s most famous daughter.

What is Creative Placemaking?

This award recognizes a creative placemaking endeavor that involves artists, arts organizations, and community development practitioners who have deliberately integrated arts and culture into community revitalization work. The placemaking project should show how it enhances quality of life for existing residents, increases creative activity, and creates a distinct sense of place.

The Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) celebrated achievements of Mississippi Main Street Communities with a special virtual awards presentation this year. MMSA staff presented the 2020 awards from the Old Capitol Inn in downtown Jackson via Facebook Live. The annual awards honors Main Street directors, board members and volunteers and recognizes the most outstanding downtown development projects from Main Street communities in Mississippi.

“Mississippi Main Street is excited to celebrate the achievements of our Main Street communities,” said Steven Dick, MMSA Board President. “Our local leaders have worked tirelessly to provide economic opportunities, increase quality of life, and preserve what makes our downtowns special.” Thomas Gregory, MMSA State Coordinator, Jennifer Prather, Director of Community Development, and Jeannie Zieren, Director of Communication and Marketing, presented the awards.

MISSISSIPPI MAIN STREET ANNOUNCES 2020 AWARD WINNERS

JACKSON, Miss. (August 19, 2020) – The Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) celebrated achievements of Mississippi Main Street Communities with a special virtual Annual Awards presentation this year.

MMSA staff presented the 2020 awards from the Old Capitol Inn in downtown Jackson via Facebook Live. The annual awards honors Main Street directors, board members and volunteers and recognizes the most outstanding downtown development projects from Main Street communities in Mississippi.

“Mississippi Main Street is excited to celebrate the achievements of our Main Street communities,” said Steven Dick, MMSA Board President. “Our local leaders have worked tirelessly to provide economic opportunities, increase quality of life, and preserve what makes our downtowns special.”

Thomas Gregory, MMSA State Coordinator, Jennifer Prather, Director of Community Development, and Jeannie Zieren, Director of Communication and Marketing, presented the awards.

Laurel Main Street was honored with an award for Outstanding Creative Placemaking for the Leontyne Price Musical Park.
​​This award recognizes a creative placemaking endeavor that involves artists, arts organizations, and community development practitioners who have deliberately integrated arts and culture into community revitalization work. The placemaking project shows how it enhances quality of life for existing residents, increases creative activity, and creates a distinct sense of place.

In addition to announcing the 2020 award winners, all Main Street member communities were recognized as well as MMSA annual investors and MMSA board members for 2020-2021.

In addition, the 2020 nationally accredited programs were recognized, as well as new MMSA communities, and Main Street directors who have served for 10 years or longer in their communities.

The Mississippi Development Authority, Entergy Mississippi, and Mississippi Power were recognized as top investors of MMSA and sponsors of the annual awards.

In 2019, Mississippi Main Street’s Designated Communities generated 185 net new businesses, 62 business expansions to existing businesses, 633 net new jobs, 101 building rehabilitations and 331 downtown residential units. In addition, 178 public improvement projects were completed as well as 36 new construction projects in downtown business districts. More than $148 million was invested by the public and private sectors in 2019, and more than 43,211 volunteer hours were recorded.

Every dollar spent in this organization results in $80 of private investment, the highest return on investment of any economic activity in the state.

Since 1993, MMSA has generated more than $5.5 billion in private and public investment (including more than $1.3 billion in public investment).

MMSA currently has 45 Designated Main Street Community members, four Network members, and eight Associate members.

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Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) is a catalyst for the preservation and economic revitalization of Mississippi’s historic downtowns and districts. As a Main Street AmericaTM Coordinating Program, MMSA helps lead a powerful, grassroots network consisting of more than 40 Coordinating Programs and over 1,200 neighborhoods and communities across the country committed to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development.

For individual project photos and awards narratives, please email jeannie@msmainstreet.com. For more information about MMSA, visit www.msmainstreet.com.