Resources for Small Business Owners

To our dear business owners, Main Street supporters, members, and partners:

We understand that these are uncertain times and uncharted waters. We are working to compile a list of resources that may be beneficial to you and your business. If you have not already, please join the Laurel Main Street Members Facebook Group. We are sharing information there as quickly as we receive it. Additionally, we are listing resources here, on our blog, in the hopes that you’ll be able to find the information that is most helpful to you, all in one place. Laurel has always been a city known for its tenacity, and this time will be no different.

We Are Laurel!

For information about the coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit the following government public health organization websites:

For resources related to small business, please visit the following websites:

Mississippi Power Project Share & Community Connection

Mississippi Power, through its Foundation, has announced a $350,000 commitment to assist South Mississippi residents, local charities and small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $350,000 will be dispersed via Mississippi Power’s Project Share and Community Connection programs:

·         $200,000 for Small Businesses – Businesses with 50 employees or less are eligible for this new Project Share program distributed through Catholic Charities.

·         $100,000 for Project Share – Distributed through Catholic Charities. Any Mississippi Power customer with a demonstrated financial need may be eligible to apply for Project SHARE by simply calling 1-855-847-0555.

·         $50,000 for Local Charities – Food banks, non-violence and youth shelters, and other agencies that count on Community Connection donations to operate, especially during a crisis.

We suggest that you call Catholic Charities at 1-855-847-0555 for more information or to apply. 

Help for Live Event Cancellations

If you feel led to assist in efforts to support members of our community who have been impacted through the cancellation of live events, here is sample language to send when writing or emailing elected officials.

Sample letter to Congress:

Subject: Protect Live Events Small Businesses
Dear Representative [NAME], 

As you consider relief legislation to assist Americans in responding to COVID-19, I am writing to urge you to include resources to assist those of us for whom congregating in large gatherings is actually our living. 

I work in the live events industry and we have seen our revenues dry up virtually overnight. I know we all have to do our part to fight this pandemic and that stopping large gatherings through social distancing is our best approach. My hope is that the assistance you are developing provides fast, substantial, and easily accessible aid for small businesses like mine.

Thank you for considering my request, and thank you for all you are doing to help us get back on our feet after this crisis.

Sincerely,

[CREATOR NAME], [TITLE]
[BUSINESS NAME]
[BUSINESS ADDRESS]

Reminders

Laurel Main Street to Host 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament

On the last Saturday in February, we’re taking it to the streets for downtown Laurel’s first 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament — Laurel Leap Day! Courts will be set up in the parking lot along Front Street with plenty of room in the bleachers for spectators to cheer on their favorite team. Food vendors, beverages, and a DJ will also be around to transform Front Street into a sports arena for all to enjoy! Reunite with your high school teammates or form a new team, just get downtown and have a good time!

The tournament is 3 on 3 — no more than 5 players per team — and is double elimination. There is a $50 entree fee per team and cash prizes will be given at the end of the tournament. 1st place will win $500, 2nd place $200, and 3rd place $100. The 1st place team will also receive the Laurel Leap Day trophy and bragging rights for a year! All players must be 18 or older, and players under 21 must submit a consent form signed by their legal guardian. The Laurel Leap Day Basketball Tournament is open to ALL teams — male, female, and coed.

Want to really show off your skills? Enter the Dunk Competition or the 3-Point Shootout! The entry fee is $10 for each of these separate competitions, and a cash prize will be awarded for the winner of each. 

Click here for more information, register, and review the rules.

Mandatory Team Captain meeting is the Monday, PRIOR, to the event at 5:30 pm at the Laurel Train Depot.

We appreciate the hard work of our volunteers and our title sponsor, First State Bank, in making this inaugural event possible!

#ShopSmall with Us on Small Business Saturday – November 30th

 The #ShopSmall Movement is Coming to The City Beautiful!

For decades we’ve rushed off to the big chain stores on Black Friday to crowd the aisles in search of that one great deal, or this year’s must-have Christmas toy.

Sometimes, in the excitement of it all, we forget that some of our most enjoyable shopping experiences were found at a local shop, far from the hustle and bustle of the crowded department stores.

Small business owners pour their hearts into every detail of their business.  They strive to create an enjoyable and unforgettable shopping experience for their guests.  Now it’s time to celebrate these entrepreneurs who put so much love into every detail of their business and the experiences they provide for their customers.  

On November 30th, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we will celebrate Small Business Saturday.

Be a Part of the #ShopSmall Movement

On November 30th businesses all over Downtown Laurel will not only open their doors, but will welcome shoppers with special events, giveaways, promotions and more! 

Business owners, As a Laurel Main Street member your business can join the #shopsmall movement and receive the attention of our nationwide audience as well as customized promotional tools and tips. You don’t have to be a Main Street member to participate, but we’d love to have you as a part of our #shopsmall team.

Shoppers, do you believe in supporting small businesses?  The #shopsmall movement is a great way for you to support local entrepreneurs while enjoying a unique shopping experience. The effect of an event like Small Business Saturday has a direct impact on the goals and dreams of local folks just like you. When you support Laurel’s small business owners, you’re telling them that you appreciate the work they are doing to further our city’s growth, and that you believe in them. So invite friends to shop with you.  Share your shopping experiences on social media using the hashtag #shopsmallinLaurel.  Let small business owners know you value their efforts.     

Why #ShopSmall?

The impact of an event like Small Business Saturday can’t be limited to a tally of a single day’s sales, or a list of great deals. The value of an event like this represents something much bigger — an appreciation and support of small business owners, and the impact on the local economy.

Small businesses help communities thrive.  There are 254,598 small businesses operating in Mississippi.  They make up 99.3% of all businesses in our state.  Small businesses in Mississippi created 6,652 new jobs in 2018 alone.  That means that almost half of all employees in the state of Mississippi work for a small business.  Small businesses help ensure local economies stay strong and vibrant.  When small businesses succeed, we all do.

Consider this: When you spend $100 at a locally-owned small business, $68 stays in the local economy. Compare that to the same $100 spent at a chain store where only $43 remains locally. With the average American shopper likely to spend over $684 on holiday gifts this year, shopping at independent businesses in your hometown has the potential to make a major impact on the health of the local economy.

As the official Neighborhood Champion for Laurel’s Small Business Saturday, Laurel Main Street has worked to bring together an incredible group of local retailers who are ready to welcome you during the November 30th event!

So join us on Small Business Saturday to get great deals, find some incredible, unique local gifts, and enjoy a fun shopping experience, but, most importantly – to support the folks who are making a difference in our city!

Small Business Saturday is a national initiative aimed at helping local businesses compete during the critical holiday shopping season and aims to drive shoppers to local small merchants the Saturday following Thanksgiving.  More than 100 million Americans shopped small on Small Business Saturday last year.  Join the movement and shop local on November 30th this year!

#ShopSmall #ShopLocal #ShopLaurel

Tagged christmasdowntownentrepreneureventlaurel msshop localshop smallshoppingsmall business saturday

Loblolly Festival: Things to Know Before You Go

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — It’s time for Loblolly Festival!  This year’s festival is one you won’t soon forget and here are some tips to help you enjoy Loblolly Festival, whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned veteran.  The Loblolly Festival is one of Laurel’s biggest events with over 12,000 people attending annually, so lace up your walking shoes, it’s festival time!

Beat the Crowds:

The festival officially starts at 9am, so if you want to get first pick of the merchandise or avoid the crowds, come early.

Get a T-Shirt While You Can:

Stop by the Laurel Main Street trailer, which will be station on West Oak St., and purchase a commemorative Laurel Main Street 10 year anniversary t-shirt or a Loblolly Festival t-shirt.  Make this one of your first stops because these shirts will go fast!

Wear Your Walking Shoes:

Loblolly Festival covers almost all of the central business district of downtown Laurel and includes over 120 vendors, crafters, performers, and activities. You’re bound to see a lot of people you know and some you forgot you knew!

Check the map and entertainment schedule:

When you arrive be sure to pick up a map.  It will help you get the lay of the land, and if you’re a strategic shopper, this will definitely make it easier for you to find any specific vendors you came to see.

 

Bring cash:

Some vendors accept credit cards, but not all do.  There is an ATM located downtown at the Laurel Welcome Center inside the First National Bank building as well as BancorpSouth.

Be sure to check out the brick and mortar merchants too:

Most downtown retail stores are open during the festival and many offer sales, specials, and live music.

Check the weather:

Loblolly Festival is a rain or shine event so check the weather and dress accordingly.  The Laurel YWCO will be open and available to the community from 10am – 2pm during the Loblolly Festival.  Come in to cool off and enjoy your lunch in the tea room! 

Sip & Stroll:

The walkable downtown area comprises a social district, which allows downtown patrons to “sip and stroll” as long as their beverages are in a “to-go” cup.  Open container laws are still in effect.  Please drink responsibly.

Scarecrow Harvest

The Scarecrow Harvest 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!

Design and display your scarecrow in front of your business, hiding behind a bush, leaning against a street light, washing a window or even climbing a tree. The event is absolutely free and only requires your creativity! We ask that all scarecrows be installed by Friday, October 4, 2019, in time for judging and the Loblolly Festival on Saturday, October 5, 2019.  Please make sure your scarecrow is tied down and secured so goblins and storms can’t take it away! Scarecrows will remain on view through the month of October and should be removed by Friday, November 1, 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judging for the top three scarecrow designs will be done on the Friday afternoon prior to the Loblolly Festival and winners announced during the Festival.  We can’t wait to see what you come up with this season! 

This contest is hosted by Laurel Main Street, for questions or concerns, please contact Judi Holifield, info@laurelmainstreet.com or your block ambassador.