Start Small — Do Big: The Power of Baby Steps

The Power of Baby Steps

The Laurel Mercantile has a fantastic print and now a mug with the uplifting saying, “We have the POWER to do this.”  This phrase was coined by the director of the HGTV series, Home Town, during their first summer of filming in sweltering South Mississippi.  However, this phrase can be applied to anything.  We like to apply this winning saying to our efforts as a Main Street America Accredited organization.  

What started as a small, grass-roots movement to bring back Laurel’s downtown to its former glory has become a booming trend!  It didn’t happen overnight or even over a year, but with a series of small, incremental improvements, these efforts provided momentum for long-term economic transformation and improved quality of life in our community.  In the world of small towns and Main Street organizations this is referred to as “incrementalism.” Incrementalism is not flashy.  It’s several small changes that take place over a period of time… like a domino chain reaction in slow motion. 

Incremental Work

For decades, the community and economic development field was hooked on what Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center calls the “silver-bullet solution.” Shrinking budgets sent city leaders on a search for the “one big thing” that would transform their local economy, whether it was a big new commercial development, a pedestrian mall, or a convention center on the outskirts of town.  Those of you who lived in Laurel through Urban Renewal will definitely remember the development of all these things.  However, through years of research, we have learned that what our town has is much more important than what it’s missing.  By focusing on what sets our community apart from others, Laurel Main Street, together with the City of Laurel and our partners, has been able to restore a thriving city center in downtown.

One of the special things about being part of Main Street America is that we aren’t doing this incremental work alone. We rely on a national network of partners and supporters.  We are incredibly thankful for our city leaders for creating the environment for success by adding wayfinding signage,  improving our streets, adding lighting, bike paths, ad valorem tax credits and continuing to work toward improving city services that businesses rely on.

Some would say that a town’s exports are the measure of its success, but at Laurel Main Street we believe it’s the people, not the products that are the heart of our town’s success story. These small steps and small victories have provided Laurel residents with an optimism about the future, a true sense of community pride, and a productive spirit of unity.  We consider that a true success story.

Laurel, MS is Home to State’s Only Maker Camp©

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Rhye or Jenny McLeod

(601) 580-8773

info@centralcreativity.com

Laurel, MS is Home to State’s Only Maker Camp©

Laurel, MS — July 5, 2017 — Central Creativity has been designated as an official Maker Camp©, making it the only Maker Camp in the state of Mississippi.  Maker Camp is part of Maker Media, which includes Make: magazine and Maker Faire®.  Each organization is rigorously evaluated throughout a six-month process before being awarded affiliate status.

Maker Camps can be found around the world. Many libraries, makerspaces, and community centers are hosting Maker Camps.  Maker Camp provides simple, fun ways for kids to get involved in MAKING.  Over 1 million kids have participated in Maker Camp since it launched in 2012.

The Maker Movement is a growing movement in education.  It offers students the chance to work with new technological materials, while providing expanded opportunities and learning through firsthand experience. It’s bringing electronics, programming, and computational mathematics together in meaningful ways. It’s more than just high-tech gadgetry, though. It’s about “hands-on” crafting, and the discovery process that occurs when we create and evaluate.  The Maker Movement overlaps with the natural curious inclinations of children and the power of learning by doing.  In short, The Maker Movement incorporates the arts, engineering, and science in a cooperative learning environment.

“What you see in the Maker Movement is a wide range of people, young and old, who are developing their talents and discovering new ways to solve interesting, everyday problems by working together on projects. Making is a meaningful form of personal expression that fosters creativity, builds community and encourages the collaborative practice of innovation.”

Dale Dougherty, Founder & CEO, Make:

Central Creativity is a dynamic, innovative learning facility that provides immersive instruction in art, music, drama, craft, science, culinary arts, math, engineering, technology, reading, and writing for students in grades PreK-12.  All members of our faculty are dedicated education professionals who employ a student-focused, energetic approach to teaching that sparks critical, creative, and imaginative thinking.  The goal of Central Creativity is to empower the minds of Mississippi’s bright young learners so they can become champions of critical and creative thought in our community and beyond. 

Central Creativity’s Summer Camp series launches July 10th. Visit www.centralcreativity.com to enroll.

Oak Street Salon: We’re at Your Service

Friends With a Common Dream

With over 30 years of combined experience, Oak Street Salon is the go-to house of style in the business district of Historic Downtown Laurel.  Owners, Deidra Maddox and Betty Gaudet met more than 20 years ago while working at a salon together, and have been a dynamic duo ever since. Throughout many years of working at different places in town, thOak Street Salon opened in Downtown Laureley always dreamed of owning their own business together.  Nearly three years ago, they took the plunge and opened their business on Oak Street in Downtown Laurel. Their vision for the future is simple; hold your business accountable to the reputation you have created for yourself.

At Your Service

Business owners, Deidra and Betty, take pride in the special services they provide their clients.  The pair specialize in the latest trends for cuts, colors, hair treatments, waxing, manicures, and pedicures. They also cater to their clientele by offering valet parking to those in need, booking early morning and late evening appointments, and working in walk-ins.  Oak Street Salon places true meaning behind the term “at your service.”

Oak Street Salon’s clientele spans generations.  Deidra and Betty have come to think of their clients as an extension of their own families as well.  With all the combined experience and expertise of the stylists at the salon, there is no new trend or style that Oak Street Salon can’t perfect. The key to their success is to treat everyone like family. When it comes to service, they truly believe in the benefits found in staying in touch with the younger generation, along with learning valuable lessons from the older generations as well. Oak Street Salon will always provide an open, welcoming environment for all their clientele, and look forward to their bright future downtown!

The Market Beautiful is Coming to The City Beautiful!

Attention shoppers: this is something you won’t want to miss!  The Market Beautiful is bringing their award-winning show to town!  Over 80 vendors, both local and out-of-state, will line Front Street this weekend with fabulous vintage finds and handmade merchandise.  Local stores and merchants will be open as well, and some will even extend their store hours.

The Market Beautiful started in a garage in 2010 with 5 vendors and has grown to shows in 5 states with over 100 vendors and 5,000 attendees on average at each show. This marks their first show in the south and we can’t wait to shower them with our southern hospitality!  Jana Roach and Vanessa Pleasants work full-time to bring an amazing and unique experience to customers, along with the most wonderfully curated vintage finds! In between markets, Jana and Vanessa run their blog and manage their online community via Instagram which has grown to nearly 100,000 dedicated and engaged followers.  Jana and Vanessa carefully select and curate vendors for each show to ensure shoppers are treated to the very best of the best.  Many vendors travel with them because of the success they’ve seen. They truly care about their vendors and customers alike, as well as keeping the show fresh, exciting, and unique!

There will be something for everyone at The Market Beautiful.  Enjoy live music from Tasche De La Rocha, food trucks and sweet/cold treats, coffee, and free kids activities.  Laurel’s own Clairmont & Company will have a kids craft area and Six Point Furniture will present a workshop.  Erin and Ben Napier, hosts of HGTV’s Home Town, will help kick off the inaugural market with a meet and greet too.  The Market Beautiful also offers prizes for the first 50 in line and a lot more!

The Market Beautiful (formerly Vintage Whites) has been named one of the top 4 markets in the United States and voted a top 5 not-to-miss market by Country Living Magazine!

Enjoy the market on Friday night, June 9th for early shopping night. Early shopping tickets are $25 and include a free drink and admission for Saturday! Early shopping night is a more leisurely shopping experience and you get first pick at the merchandise!  Vendors restock on Saturday morning and gates open at 10 AM for general admission. The market goes until 5 PM and is free for kids 12 and under! 

Farmers Market Starts Thursday!

Join us at the

Downtown Farmers Market!

(Rain or Shine)

Thursdays in June from 3:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.

Behind Office Products Center

212 N 5th Ave.

Laurel, MS 39440

Addison Holland– cookies, cupcakes, spicy oyster crackers, bread and jelly
Amanda Magee– pickles
Carey Fulmer– jams, jellies, and baked goods
Carol Byrd– jams, jellies, and relish
James Jolly– jams, jellies, honey, syrup, various vegetables, wooden grates and ornamental blacksmithing items
Mandy Tolbert– pound cakes, candy, and other sweets
Michelle Murray– pound cakes, banana nut bread, lemonade

Amy J. Walters– arts and crafts
Natousha Suggs– crafts and wood products
Jeremy Brooke– Ceramic mugs, bowls, other serving pieces, cookies and pound cakes
Andrew Callen– Handmade bowties
Frank Porter– goats milk soap and lotion; arts and crafts; blueberries, tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers
Rae Bankson– soaps, oils, lotions and crafts

Rose and Jason Hancock– various fruits and vegetables
Chase and Rebecca Edwards (Laurel Nursery and Garden) – blueberries, assorted plants and trees
Mary and Linda Rhodes– various fruits and vegetables
Fulmer’s Farmstead– various fruits and vegetables

Big Hoss BBQ
LoblolliPops
Kona-Ice 
Mississippi Delta Juke Joint Tamales
Landrum’s Homemade Ice Cream
Michelle Bergeron– Beef and Meat Tamales
Grumpy Man Salsa
Aunt Polly’s Farm– blueberry lemonade, various fruits and vegatabes
Backroad Bistro

NEW for 2017!  At each market, we will feature a local artist or craftsman who will demonstrate their unique talents during the Farmers Market.  This week, local artist and Curator of Education at Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, Mandy Buchanan, will give a live pottery demonstration at 5:00 p.m.

These Downtown Merchants will be open late for your shopping enjoyment!
Lott Furniture | Sweet Somethings Bakery | Closet Candy | The Knight Butcher | Elegant Evenings | Jack and Jill Children’s Consignment | Patina’s | Southern Antiques | Adam Trest Home | Molly Renee’s | J.Parker | The Loblolly Boutique | Oak Street Salon | 7th Style | New Look Salon & Gifts | Studio R3 | Quarter Century | The Laurel Leaf | Pause Espresso Bar

And don’t forget about Downtown Movie Night!  Coca-Cola Fireworks display at 8:00 p.m. and DISNEY’S Moana begins immediately following.

 

Many thanks to Central Sunbelt Federal Credit Union, Agape Church, and our Laurel Main Street Partners for their generous support of the Downtown Summer Series!