Outstanding Promotion: Main Street Laurens
The Downtown Farmer's Market is a partnership between Main Street Laurens and the City of Laurens. The city agreed to provide marketing funds and to not charge a city business license fee. Main Street Laurens coordinated the volunteers to run the market including running a Main Street booth. The goals of the market were to bring more people to downtown on Saturday mornings and to allow the community to shop with local farmers. Many people have commented how to market makes downtown felt like downtown Laurens of old, where goods were exchanged and friends gathered. Shoppers can be heard saying, "I-ll see you at the market next week!" The market has provided an opportunity for Main Street Laurens to promote its mission of downtown revitalization and bring many new people to the courthouse square.
Gaines Jontz Rehabilitation Award: Orangeburg City Council Chambers Renovation
The historically significant structure was originally built in 1927 as part of Orangeburg's city complex which housed the fire station, city hall, auditorium and jail. The building is located on a major entrance into the downtown commercial district. In recent years, it was used solely as a fire station. When the fire department relocated to the new department of public safety building, the city recognized the importance of preserving the building. It was gutted and totally renovated to serve as city council chambers. The area formerly used as a parking lot was landscaped and became a courtyard and a connector between city hall and the new city council chambers. The renovations maintained the historical and architectural integrity of the building. The buildings serve as an example of the great potential of all historic properties.
Downtown Service Award: Alex Palkovich and Jane Madden
Florence Art Trail Gallery
As a full-time sculptor and retired executive, Alex Palkovich should be able to focus exclusively on his art. Instead, he has demonstrated a willingness to share his considerable talents and personal capital to bring downtown revitalization one step closer to reality. Dr. Jane Madden works full time for Francis Marion University as a grants administrator. Despite her busy work schedule, she manages to volunteer a minimum of three to four hours every day, including weekends.
Working together, Palkovich and Madden helped the Florence Art Trail Gallery became a reality. As leaders of the project, Palkovich served as a trailblazer, public relations specialist and fundraiser, while Madden handled the nuts and bolts jobs such as organizational responsibilities, marketing, scheduling communications and volunteer management. Both serve as curators for the Gallery in the absence of paid staff. These dedicated individuals lend their talents to other efforts of the Florence Downtown Development Corporation including creating a Pee Dee Regional Artisan's Center in downtown Florence.
Master Merchant Award: Amanda Munyan, Pixie Dust
Amanda Munyan owns Pixie Dust, a children's boutique that features educational toys, gifts and clothing. She managed the business for five years and has owned it for two years. She is an excellent merchandiser and is continuously moving her inventory. Munyan pays special attention to her display windows, making many of the displays herself in addition to designing her own hip, colorful marketing materials.
Pixie Dust is a destination for shoppers, offering special shopping days and fun promotional events throughout the year. She also coordinates cross promotional opportunities with other downtown businesses. Munyan is on the board of directors for Main Street Laurens and serves as the promotion committee chair. She is a hands-on chairperson involved in every promotion event sponsored by Main Street Laurens.
Jonathan Irick, director of Main Street Laurens, said "I wish I had 10 more board members with the passion and excitement for downtown that Amanda has. She is constantly looking for ways Main Street can improve its image and gain more support and members from the community."