Foley Main Street turns three

in News, Economic Development

FOLEY - Foley Main Street’s third birthday was celebrated on June 1, 2021. From birth to structure to action they have been busy in Downtown Foley. A volunteer board leads the way, along with Executive Director Darrelyn Dunmore, and they are committed to making Downtown Foley the best it can be.

“Our downtown area is the heart of Foley. A healthy heart is vital to the overall health and growth of this great city. Supporting Main Street is a great way to ensure that Downtown Foley will continue to be a growing, vibrant center,” Secretary of Foley Main Street and former main street director Barbara Ingram said.

After acceptance into the state program Main Street Alabama, the group incorporated and worked on the structure. The first major project was the completion of a marketing study identifying market insights and directions, potential business opportunities, and identifying consumer preferences. This is a road map of goals for the future and available on their website foleymainstreet.com, http://foleymainstreet.com.

With all this great information at hand, the next step was to go through a branding process led by Arnett Muldrow. A global leader in place branding, Arnett Muldrow has created more brand systems for downtown, cities, counties, and regions than any other firm in the world, and they did a great job branding Downtown Foley.

“Downtown Foley is the literal and figurative heart of the city, and a cornerstone of Foley's culture and identity, and I'm honored to help cultivate and preserve it,” said Justin Shanks, Vice President of Foley Main Street and Chairman of the City of Foley Historic Commission.

Marketing of the downtown has been an early major focus working on shaping Downtown Foley into a cohesive group and strengthening it as a destination. In these three years Foley Main Street’s Facebook has gone from zero to 4,800 followers, and Instagram zero to 1,400 followers. Promotions Chair and Treasurer Shannon Tierney of BB&T/Truist commented, “The heart of a city is its downtown. I am so excited to be part of history with bringing back Downtown Foley for everyone to enjoy.”

Foley Main Street is also working hand in hand with the City of Foley to spruce up downtown and to make it a place people want to come to - day or night. This took on an added dimension after Hurricane Sally. Together they have created an ongoing “dream punch list” of the downtown and are working to cross off each and every item, from crooked street signs, planters, missing flower baskets, adding more benches and trashcans, fixing sidewalks, cleaning sidewalks, and much more. This coincides with Foley Main Street’s other efforts to light up and dress up the alleys.

Through Foley Main Street, property owners and business owners are coming together to enhance the economic growth of the downtown. Goals include items such as recruitment of upper-story housing development to supporting and researching ways to help existing businesses be strong.

“Downtown Foley is the heart of our community and I look forward to all of the wonderful things to come!” said Frances Holk-Jones of State Farm, property owner and co-chair of the Economic Vitality committee.

Public Art is another focus. With the Foley Butterfly wall mural completed, they are working on a three-year plan of public art in the form of crosswalks, spot art, and more murals. A virtual historic tour will be rolling out this summer and they have an app for that. Friend them on Foley Main Street’s Facebook or follow them on Instagram to keep up with all the news.

“All this is done through partnerships and team effort,” said Dunmore. “We couldn’t have come this far in so short of time without the help of volunteers and partners such as the City of Foley, Riviera Utilities, the Foley Historic Commission, the Beautification Committee, the Foley Art Center and so many more.”

“Downtown has always created great memories for me. I am committed to keeping Downtown Foley vibrant for future generations,” said President of Foley Main Street Chad Watkins of WAS Designs. “We are asking you to join us in supporting our efforts. We know you believe in a strong downtown as much as we do and if you can, consider becoming one of our volunteers or investors. Go to foleymainstreet.com/join http://foleymainstreet.com/join today.”

Board members are President Chad Watkins, Vice President Justin Shanks, Treasurer Shannon Tierney, Secretary Barbara Ingram, Board members at large: Frances Holk-Jones, Todd Koniar, Anthony Kaiser, Deborah Mixon, Clark Stewart, and Charlie Ebert.

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