Among the initiatives is Griffin First Fridays Downtown, a program that encourages businesses to remain open later than usual to accommodate shoppers.
“It is an effort to bring people downtown to satisfy their shopping needs, their dining needs and also to be able to take advantage of the services available downtown,” said Main Street Program Director Kira Harris-Braggs. “We are also encouraging business owners to stay open later. That will enable people who work during the day to come downtown to be able to utilize these businesses. We are particularly encouraging this during the upcoming holiday season.”
The businesses which are taking part in Griffin First Fridays not only extend business hours, but during these times, may offer specials and unique promotions.
According to Harris-Braggs, the number of businesses currently taking part in First Fridays is about one dozen, but that is expected to change.
“At this time, we have approximately 12 businesses participating, but I am getting calls from other businesses that are interested in participating,” she said.
Altogether Unique Clothing Store, Agape Computers, Antique Griffin, Charity’s Closet, Claxton-Cole Pharmacy, The Griffin Gallery, J. Michael’s Frameworks, The Next Chapter Bookstore, Safehouse Coffee and Tea, Weekend Treasures and Tiger Lily are the businesses involved at this time.
Harris-Braggs said there are numerous reasons to support local businesses.
“It’s so important, especially during these economic times, to support local businesses,” she said. “That’s why we are also promoting the 350 Project, which is a project that the (Griffin-Spalding) Chamber of Commerce is also supporting.”
She explained the simple concept behind the 350 Project and some of the ways it will benefit the Griffin-Spalding County community.
“Think of three businesses that are independently owned that you would miss most if they were gone,” she said. “We ask that people think about trying to spend at least $50 per month in one of these independently owned stores. For every $100 spent in independently owned stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures. However, if you spend the same amount of your money in a nationally owned store, only $43 stays in our community. If you shop online, as a lot of people do, then, of course none of it stays in your community.”
In addition to the obvious financial benefits of shopping locally, especially during the upcoming holiday season, Harris-Braggs said the basic goal of the Main Street Program is simple.
“We’re just encouraging people to come downtown, and get out and about,” she said.