Drumming Up Business
Ky., business owners
explore need for merchants group
advocates also see need
to form a new group
Helen E. McKinney
CARROLLTON, Ky. (December 2012) Business owner
Dinah Marshall believes the formation of a Merchants Association
in Carrollton would be a good thing. Many in the community
are contemplating this idea, along with a desire to revamp local arts
by Don Ward
Point Park is the site
of many events but merchants
want to mobilze an effort to bring
more activitiy to the retail district.
Marshal owns Artful Gifts, Etc., located on Highland Avenue.
She says that a Merchants Association would benefit business owners
by helping us to grow and co-ordinate ourselves so that we can
She says that many in the community dont realize what is
available. We have a variety of businesses, but they have to be used
on a regular basis to stay open. If you live on the other side
of the county and dont travel downtown often, you wont know
whats there, she said.
Alice Richter is among a handful of people trying to change this. She
wants to establish a better downtown rapport between business
owners, the city council and the community, she said.
Richter chairs the Organization Committee, a subcommittee of the Carrollton
Main Street Program. The goal of establishing a Merchants Association
is to become an advocate for business and property owners. My
part is to do the footwork for them.
She said such a group would be different fro m the Carroll County Chamber
of Commerce in that no dues would be required at the present time. The
purpose is to have downtown merchants working together to do things,
and make downtown more appealing.
Rhonda Riley, executive director of Carrollton-Carroll County Tourism,
said this would be a great thing because certain events held downtown
helps tourism. Its a win-win situation for both groups. Its
also a good boost for small, individual businesses.
Anything we can do to showcase our downtown area is needed, said Riley.
The historic square, old courthouse its a dying
Richter said that so far, several merchants thought it was a good
idea. She added that there is power in numbers if
this plan is to come to fruition.
Two meetings have been held on the topic and attendees raised
a lot of questions, Richter said. The police chief and Mayor Gene
McMurry attended one of the meetings.
Richter said the mayor is supportive of these two projects. But as to
whether a Merchants Association is really needed, it depends on
their goals, said McMurry.
The chamber is business oriented and already in place. At the
meeting, I encouraged people to join the chamber, which represents the
city and county, rather than establish a whole new organization.
Rae Burgin, who owns Burgins Floor Covering, has been in the same
location since 1998. Before that, she ran a business on Main Street
for 18 years that is still open.
We have so many different things going on, and right now we have
several different people working the downtown area, she said in
reference to the Main Street Program and the chamber. I dont
know if we have any use for another committee.
She agrees with
Marshal that sometimes outsiders dont know whats going
on. A big issue for merchants and shoppers is parking, according
Nevertheless, many agree with Riley that were headed in
the right direction.
In regard to renewing the arts scene in Carrollton, McMurry said he
would like to bring arts back to the community. I hope to be able
to provide funding in next years budget.
Riley said the Carroll County Public Library does a great job
in showcasing our artists and the arts. But more exposure and
venues are needed to bring about a greater awareness of what the county
has to offer.
Hilary Arney, a library employee, is spearheading the reformation of
a local Arts Commission. There is a lot of important legwork to be done
to make a long standing in the community, said Arney.
Our goal is to learn from the mistakes of the past. In regrouping
the Arts Commission, We have a very valuable product to offer
to the community, she said.
Carrollton has had an Arts Board in various forms for the past 25 years,
said Arney. In 2007, several individuals attempted to bring it back
again, but this effort was met with obstacles. This past spring, the
mayor asked several members to rejuvenate the commission, she said.
Right now the commission is working on establishing itself as at 501c3,
which will make it easier to attract potential donors in the future
and lay the groundwork for applying for grants. We need to find
a way to be self-sufficient.
Once the core group has been established, we will open it up to
new membership, Arney said. We need a firm foundation to
She would like to see some type of spring kickoff membership drive event
and for the committee to plan some seasonal events for 2013.
Back to December 2012