2020 Athens Main Street Impacts

Your support helps insure we continue in our efforts to revitalize downtown Athens!

Navigating the past year has been challenging for everyone in our community, especially our small businesses. Throughout this difficult time, Athens Main Street continued to be there to support our downtown community.  We are only able to do this through generous donations by our community.  More than a third of our funding comes from your donations.  

We have worked hard to combat the local challenges of COVID-19.  Here’s what we were able to accomplish thanks to public and private partnerships.

  • Temporary Outdoor Dining – Within four days of the order to reopen restaurants by the State of Alabama, we rented temporary barriers to comply with the Alabama Beverage Control Board and worked with the City of Athens to institute outdoor dining downtown.
  • Permanent Outdoor Dining – Given the success of the temporary outdoor dining, we partnered with the City of Athens to make outdoor dining a permanent addition to downtown.

  • Courthouse Lawn Outdoor Dining – We partnered with the Athens City Schools and the Limestone County Commission to temporarily expand outdoor dining to the courthouse lawn.  Given that success, we raised money to purchase tables and made the expanded courthouse lawn dining permanent.
  • Curbside Pickup – Within a day of the order to reopen businesses, we obtained approval from the City of Athens to offer curbside pickup spots for retailers and restaurants downtown.  We provided both signage and sandwich boards to any requesting business.

  • ReOpen Main Street Campaign – We provided the businesses vital, immediate information as new orders were issued by the State of Alabama.  In addition, we provided ReOpen Main Street Campaign materials to inform the public of masking requirements, cleaning procedures, social distancing requirements. 
  • Grants, Loans and Other Assistance – As grants, loans and other assistance became available to our small businesses, we assisted with information and recommendations.
  • Square is Open for Business Campaign – Immediately as the crisis hit, we increased marketing presence to inform the community the Square is Open for Business.  We launched several successful social media campaigns, Faces of #shoplocal, This Place Matters, and many others.
  • Events – Our historically successful Fridays After Five events were not possible during this pandemic.  To encourage the public to shop and eat downtown at a more measured pace, we held a new event “Win the Window that resulted in increased sales during a two-week period.  We have held our beloved Sippin’ Cider and Chocolate Walk events in a COVID-friendly way and have seen great success.
  • Athens Saturday Farmers Market – As we entered the summer months, we reconfigured our Athens Saturday Farmers Market to incorporate COVID protocols giving our farmers, artisans and prepared food vendors a place to operate their small businesses. 
  • The Square Arts & Entertainment District – To encourage the public to spend time shopping, eating and strolling in downtown, we spearheaded the effort to institute The Square Arts & Entertainment District.

  • Christmas Open House – We partnered with the Greater Limestone Chamber of Commerce to hold the Christmas Open House.  
  • Athens Christmas Parade – New to our list was the Athens Christmas Parade, where we partnered with the Chamber, LCEDA, Limestone County Commission, City of Athens, and several outstanding community volunteers.
  • Merchants Alley – This project was kicked off in 2020 and is a major focus in 2021 revitalizing the alley next to UG White and Terranova.  Merchants Alley will be musically themed as we depict Athens Amplified.  We will create a series of murals, works of art that will engage in a multitude of ways.  We will replace the hardscape walking surface to create a vibrant pedestrian corridor linking the municipal parking lot and the core of Downtown. Our design for landscaping and furnishings will promote gathering places for all generations to engage in social activities and bounce back from the pandemic.  

Given the financial drain on so many in our community, we chose not to hold our 2020 Investor Drive.  However, now in 2021 we need your help to continue our work. If our efforts have resonated with you, please support us by making a contribution.  I have included a link to the brochure that will provide more information as well as a form to fill out with your donation or you may donate online here.  Please consider signing up as a Downtown Business Supporter for $125 or an Individual Investor for $50.  We are also raising funds for Merchants Alley through Naming Opportunities and recognition on our Donor Wall.  If you are interested in more details, click on this link.