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Street Talk

Show Your Love – Help The Economy

By Mickey Howley

 The one economic category where Water Valley really kicks tail is gift and flower shops. Don’t smirk; it is an important category and the strongest one where the Valley brings in people and money because of them. Really, I have seen the state tax numbers. It is impressive because in almost every other category we “bleed” a bit of money to other places. Not with gifts and flowers, money comes in. Valentine’s Day is coming up, this next Saturday is the day to get your plan in action and all those shops on Main Street will be ready. See you out there on the street, fellas.

“The ‘Sip” is a new magazine in Mississippi and celebrating their first anniversary. It is pretty high-end glossy product and it goes statewide and their tag line is “a sip of life from the most soulful state in the South.” The magazine features art, music, writing, food, and culture in general. It likes to focus on towns where things are happening. The current issue has Water Valley’s Delta Grind Grits on the cover and has a great article about how Becky Tatum gets the grinding done and distributed. Every bag she sells has “Made in Water Valley” on it. Sweet, statewide press for the Valley, but there is a second article with lots of downtown images about how women are in business in Water Valley. And how that is working out well. Pick one up around town or check it out online at thesipmag.com.

This column serves as a personal time indicator. This column is a small but critical part of my job. This particular column marks, in a way, six years completed as director of the Water Valley Main Street Association. That’s 312 columns or approximately 163,800 words. The average book is 64,000 words. But that’s the least important numbers. The important numbers are the 74 new jobs on Main Street and the 21 new businesses and the 61,000 square feet of historic commercial space formerly dead and empty that is now fixed and back in use. The biggest number is the $6 million dollars of private money invested back in downtown. That kind of dollars requires faith that the future will be better. When people ask me what Main Street does, I say it is “economic development through historic preservation.” That’s the short answer. Here’s the longer purpose; “The mission of the Water Valley Main Street Association is to promote Water Valley’s Main Street District as the focus of a community where history is preserved; businesses thrive; and citizens and visitors dine, shop, live, and enjoy the arts and entertainment.”

It has been and still is a wide-base collective effort. I feel we all do this work, well, for us, those of us who live here and call this place home. If you like what you see and now feel about downtown, thank any of the 180 members of the association or the city or any of the long established businesses or members of the established clubs here. They all have been an integral part in this renaissance. 

Many thanks for reading all those columns and the most thanks for bringing the town back.

 

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