Ways to show Selma our support

Published 7:30 pm Saturday, October 6, 2012

Support Selma Through The Main Street Program is an effort by the Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce Image Development and Quality of Life Committee to encourage Selma citizens to embrace the city and to help make it one of Money Magazine’s “Best Places To Live.” The committee has researched the current cities on the Money Magazine 2012 list (money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/best-places/2012/top100/) and has benchmarked Selma against these cities. We distilled our research and have determined that one of the main themes for the cities appearing on the list is that they all have vibrant Main Streets that are bustling with local businesses.

For each of the next nine weeks, the committee will publish an article focused on one of the ways that Selma citizens can support our Main Street.

The first way that our citizens and local businesses can support our “main street” is to support Broad Street as a “Walking Destination.” The city of McKinney, Texas, established in 1848, is ranked number two on the Money Magazine 2012 list. McKinney leaders and citizens converted their main street downtown, which was littered with abandoned cotton mills and feed stores, into a street with attractive boutiques and art galleries.

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What can Selma do to replicate McKinney’s success? First, our merchants can follow Carter Drug Store’s lead and offer special services on the sidewalk. Carter Drug serves lunch each Thursday during the fall months on the sidewalk in front of its store. The two tables they set up give each individual a front row seat to people watch while enjoying a delicious sandwich.

Imagine if every restaurant on Broad Street and Water Avenue had Starbucks-style outdoor tables with fancy umbrellas. Imagine those tables packed with patrons enjoying the atmosphere and spending their money with local merchants who will put that money back into Selma’s economy. This can be a reality here with minimal cost and effort but could yield big rewards to the business and our community.

The first rule of business is to listen to your customers. If you believe Selma can have the type of downtown described above, you must be vocal about the services you believe need to be offered to make Selma “a best place to dine,” including putting those chic coffee-shop style tables on the sidewalk. When Selma merchants embrace your suggestions, we need to support that local restaurateur.

Tim Mitchell in Northwest Earth Institute’s ‘Choices for Sustainable Living states,’ “A dollar spent at a locally owned store is usually spent six to 15 times before it leaves the community. From $1, you create $5 to $14 in value within that community. Conversely, when you spend your money at a National Chain, 80 percent leaves town immediately,” Mitchell explains.

Finally, please remember that when we make this vision come true, the goal is to also improve the sense of community within Selma. If we dot Broad Street sidewalks with tables and attract crowds of local citizens who fail to say hello to an unfamiliar face, then we have missed the point of the Main Street program – To Make Selma home for everyone.

Please follow us on Facebook at Selma & Dallas County Image Development & Quality of Life Committee and on Twitter at Image&Qualityoflife@Future4Selma.

Happy local dining.