South Huntsville Main Wins Main Street Alabama Awards of Excellence

For its work in helping improve the business environment of south Huntsville, the South Huntsville Main Business Association received five Awards of Excellence for 2019-2020 projects from Main Street Alabama.

Main Street Alabama celebrates local program successes with the  announcement of the seventh Annual Awards of Excellence. The awards honor projects and individuals that  make tremendous impacts in their respective communities.  

“The Main Street Alabama model of community reviltization has been an enormous success in the South Huntsville district,” said South Huntsville Main Executive Director Bekah Schmidt. “For the past two years, our volunteers, businesses and supporters have worked diligently to execute our mission of creating a vibrant South Huntsville.
“Receiving five Awards of Excellence is an incredible honor. We are proud of all of our award winners, and grateful for their contribution to the South Huntsville Main Program.”
Main Street Alabama focuses on bringing jobs, dollars and people back to Alabama’s historic  communities. Economic development is at the heart of our efforts to revitalize downtowns and  neighborhood commercial districts.

“It’s an honor to recognize outstanding community projects, leaders and volunteers,” said Mary  Helmer, president of Main Street of Alabama. “The awards represent the good work being done in  Main Street Alabama communities, including those that were initiated after the pandemic, sparking  creative ways to promote and help struggling businesses.” 

The awards were: 

Main Street Hero Award: Redstone Federal Credit Union 

Redstone Federal Credit Union has been instrumental in the South Huntsville Main program as one of the first organizations to step up and support revitalization efforts.

In 2019, RFCU announced a joint program with South Huntsville Main to provide $20,000 in  matching grant funds through the newly created Façade Improvement Grant Program, having a total  economic impact of $184,000 on South Huntsville, and assisting small businesses in improving their  store fronts.  

Excellence in Placemaking, COVID-19 Related: Graduation Mural 

COVID-19 delayed and altered graduation for seniors and the demolition of Haysland Square and owners John and Jimmy Hays wanted to do something special to celebrate the class  of 2020.

The family donated money for South Huntsville Main to commission local south Huntsville artist Sarah Finlen to paint a temporary graduation mural on the south side of Haysland Square. John also paid for photographer Jeff White to take graduation pictures of every senior at Grissom High  School. The temporary mural went viral and has been a popular site for visitors. 

Excellence in Business Development: Possibilities Tour 

To capitalize on the interest in opening a business in South Huntsville, the Economic Vitality Committee created a Possibilities Tour. The Possibilities Tour was designed to connect potential business owners with available spaces. On March 5, some 35 potential business owners and city leaders rode the Huntsville trolley to visit nearly a dozen locations. 

Excellence in Business Promotion: The Cookie Crunch 

Instead of hosting a traditional holiday open house, South Huntsville business owners Jennifer Mullins and Pam Burkholz of Interiors by Consign, rallied the businesses to do something outside the box. The idea emerged to create a Holiday “Cookie Crunch.”

Each participating business kicked off its holiday sales last Nov. 13 and made homemade Christmas cookies. The public was invited to sample the cookies at each participating location and vote for their favorite cookie. In addition, there was a drawing from each business for participating customers. There will be a socially distant cookie crunch this year on Nov. 14. 

Excellence in Marketing: South Huntsville Brand Launch 

South Huntsville Main hosted a brand reveal on June 6, 2019 with more than 150 community members attending. The organization offered  ice cream in branded cups, swag bags for guests, and a photo booth. There was more than $1,500 in merchandise sales. South Huntsville Main also redesigned its website – southhuntsvillemain.org – and saw an increase in traffic.