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Downtown businesses aim to increase tourism

By Staff
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Dana Lee Jennings, president and CEO of the Alabama Mountain Lakes Association, suggested several things local merchants can do to attract tourists and increase business at a recent meeting of the Hartselle Downtown Merchants Association.
At the top of the list, she invited businesses owners to become members of Mountain Lakes in order to take advantage of its exposure and services.
The association currently publishes and distributes 300,000 Visitor Guides each year in addition to several niche market publications, including a Fishing Guide, Accommodations Guide, Birling Trails Guide, Golf Trails Guide and a new Hallelujah Trails Guide. All members are listed in the visitor’s guide.
Other suggestions included the following: come up with at least one annual business promotion of your own; set up a website; improve signage; make your store hours consistent and tourist friendly; promote a friendly, helpful atmosphere and; get really good at what you do best.
Jennings said after the meeting that the first thing that comes to her mind when she thinks of Hartselle is antiques.
President Carey Green opened the meeting by welcoming some 25 business owners and calling on Gary McCaig, vice president, and Melba Johnson, secretary/treasurer, to give reports.
McCaig said organization has 17 members and a prospect list totaling 42. Johnson reported a balance of $1,687 in the association’s bank account.
Carey said every downtown business was invited to the meeting but after April 30 only members will be listed in a planned promotional brochure or be able to vote on business matters.
He also reported that the suggestion has been made to move “Christmas Open House” from the first Sunday in November to the second Sunday in the same month to allow more time for switching from Halloween to a Christmas decorating scheme and asked for input. No one indicated they were in favor of making such a change.
The association approved a vision statement as follows: “Hartselle’s Downtown Merchants Association is dedicated to creating enchanting old South memories of downtown shopping that inspires residents and guests alike to make downtown Hartselle a destination of choice.”

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