NEW BERN — Elkin was one of nineteen communities to receive awards for excellence in downtown revitalization at the North Carolina Main Street and Small Town Main Street Awards Ceremony recently. North Carolina Department of Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland and Assistant Secretary of Rural Economic Development Kenny Flowers presented the awards in categories that include economic vitality, design, promotion and organization.

“While the world struggles with the COVID-19 crisis and its economic consequences, the important work of programs like North Carolina Main Street continues,” Secretary Copeland said. “We’re proud of this year’s award-winners, whose innovative leadership generated public and private investment, spurred job creation and facilitated residential development to energize the state’s downtown districts.”

The North Carolina Main Street and Rural Planning Center at the N.C. Department of Commerce helps small towns create vibrant central business districts by using local resources to preserve their historic fabric and build upon their unique characteristics. A panel of judges chose this year’s award winners from more than 50 nominations submitted by Main Street communities across the state.

Assistant Secretary Flowers says the annual Main Street Awards are a chance to showcase best practices in building rehabilitation, downtown revitalization strategies, historic preservation and creative marketing. “Common to every successful Main Street program are authenticity and partnership, and these communities exemplify the best of those qualities,” Flowers said.

The Explore Elkin initiative was awarded Best Innovation this year for its contributions towards economic vitality by creating Explore Elkin memberships, hosting community meetings, accumulating data/community input, organizing downtown events, scheduling music and volunteers, creating new marketing resources, and increasing and promoting activities weekly in downtown and beyond. Explore Elkin organizes numerous events in downtown, and has created solid partnerships with The Reeves Theater, The Liberty, Main Street Advisory Board, Downtown Elkin Business Association, Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce, and Foothills Arts Center. Explore The award was accepted by Natalie Eidson, Brittany Rogers, and Brittany Russell. CAVU Marketing, Creative ED Consulting (Crystal Morphis) and the Town of Elkin were also acknowledged as contributors to Explore Elkin’s success at the award ceremony.

Laura Gaylord, Elkin’s Main Street & Community Manager, sent in the nomination. “We are blessed to have such a dedicated team. They are all busy enough with their jobs and home life, and sometimes adding on the responsibilities of Explore Elkin must feel like a secnd full-time job to them, but these successful women continue to amaze us with boundless energy and creativity. We are so thankful for Explore Elkin’s positive effect on our community, but as with any event, you need a good team to pull it all together. I’m happy these three were able to attend the conference and accept this well-deserved award, but we can’t forget to thank those who organized the initiative in its early stages when Mayor Bishop asked Jeff Eidson to take on the challenge.” Laura continued, “Having the NC Main Street Program and the NC Dept of Commerce recognize Explore Elkin is truly an honor for our community.”