Jun 16, 2013

New Director a ‘downtown cheerleader’

BY BOB ROBINSON
ASSOC. EDITOR
GREENVILLE – Following her first two months on the job, Main Street Greenville’s new executive director Amber Garrett, said she thought she pretty well had a handle on the job.

“I was lucky,” she said. “I had a good understanding of the job even before I was offered the position. I’m a cheerleader for downtown.”

Garrett said the Main Street program has four major components: Operations, Design, Marketing and Business Enhancement.

In operations, she said the idea was to build cooperation between groups that play a role in downtown: economic development, Visitor’s Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, the city, the businesses and, of course, the citizens.

Garrett said the second point, design, had to do with the image the downtown presents: the buildings, lights, window displays…

“We offer ideas,” she added, “like the flower boxes that are planted each year. It’s up to the business whether or not it wants to be involved.”

Third is marketing the downtown’s unique characteristics and activities.

“We help promote their specials, their special events,” she said.

Garrett noted this also gives the community “a place” to go, things to do.

Finally, the Main Street program is about business enhancement; helping existing businesses and recruiting new ones.

“Our goal is to try to convert vacant spaces to vibrant spaces,” Garrett said.

Garrett’s a Greenville native and graduate of Greenville High School’s Class of 2000. Her husband Rob is a ‘99 graduate.

“I’m about as local as you can get,” she said. “I got involved with the community following a ‘Flicks on Fifth’ event… had one of those ‘aah, hah!’ moments.”

She went on to say that she used to complain about there being nothing to do, then suddenly realized it was her turn.

“I’m an adult now. It’s my turn… my turn to get involved, to do something about it.”

Garrett worked at Brethren Retirement Community for almost eight years doing human resources.

“As much as I loved my job and my time there, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity.”

Garrett said a big plus was working with student volunteers, especially in the summer when so much was going on.

“Not only is their energy a great thing to see but they can pull their age group into these events.”

Volunteers currently helping Main Street Greenville are Shaun Wolfe, Amy and Lisa Barger and Brealyn Eckstein.

Garrett said Brealyn posted on her facebook page that she was… “seeing Greenville in a new light.”

Another visitor told Garrett that her 24-year-old daughter invited HER to go to First Friday.

“She has never done that before,” she said.

Amber Garrett (back) and volunteers (left to right) Shaun Wolfe, Amy and Lisa Barger and Brealyn Eckstein review past photos of First Fridays prior to getting ready for the evening’s event.

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