Posted on Sep 1, 2023
During the annual awards ceremony of the Georgia Downtown Conference, the Georgia Downtown Association recognized the City of Thomasville with two Awards of Excellence: in the Promotion Category for Outstanding Promotional Campaign and in the Economic Development Category for Outstanding Community Transformation/Downtown of the Year.
“We’re extremely excited and proud to receive both of these awards,” stated Main Street Manager Brandy Avery. “We’re always striving to find new ways to promote Downtown Thomasville, so to receive a promotional award based on those efforts reinforces that what we’re doing is helping Downtown’s economy. Being recognized as Downtown of the Year is truly an honor, and we are beyond excited to share this award with all of our Downtown businesses that contributed to this recognition.”
Treat Yourself in Thomasville Promotional Campaign
The City of Thomasville’s Office of Downtown and Tourism Development worked together to create a new promotional campaign titled “Treat Yourself in Thomasville.” The purpose of the campaign was to drive tourists to Thomasville and to encourage locals to stay in town during the summer months. Main Street took feedback from Downtown merchants and crafted a campaign to directly impact business. With the summer traditionally being the slowest time of the year for the merchants, this campaign focused on shopping and dining in Downtown.
The campaign began in June with the launch of the Summer Loyalty Card. The card was valid from June 1st through August 31st. For every $20 spent at a Downtown business, a merchant would sign off on the card. Once a total of $200 was spent, the card could be turned in to the Thomasville Visitor’s Center for a chance to win prizes. Prizes were drawn every two weeks and varied from Thomasville T-shirts, hats, and Downtown Dollars. At the end of the campaign, a grand prize winner was chosen and won a weekend stay at the Courtyard by Marriott in Downtown. Over 370 cards were turned in for a total of $75,400 spent in Downtown Thomasville.
Downtown of the Year, City of Thomasville
Thomasville is a Georgia Exceptional Main Street City and has continued to pave the way for economic development, historic preservation, and dynamic revitalization in South Georgia. Throughout 2022, the historical streets of Downtown Thomasville experienced exponential growth beginning with the expansion of the Downtown Development District. The Downtown Development Authority and the Thomasville City Council approved the combined expansion of the Downtown Business Park District and the Downtown Development District as one adopted map while expanding the boundary. This expansion provided additional opportunities for future growth with identified gateways into the Downtown and was based on the community feedback adopted as the Blueprint Comprehensive Plan and the Downtown Strategic Plan for revitalization. The expansion included the award-winning Courtyard by Marriot hotel, the historic Biscuit Company event venue, and the Bracey Lumber Company renovation and historic preservation project, along with many other smaller-scale development opportunities.
The growth and economic impact continued into the year, with Downtown experiencing 14 new or expanded businesses, which created 82 additional jobs. A total of $12.4 million+ was spent on private and public investment including 10 rehabilitation projects and 48 public improvement projects in 2022 alone.
“Our program would not be successful without the strong support of the City of Thomasville and all of our Downtown businesses that make Thomasville the great city that it is today,” noted April Norton, Managing Director of Marketing & Communications. “Our businesses continue to grow and expand, which creates a successful economy, allowing us to be recognized across the state and in turn promotes Downtown Thomasville.”
Along with the annual events such as the 102nd Rose Show and Festival, 37th Annual Victorian Christmas, Holiday Open House, Semi-Annual Sidewalk Sales and First Friday Sip and Shops, a new family-oriented event series: Movie Night at The Ritz was launched that also received much success. Downtown Thomasville experienced 166,162 event attendees for the 2022 calendar year.
Since January of 2022, Thomasville has been featured in 30 news publications including, Southern Living, World Atlas, Explore Georgia, Only in Your State, Travel Awaits, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Dream Vacation Magazine, Garden & Gun, Uprooted Adventures, The Upland Almanac, The Travel, Lonely Planet, and many more local publications. Southern Living magazine writers were welcomed to explore Downtown, which resulted in Thomasville being featured in their Best of Spring Edition, showcasing 23 Downtown businesses.
About the Georgia Downtown Association: The Georgia Downtown Association is a non-profit statewide organization that connects communities and professionals that are committed to downtown vitality. GDA provides accredited training programs for downtown development professionals, advocates for Georgia’s downtowns, and educates private and public sectors on the economic benefits of a thriving downtown. GDA also hosts the annual Georgia Downtown Conference to offer top notch educational training and networking opportunities.