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August 10, 2017
Main Street Volunteers in Action
Recent efforts of Main Street Vero Beach (MSVB) has positioned Downtown Vero to become a powerhouse to what is now know as, “The Downtown Vibe”. Downtown Vero is back and in a “big way”. According to Elaine Jones, Executive Director of Main Street Vero Beach (MSVB), “Some of the reasons Main Streets are important are that Downtowns keep profits local, they support family owned businesses and increase the community tax base. They are also a reflection of the community’s image, pride and prosperity. Downtown Vero Beach represents a huge public and private investment and employs hundreds of people. This is the ‘Historic Core of our Community’.” Russ Lemmon of LemmonLines Publications recently wrote, “When I first moved to Indian River County in late 2006, downtown Vero Beach was effectively a ‘Dead Downtown Walking.’ That’s not the case anymore. Downtown is becoming a destination again”. Just this past week, Deborah Kennedy, a guest at the MSVB Welcome Center, said she has been a 12 year visitor to Vero Beach and said she had notice how Downtown has really flourished in the past four years. Two years ago, Treasure Coast Corals Owner Jon Skrapits made the decision to relocate his business from west Vero to Downtown. He told MSVB, “I have met a lot of people here and it feels like I am part of a community. Before relocating, I didn’t realize how great this community was until I moved my business to Main Street and then found out what a wonderful city we live in.”
Some of the efforts Main Street Vero Beach has put forth over the years has been to hold events that draw people to The Historic Downtown area, and in effect, they see what our downtown has to offer and return to patronize the local businesses. In the past year, there has been more outdoor downtown public events taking place from local organizations that are adding to the mix that Downtown Vero Beach is one of the top local event locations to be. People are now talking about how great downtown is becoming with something going on nearly every weekend of the month. These community events can not take place without the city’s greatest asset-its people. According to MSVB’s Administrative Assistant, Carolyn Kleinpeter, “The momentum that has taken place in this location has been what we call ‘The Sweat Equity of Volunteerism’ working cohesively alongside the Main Street Vero Beach organization, the city, civic leaders and merchant owners. Downtown Friday, The Vintage Market, Coffee With The Mayor, car shows, and The Hibiscus Festival are all MSVB Events that have brought crowds to the streets of Downtown. Restaurants and shops that remain open benefit from an increase of customers on those event days”. Karen Fulchini of Baci Trattoria had told MSVB her business was swamped for lunch during the Vintage Market days. MSVB has one full-time employee, one part-time employee, a board of currently 12 members, and the engine of Main Street; a host of volunteers. MSVB has benefited to have dedicated volunteers that come back to give of their time month after month, year after year. Janie Graves Hoover, President of the MSVB Board of Directors says, “Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community, meet new friends and business contacts”.
Volunteers are the backbone that has affected the Main Street movement over the years. Joe McMenamin has been a long time volunteer for Downtown Friday which first began in 1995. He now is a dedicated Vintage Market volunteer. Fred Garzarelli not only volunteers at all Main Street Events, he stops into the office a few times a week to see if the staff is in need of help or gets an update on the next scheduled function. Recently, three of MSVB’s volunteers had been nominated for The Very Vero Award presented at Coffee with the Mayor; Julie Lyon Poteat, Fred Garzarelli and Karen Fuller.
Elaine Jones and staff truly appreciates our dedicated volunteers that work to keep our monthly events successful in addition to all our many volunteers that play an integral part in our efforts to revitalize Historic Downtown Vero Beach. We say, “Thank You!”.
Main Street Vero Beach is a non-profit 501©3 organization whose mission is to promote Historic Downtown. MSVB is a membership based organization comprised of business property owners, artists, residents, government, business and professional people that are dedicated to the promotion of civic pride in our community to make downtown an attractive, safe place to live, shop, work and play.