02/03/14 — Merchants join forces

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Merchants join forces

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on February 3, 2014 1:46 PM

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Businesses line Center Street at its intersection with Mulberry Street. A group of business owners reformed the Downtown Merchants Association in recent months and there are now more than 35 actively participating in the organization, which is aimed at helping boost the district. The association meets the third Tuesday of the month at the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp.

After meeting three times, the revived Downtown Goldsboro Merchants' Association is going strong, its leaders say, with businesses banding together to boost the downtown district's economy.

The association formed late last year as a collaboration of Wayne Turner of The Flying Shamrock Pub and Ruth Glisson of Uniquely R's after both expressed interest in the idea.

"We used to have one before a few years ago, but it only lasted eight months before it fizzled out," Turner said.

Turner said Mrs. Glisson approached him about starting up the association again and he said he became excited about the chance to get business owners working together.

At its first meeting in November, about 25 downtown merchants showed up.

By its second meeting, that number had grown to about 35 or 40, Turner said.

"We want to have an association to get together and help one another," he said. "We want people to share the positives but also the things that aren't so positive as well."

Specifically mentioned in December was the merchants' problem with panhandling in downtown.

"We actually had the city manager, Scott Stevens, down there talking with us about those things to answer our questions," Turner said.

Banding together gives the association a voice stronger than that of just one or two business owners, he said.

Together, they can not only learn from each other to strengthen downtown as a whole but also create a climate open for more businesses to be comfortable coming to downtown.

"It's a really great thing for the businesses downtown having this," Turner said.

Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. Director Julie Metz said that she believes the formation of a downtown merchants association is the most promising development for downtown in the last five years.

"This has the most promise for development downtown," she said "As someone who has spent a lot of time working in downtown, for me to see this going on, and so hands on, is a very good thing."

The association meets in the boardroom of the DGDC office on the third Tuesday of every month at 9 a.m. All downtown merchants are encouraged to attend.