We are approaching the end of our fiscal year, which also means we are planning our annual meeting.
This year, it will be at 6 p.m. June 3 in the Dolphin Room at the Best Western Sea Island. While our nomination committee met to nominate businesses for awards, we were reminded of how impressive our downtown has been this past year. Main Street Beaufort awards are given to individuals or businesses in the downtown district. The boundaries of the downtown district are defined by Ribaut Road on the west, Boundary Street on the north and the Beaufort River on the east and south.
• Best Exterior Rehabilitation recognizes an outstanding rehabilitation or renovation of the exterior of a commercial or residential property.
The top three nominees in this category are 700 Bay St., City Loft Hotel and the Garden at the Beaufort Inn. Rehabilitating an existing structure is important to the revitalization of downtown and keeps our uniqueness and history in place.
• Best Interior Rehabilitation recognizes an outstanding rehabilitation or renovation of the interior of a commercial or residential structure.
The top three nominees in this category are Breakwater Restaurant, City Loft Hotel and Plums. Improving the interior of an existing structure adds to the quality of the building by improving the current use or completely changing it to suit a new use.
• Outstanding New Construction recognizes a property owner, builder or contractor for outstanding new construction of a commercial, residential or mixed-use structure.
The top two nominees in this category are 700 Bay St. and the city of Beaufort Police/Courts Building. Adding a new structure to complement our downtown is not an easy task to take on, but when done correctly, it adds to the beauty of our vibrant downtown.
• Best New Sign/Awning recognizes a business owner for an outstanding new sign or awning. Strong contenders for this award will adhere to the guidelines of the city of Beaufort sign ordinance. The signage or awning should possess quality craftsmanship, attractive design elements and creativity.
The top three nominees in this category are Sweet Grass Apparel, Breakwater Restaurant and Wren.
• Outstanding New Business recognizes a new business that opened between July 2008 and June 2009 for outstanding achievement; unique business practices, services or products; contributions to the economic stability of the downtown district; and/or creation of new jobs in the downtown district.
The top three nominees in this category area Lime Lite Salon, Bricks on Boundary and Southern Graces at the Beaufort Inn.
There are some businesses that aren't listed above but should not go unrecognized. Kathleen's Restaurant improved the interior of its building, Maryland Fried Chicken invested in a new sign, the Lollipop Shop has proven to be a sustainable business since opening; and there are many more.
Winners will be announced at the annual meeting June 3, along with the winners of Small Business Partner of the Year, Corporate Partner of the Year and Volunteer of the Year. We are excited to find out who wins and celebrate our 25th year with everyone. Tickets to the annual meeting are $20 each. For tickets, call 843-525-6644.
LaNelle Fabian is executive director of Main Street Beaufort, USA