Local business owner Nan Sutton and Main Street Beaufort, USA, are receiving state-wide recognition for their contributions to the city of Beaufort.
Main Street South Carolina has announced the 2013 winners of Inspiration Awards, according to Main Street Beaufort executive director LaNelle Fabian.
Sutton, who owns Lulu Burgess on Bay Street, received the Master Merchant award. The Main Street Beaufort Dollars program earned the Outstanding Promotion award.
Those are the only categories Main Street applied for this year. Awards will be presented during the Municipal Association of South Carolina/Main Street Awards Breakfast July 20 in Greenville.
Sutton was surprised Thursday afternoon when Fabian and others burst into her gift, clothing and accessory shop at 917 Bay St., Suite E, to announce the award. Sutton hadn't been told she was nominated.
Among the reasons she was nominated are her social media presence -- including an active Facebook page where she promotes her store, other store openings and downtown events, and "Filmtastic Friday" YouTube videos. Sutton creates the videos, which typically highlight products in her store. The most recent video included clothing suggestions for the annual Beaufort Beauties drag contest, where prominent local men dress up and compete in a pageant to raise money for local organizations.
Sutton also buys hundreds of pounds of candy every Halloween for other downtown businesses for the annual Trick-or-Treat for children.
"I've always looked at retail as fun," she said after being surprised with the announcement.
Main Street held the Beaufort Dollars promotion twice in 2012 and based it off a program in Ardmore, Pa.
The "dollars" are purchased for half-price, but can be cashed in for the full value at participating shops. The program is designed to boost sales during typically slow periods for businesses.