Main Street Beaufort, USA, leaders say new projects such as $1 parking for downtown employees, Main Street Beaufort Dollars and the Supper Society joint fundraiser continue to improve the downtown.
The organization itself has had "a great year and grown in leaps and bounds," executive director LaNelle Fabian said during the Annual Meeting and Awards event on Thursday in The Dolphin Room at The Best Western Sea Island Inn.
"We've made some positive improvements that will only continue," she said.
High on the improvements list is adherence to Main Street USA's principles of organization, promotion, design and business development.
After marketing consultant Tripp Muldrow of Arnett Muldrow & Associates gave the keynote speech, Main Street Beaufort members questioned him further, asking how technology could help businesses grow. They also focused on ways to attract local and tourist customers.
Muldrow advised them to use Google Analytics to track website visits and encouraged business owners to use social media tools such as Facebook, foursquare and Pinterest for more than just networking. Such tools draw people into physical stores with deals and merchandise and reward frequent customers with special incentives, he said.
THE WINNERS AND NOMINEES
Gonzalez, a contract administrator for XRDi, not only volunteers for Main Street events including Taste of Beaufort and the Beaufort Shrimp Festival, but helps with concerts and behind-the-scenes work such as counting money.
She is the president-elect of the Rotary Club of the Lowcountry, Fabian said, and volunteers with organizations and events including Leadership Beaufort, the Water Festival, LowCountry Habitat for Humanity and the Port Royal Old Village Association.
"I'm not a rich person," Gonzalez said. "I can't give financially, so I give of my time."
She joked that since she doesn't have kids or a husband, she has plenty of time to give to organizations like Main Street Beaufort, which "make this city rich in community."