Visitors to Front Street in Georgetown will soon be welcomed by a patriotic display of American flags outside most shops and restaurants.
On May 1st at 2 pm, business owners on Front Street in Georgetown will mount American flags in newly installed brackets. Members of the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce and the Georgetown Business Association are getting behind the effort. The flags and brackets are being provided by the GBA.
The public is invited to watch as the flags are raised. The GBA is still accepting donations for the cost of the flags, poles and brackets and the ongoing costs of maintaining the flags. Georgetown’s local Veterans of Foreign Wars branch has volunteered to install all the brackets. After May 1, business owners will be responsible for the display of their flags.
Susan Brannen, owner of a store on Front Street called The Cottage, is a Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce member and a member of the Front Street Beautification Committee for the GBA. She said the campaign began about two months ago as an effort to beautify downtown Georgetown and show pride as “small-town USA.”
“From May 1 forward, businesses will proudly fly our flags in solidarity to support small businesses across this country,” Brannen said. “We hope to see a trend and more small towns will do the same.”
Small businesses, she noted, have always been the backbone of America. The Cottage, located at 814 Front St., features the works of more than 40 local artists and also carries several lines of ladies clothing, accessories and shoes.
“I think Georgetown is the epitome of small-town USA and to have flags displayed outside the businesses helps us show that,” Brannen said, noting that businesses have struggled over the past year due to the pandemic and also staying competitive with online shopping.
“We had already lost so much business to online shopping,” she said. “With the addition of Covid-19, it has really been a tough year for retail.”
Brannen is hoping that the flag display will be replicated in other small towns like Georgetown.
“I would love to see it snowball,” she said. “Hopefully, it will get publicity and small towns across the country will do the same thing.”
Several Front Street business owners and managers say they are excited to participate in this project. Patricia Devine-Harms, owner of Purr & Pour Cat Café at 908 Front St. and also a Georgetown County Chamber member, said she is thrilled to take part in the flag display.
“I see it as a way to uplift the whole town and uplift visitors and residents alike,” Devine-Harms said. “It is a beautiful way to show that we love our town and being American.”
Purr & Pour Cat Café, as the name suggests, showcases adoptable cats for St. Francis Animal Center in Georgetown. The café has a cat zone where people can spend time with furry friends and a separate no-cat zone with a coffee shop and merchandise for sale. Everything sold goes to benefit adoptable cats.
“They live in a fun environment on Front Street until they find their ‘fur-ever’ home,” Devine-Harms said.
She said that, for her, collaboration with other small businesses is more important than competition.
“Each of us lifts up other small businesses, and solidarity is so impactful and so important,” Devine-Harms said. “There are such unique and engaging shops and restaurants along Front Street. We each have wonderful gifts to share with our guests.”
Chamber member Adam Hall, owner and operator of Groucho’s Deli at 913 Front St., which offers a variety of deli-style sandwiches and salads with home-made sauces, said he is all for showing solidarity with other small businesses.
“I am in favor of anything we can do to draw closer to one another and show a sense of community,” he said.
Hall added that the patriotic element of this project goes along with the Georgetown’s historic past, and it will provide a unifying theme on Front Street after a year of struggle.
“Hopefully, it is a symbol of the return to normalcy,” Hall said. “A walk down Front Street on a sunny Friday afternoon is different in 2021 than in 2020 and it makes us very appreciative of having good health and a good future.”
Tom Foose is the manager of Tomlinson’s, a family-owned classic department store at 806 Front St. which sells a little bit of everything, including collegiate clothing and accessories, and a variety of gifts. As a longtime Chamber member, Tomlinson’s has long championed community pride.
“We are hometown people who take pride in the communities we serve,” he said. “We look forward to a successful year and an ongoing relationship in the years to come.”
Foose said he thinks having all the stores display an American flag is a great idea. In fact, Tomlinson’s was the supplier for the flags and hardware.
“This is a great way for our local businesses to be patriotic and show support for our country,” Foose said. “I think it’s an important step to draw people downtown, and to revitalize the heart of our towns and our cities. We look forward to seeing the flags flying!”
For more information about the event and displaying a flag at your business, call Brannen at The Cottage at 843-708-6144.
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