About 65 people attended the Clayton Downtown Development Association's Annual Awards Dinner Monday night. Female gospel group C3 performed several songs and got the place buzzing before the program began. Gina Moreland, chair of the Clayton Public Art Advisory Committee gave a presentation on Public Art in Clayton. The DDA recognized several businesses and individuals for excellence and their commitments to downtown Clayton in time, advocacy and resources. Also recognized were outgoing and incoming board members. Be sure to check out the article in this week's issue of the Clayton News Star.
2009 Best Façade Improvement Over $10,000 - 104 N Fayetteville St.
The new home of HTR Commercial Realty was residential until earlier this year. The partnership undertook a complete rehabilitation of the house, keeping as much of the original materials and layout intact.
A formal driveway, parking and underground utilities and landscaping enhances the new paint colors. Repair to the roof, porches and walls included replacing rotten wood and repairing the original windows. Many of the balusters on the porches were being held together by paint, but the owners replaced them with wood reproductions. (Photo - left to right: Paul Flaherty; DDA Chair, Ed Knight; Brack Wilson, Elaine Wilson)
2009 Façade Improvement Under $10,000 - 321-327 E Main St.
The original shingles from the 1969 canopy, in front of Awards & Engravables, Beddingfield Drug Company, Connie’s and Flowers By the Neuse, were removed and replaced with a metal seam covering; the poles supporting the canopy were painted a cream color; the dark wood façade was painted a cream color, bringing more attention to the building and businesses located there. Also, an old sign from a long ago business was removed from above the canopy. (photo l-r: Walter Rasor, Beddingfield Drugs; Jeme Avent, DDA; Rob Baker, Awards & Engravables; Ed Knight, DDA Chair; Larry Belvin, General Precision)
2009 Outstanding Individual in a Business or Organization - Thad Avent, Avent-Permenter Group
The nomination for Thad noted that he has been in business for 12 years, provides “incredible” customer service and his staff says he is the ‘hardest working man in Clayton.’ In addition, he has been a sponsor of the Town Square Concert Series since the beginning, and contributes additional resources to help improve the downtown experience.
2009 Outstanding New Downtown Business – Mulberry on Main Italian Restaurant
This award recognizes a business that has opened or located to downtown Clayton in the past 24 months. The nomination noted that Mulberry on Main, “brings customers to downtown Clayton, provides excellent customer service, provides a consistent product of excellent quality, is well-managed and works creatively to promote the business.” Additionally the restaurant owners, Jerry & Bernadette Gubitosi participate in all downtown activities and events.
2009 Outstanding Downtown Business – Fancy That Gifts
This award recognizes a downtown business that has been in business 3 or more years. The qualities attributed to this nominee include: being a successful boutique that has become a downtown destination; is an advocate for downtown Clayton; cross-promotes other downtown businesses and restaurants; relocated to a larger space a year ago, which made way for another retail business downtown; and treats customers as if they are neighbors. Owner Debbie Hammond also makes it a point to be visible at downtown functions as a volunteer. (photo: Debbie Hammond (l); Ed Knight, DDA Chair)
2009 Volunteer of the Year – Lyn Austin
This award recognizes an individual who through their volunteer efforts has championed the downtown experience. The DDA’s nominee for Volunteer of the Year guided the DDA’s Promotion Committee for the past several years holding committee meetings at her house, which included a social time with home-cooked treats and developed the successful Town Square Concert Series and the Christmas Village & Tree Lighting. As a board member, Lyn has been an active participant in DDA meetings, planning retreats, and training opportunities at the local and state levels and she brings several perspectives to downtown issues.
2009 NC Main Street Champion – Margaret Ritchie
The DDA’s choice for 2009 NC Main Street Champion, Margaret Ritchie, played an essential role in establishing an arts scene in Clayton; Helped found and chaired Clayton Visual Arts; Served on the steering committee that transformed the old Clayton Elementary School into a performing arts center known as The Clayton Center. As editor of the Clayton News-Star, Margaret Ritchie used the editorial page to challenge and champion efforts to develop an arts community and stimulate the development of downtown Clayton. Although Margaret passed away earlier this year, she has left a legacy and was truly a Main Street Champion. Holding the NC Main Street Champion plaque that is displayed at The Clayton Center are Margaret's daughter, Lynne Fish (l) and Margaret's best friend, June Lioret. (photo by Rick Mercier)
Clayton is a North Carolina Main Street Community, and each year the Main Street program honors persons who have made extraordinary contributions to their local downtowns. The designation of Main Street Champion was determined in September by the DDA board. A certificate commemorating this special honor will be presented at the Main Street Awards Dinner in New Bern on January 28.
Special Presentation – Elton Pittman, Pittman’s Jewelers
Elton Pittman, who is closing his jewelry store after 62 years, was recognized for his longevity. Former DDA Chair and longtime downtown business owner, Joyce Blackley, and current DDA Chair, Ed Knight, presented Mr. Pittman with a framed copy of a recent news article chronicling the story of his business.
Outgoing DDA Members
Elton Pittman. Although the plaque he received indicated his service began in 1989, Elton was involved in the various iterations of the DDA since the beginning. Chairman Ed Knight said that Elton’s historic perspective has helped the DDA on many occasions.
Beth Williams has been on the board since 2005, when she owned and operated Flowers by the Neuse Florist, which she sold at the beginning of the year. She served as secretary and most recently as Treasurer. Beth also served on the Promotion Committee.
Lyn Austin –As a board member she took the Promotion Committee to a new level. Chairman Ed Knight said if something needs to be done, Lyn gets it done, and that he will continue to look to her for guidance and support. (Photo l-r: Betsy Grannis; Lyn Austin; Ed Knight)
Incoming DDA Members
There were eleven (11) applicants for the DDA this year with only five seats open. Two of the 11 applicants were from current board members and they were re-appointed for another term. Betsy Grannis is chair of the Organization Committee, which organized this event. Leslie Hubbard is chair of the Economic Restructuring Committee, which helped launch the Clayton Farmer’s Market. Three new members, in alphabetical order, are: Debra Austermuehle, co-owner of Main Street Jewelers; Debbie Hammond, owner of Fancy That Gifts and Margaret Lee, Clayton resident. (photo left to right: Boo Carver, Ed Knight, Jeme Avent, Michael Sims, Debbie Hammond, Betsy Grannis, Margaret Lee, Debra Austermuehle, Richard Rairigh, Leslie Hubbard.)