Downtown Florence earns National Main Street Accreditation

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FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — Downtown Florence has been designated as an accredited Main Street America program for meeting rigorous performance standards set by the National Main Street Center.

In a release from the City of Florence, those “standards of recognition signifies exemplary commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach.”

“Downtown Florence’s performance is evaluated by Main Street South Carolina which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify local programs that meet national performance standards. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, documenting programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings.”

City of Florence

A fairly new business in downtown Florence, The DIY Place, opened back in August 2020. Owners, Cornelio and Aimee Monjarrez also recently received a Best of the Pee Dee Award for Best Place for a Birthday Party and Best Art Workshop Studio.

The DIY Place is located on West Evans in Downtown Florence. Aimee Monjarrez says opening during a pandemic and having a business the first of its kind in the area was a risky but rewarding move.

“Well as a business owner we were a little bit scared about what might happen because people we still wherry about going out and stuff but I knew personally I was tired of being cooped up at home,” Monjarrez said.

There are more than 70 business in the downtown area.

“Downtown Florence’s performance is evaluated by Main Street South Carolina which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify local programs that meet national performance standards. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, documenting programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings.”

City of Florence.

“These things in downtown are so much fun and it’s ways for you to get together with your family and friends and have a good time,” Florence native Crystal Merrill said.

At the DIY Place, Monjarrez it’s all about bringing people together and creating an experience through arts and crafts.

“You can have a girls night.” Monjarrez said. “You can have a birthday party. You can just walk in and see us if you’re downtown and just want something to do, and it’s a spot for you to be creative and you have your own choices. You pick what you want to do.”

Merrill said she couldn’t agree more.

“We are becoming a hometown America,” Merrill said. “People want to be here and the more people we have the better and stronger and more resilient our community will continue to be and grow.”

The City of Florence development manager issued the following statement:

“We could not have accomplished this goal without the help our team, partners, investors, business owners, community leaders, citizens, volunteers, and comprehensive planning process. The Main Street Approach™ is a powerful holistic tool for transforming places, and this accomplishment isn’t just for Downtown Florence—it’s for the whole City. The ripple effect generated from targeted investment in the downtown redevelopment district is felt community-wide, through industry moving in and creating jobs, expansion of our medical and education facilities, quality of life for our residents, and generation of tourism revenue from visitors. We look forward to continuing our momentum, expanding our footprint, and playing a part in moving Florence forward.”

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