Above, left to right: Wendy Russ,
United Country Spot Real Estate and a
Clinton Councilwoman, Patti Wilkerson of
Wilkerson Jewelers in Stuttgart, Kitty Murdock,
coordinator of the newly formed
Clinton Business and Revitalization Association (CBRA), and
Sean Sikes of
The Dirty Farmers Community Market in Clinton.
for 'economic death indicator'," Wilkerson elaborated. "Vacant shops,
dingy storefronts, decrepit signage. They were all around us, but we had
become blind to them."
At right: An example of a
Then one day an industry prospector, on a mission to find a new
location for the expansion of the company he represented, came to town.
Local leadership met the man's private corporate plane at the local
airport, prepared to give him the red carpet treatment starting with a
guided tour of Stuttgart. However, before the group had traveled the
seven short miles from the airport to the downtown business district,
the prospector announced that he had seen enough. His company was not
interested to expand to Stuttgart, he said, and he was ready to go back
to the airport.
Shocked, confused and dismayed, local leadership asked what had
prompted this quick decision. "Too many EDIs," the prospector responded.
"I counted eight in just five miles. There is no point to us going any
Wilkerson, who chairs the
Stuttgart Unlimited committee of the Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce,
told how local business leaders led by Allen Homra, financial adviser at
the Stuttgart office of
Edward D. Jones & Company, concerned with the economic and
industrial growth of their community, banded together early in 2011 to
create the "Let's Paint Stuttgart" project. Determined to enhance the
curb-appeal of their downtown business district, they set a goal to
paint 25 storefronts that summer.
before and after: The first building to get a makeover by the Stuttgart
group is a popular family-owned restaurant.
At right: Another dramatic Stuttgart
Providing volunteer labor and logistics to paint a building with the
property owner buying the paint, a cleaning crew would prep and
powerwash several days before painting began.
By the time October of 2011 rolled around, more than 300 volunteers
had logged 3,200-plus hours helping clean and paint 28 building
exteriors. The transformation wowed residents and generated a ripple
effect of enthusiasm and community pride.
Above: Main Street
Stuttgart sports a fresh new look thanks to the Let's Paint Stuttgart
"Our visit to Stuttgart was inspiring," said CBRA's coordinator,
Kitty Murdock. "It convinced us that our plans to spruce-up our own
downtown business district are doable and well worth the effort. It just
takes cooperation and work."
For more information, visit
CBRA on Facebook or phone 501-313-1584.