Reporter: Lauren Compton l Videographer: Ira Quillen
Bedford,VA-Bedford Main Street is rising above recent controversy to get back to the business of helping local merchants.
The organization lost its former interim director after he was charged with credit card fraud. But, a lot of Bedford merchants are excited about the new director. Sue Montgomery brings an expertise that could help local businesses. She was once the Economic Development Director for Bedford County. And, she says one of her key focuses is encouraging residents to buy local.
Downtowns like Centertown Bedford are hubs for mom and pop shops, businesses run by locals who go the extra mile for customers.
"We don't have a lot of big overhead, and we can pass along exceptional prices," said Garland Davis, Alpha & Omega Formal Wear.
But, Davis says this downtown hospitality isn't always enough to bring local residents in.
"The local buyers they seem to want to step away from this area to Roanoke or Lynchburg to buy," said Davis.
The New Bedford Main Street Director Sue Montgomery hopes to change that.
"We'll help by working with each and every business as they want to participate to bring the people to them, "said Montgomery.
Centertown already has a new hook for locals; the area is becoming a big Arts and Antique district. And, Montgomery says she'll continue Bedford Main's Street history of promoting businesses through events like Centerfest.
"It brings local people to the downtown businesses and gives them an opportunity to show Bedford residents what they have," said Rachel Ellis, Owner of The Bedford County Store.
"I've always said you have to create the environment that's right for the economy to thrive," said Montgomery.
The next big Bedford Main Street will be the 2nd Fridays in Centertown. And, this summer Bedford Main Street is hosting a new event called 'Cruzin' Downtown Bedford'. Centertown will transform in a downtown of the 1950's, complete with costumes, and classic cars.
Go to www.CentertownBedford.com for more information on upcoming events.