Have You Weighed In On This Idea? Reposting: ‘Adopt’ A Storefront on Main Street

In writing a second novel, Facing East, the house where I grew up in Evanston, IL. plays a part. The main character, Katherine White, wonders if a house retains the collective memories of those who have lived there. What do you think? Do you believe as I do that not only houses, but the wonderful old buildings along Main Street have kept their memories? I maintain that nothing has been lost as we continue to honor the people that started and grew their businesses downtown by hard work and perseverance. We can cherish the memories contained in these old buildings, remember their heyday, while turning our attention to the possibilities of their next incarnations.

I know you’re saying, “Stepheny, do you realize the amount of money it takes an investor to buy one of these buildings, regardless of the fact that it is one of the architectural gems you seem to see everywhere?” From one who has trouble balancing a check book, the truth is that I’m no good with the money end of things so perhaps I don’t understand, BUT I believe in the revitalization of the Rocky Mount Main Street area with enthusiasm and faith. I have an idea, and together, I hope we can flush it out. It is a way to draw attention to these buildings that are a Rocky Mount asset.

If we can adopt a highway, why can’t we adopt a storefront in downtown Main Street? Let’s have a social media creative think tank where no idea is too big, wrong, silly. (We’ll have a reality check on what is really possible after we gather the ideas.) Could we get various organizations and churches, even families to adopt a storefront; wash a window, clean up the space? What about displaying a vignette that supports your cause? Might the high school art students get involved creating mixed media to represent the interests of the youth of the community? Should we turn an empty storefront into a tribute to the history of the building…the grocery, the hat maker that it once was? Do the storefronts become a history walk or an imaginative presentation of  the vast amount of community outreach the various groups of Rocky Mount are involved in? What shall we showcase along the way? What kind of an event can we have to bring people down to see the formal unveiling of these adopted storefronts?

I don’t want to hear, “BUT Stepheny…..” Habitat puts sweat equity into their projects. When the community shows their support for the Main Street Rocky Mount area and the businesses that are there and more that are coming, it says we care about the future. We will be replaced by the financial equity of the various investors that see the demonstrative support of the community.

How do you envision an adopt a storefront effort? We have absent owners, we need permission, keys, and, and, and….but that can happen once we have a plan to sweet talk these people into letting us adopt their storefront windows. We need to bring more people downtown to fall in love again with these wonderful buildings that are waiting to be useful. The concept of community sweat equity will clean up these store fronts and say we care. Leave your ideas below in the comment section, e-mail me at sfhoughtlin@aol.com, leave a private message on my Facebook page, but think about it. Allow yourself to believe in the new life of ‘these once upon a time’ buildings that are coming alive one building at a time. Let’s do something to help all those who are working hard to reimagine the future.

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Think of the potential of using these windows in an adopt a storefront/building effort.

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About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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23 Responses to Have You Weighed In On This Idea? Reposting: ‘Adopt’ A Storefront on Main Street

  1. tomabetts@gmail.com says:

    Great idea!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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  2. Tom Stallings says:

    This is a project the Rocky Mount Railroad Museum maybe interested in. We need a display location.

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  3. How about finding out the history of what was once at a section of empty buildings and then doing up a display in the windows of what it would have looked like back then. How much nicer to walk down the street and see some life instead of empty, discarded storefronts.

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  4. Steve Felton says:

    What would the cost be to adopt? Great idea?

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  5. Steve Felton says:

    Great idea, willing to donate artwork of Downtown pieces I have done.

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  6. William Pittman says:

    May an individual do this also

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  7. Lisa Godwin says:

    My daughter is interested in helping with this idea! She is a sophomore at Rocky Mount High School and will be entering the IB Program next year. We would love to brainstorm with you!

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  8. A Comment left on Facebook from Friend, Steve Etter: I certainly hear the old shops in downtown Spfld relating their tales as I wander among them. I see faces of lost family and friends standing in front of them waiting for a bus or going through a door on their errands. The buildings dispense those little nuggets of memory so graciously and leave me wistful as I turn toward home.
    February 3 at 10:48am

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  9. Julia Lewis Griffin says:

    I would like to have a storefront display honoring our military; past and present.

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  10. Christian Adoption Services would be interested in hopes to help revitalize downtown and bring awareness that adoption can be a good option for pregnant women in our area who are not ready to parent. Our entire community suffers when women and teens parent a child they are not ready for.

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    • Sheryl, this idea for an organization promoting their programs is a great use of “adopting a window.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful to help Christian Adoption Services with their mission. Thank you for responding. Hoping more good ideas emerge like yours. Hope you will share the post with others in your group and beyond and let’s see if we can make this happen. THANK YOU.

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  11. Kathy Smith says:

    Wonderful idea! I would love to help with this…town history, tobacco displays, textiles, farming….so many ideas so few windows…please put me on the list to help or to adopt a window (I met you at the Koi Pond opening- we had a nice conversation about my family who worked at the Mill)

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    • Delighted you like this idea and I like yours of the many things we could turn this into. Hope I can contact you and we can talk this through with a few others to see what the next step would be. Your e-mail is included with your name. I’ll be back in touch. As I have said to others, “Hold the thought.” Our Koi Pond time together is the first of many conversations I hope. Thank you for weighing in.

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