Main Street Covington presented several awards to businesses making an impact in downtown Covington and shared their excitement about the year ahead at their annual general meeting Thursday night.
Main Street Covington board chair Dan Walden shared some of the organizations' accomplishments for the year and also commended members on the Main Street Covington board of directors.
Walden said Main Street Covington is a nonprofit volunteer organization with volunteers from businesses, residents and professionals around Covington.
He said the 2011 state award for Excellence in Downtown Development they received from the Department of Community Affairs and the Georgia Downtown Association would not have been possible if it weren't for businesses and volunteers promoting the downtown area.
"This is a group of folks from all over Georgia that know what a good, vibrant downtown is supposed to look like. They know how main street organizations are supposed to be run," Walden said. "It wouldn't have happened without volunteers or board members like you all. We have a lot to be proud of, we really do."
After giving members the annual report, Walden began an award presentation ceremony.
Southern Heartland Art Gallery was presented with the Emerging Main Street Partner Award. Andrea Smith, owner of Square Perk Café was recognized as the Main Street Business Owner of the Year.
City of Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston presented The Golden Brush Award to Sam Ramsey, the owner of Ramsey's Furniture. Before presenting the award to Ramsey, Johnston thanked all of the businesses for their hard work and took a minute to talk about the possible growth coming to the city and Newton County.
"Newton County and the city of Covington are getting ready to go through a boom like you have never seen before," Johnston said. "I've had the opportunity to go to close to 12 to 15 additional prospect meetings with companies interested in coming here since the Baxter announcement. I believe between the end of this year or definitely the first quarter of next year, we will be announcing another 1,500 jobs coming toward Newton County and Covington," Johnston said. "Now is the time to shine every light bulb and get ready."
McKibben Music Store was the recipient of the Downtown Covington Champion Award. Newton County Commission Chair Kathy Morgan presented that award to the business. Before presenting the award, Morgan agreed with Johnston saying that she also sees more job announcements coming to Newton County and Covington. She said companies like Baxter choose to come to the area because of the welcoming people in the community.
"They told us they choose this location because of the city of Covington and Newton County," Morgan said. "Kudos to you all. The square has always been a wonderful place to come. The environment is great. Each of you just believe in our community and believe in your businesses," she said. "You are the people who sell our community, not us."
Current Events Productions received Main Street Covington's Pop-Up Award. Main Street Covington vice-chair Serra Phillips closed the program by talking about the year ahead. Phillips told her story about growing up in Covington and shared her excitement about the growth of businesses downtown.
"Downtown has developed. We're the heartbeat of Covington. We are stronger than ever. We're more able to do things and reach more people than ever. Our board is moving forward in a dynamic way," she said.
Phillips also said celebrities and bloggers are writing about Covington and its businesses; she said that's something the community should get excited about. She said next year Main Street Covington looks forward to making their events bigger and better for the entire community.