Summerville celebrates 'Third Thursday'

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - The Downtown Restoration Enhancement and Management Committee of Summerville has revived its "Third Thursday" campaign for a second year.

"[The campaign] is trying to keep [downtown Summerville] thriving and economically stable," said Downtown Restoration Enhancement and Management (D.R.E.A.M.) committee member Alexandra Kassing.

On the third Thursday of each month, participating stores -- dozens, per Kassing -- stay open until 8 p.m.  Through self and city distributed advertising, locals who otherwise would skip main streets for corporate outlets fill the stores.  In exchange for special sales, store owners gain exposure and much needed profit.

"Store fronts are changing, business owners are changing, a lot of empty buildings.  It's said," said Frankie Liady, owner of Marigolds in downtown Summerville.  "People in Summerville have to realize they have to support their community to have a downtown."

Liady says she's noticed a strong return of new customers who eventually become regulars.  Liady says she's thankful for the efforts of the D.R.E.A.M. committee ad mist a two year span of slumping profits and layoffs.

"People are leaving [local stores] and going to chains because they think they are getting deals," said Liady.  "It hurts."

Kassing agrees.  She says downtown Summerville is caught in a tough spot; nearby Charleston and Mt. Pleasant each boast expansive shopping centers that draw attention away from Summerville outlets.  Kassing remains hopeful, however, "Third Thursday" will reverse that trend.

"On the one hand, we're the quintessential Southern town," said Liady.  "On the other hand, we're like, really unique and have all sorts of cool, creative stores."

"Third Thursday" will run each month for the rest of the year.  Kassing says attendees can look forward to street vendors, live music,  and art walks as the weather gets warmer.

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