Music on Main a hit in Farmville, business owners say
By Angela Harne
Monday, September 4, 2017
FARMVILLE — The first Music on Main event meant to increase foot traffic in downtown drew more that 1,000 visitors and met with rave reviews from downtown businesses.
The Aug. 22 event featuring The Band of Oz was the first of what town leaders hope will be similar events to be held the fourth Thursday of every month.
Hosted by the Farmville Chamber of Commerce, local merchants joined forces to host the event with one goal: Entice patrons to town.
"This is great. The weather is perfect and the crowd is gathering and people are going in restaurants," Farmville Commissioner Brenda Elks said as the event began.
Fran Allen of Winterville set up camp on Main Street with her three daughters. They ordered Marabella's to-go and were looking forward to hearing great music with friends.
"My kids love live music," Allen said.
Robert Griffin of Red Oak traveled to downtown Farmville just to hear The Band of Oz.
"I love beach music, but I have two left feet," said Griffin, who planned to enjoy the band from the comfort of his lawn chair.
The Band of Oz is one of Mike Simpson's favorite. Music on Main marked the Lucama resident's first time ever visit to downtown Farmville. He and his wife enjoyed dinner at La Cabanita and an evening of beach music.
For many, it was their first time in downtown Farmville. Merchants hoped visitors would see what downtown has to offer and return to shop and dine in town.
"We want people to have a good time and see how well they are treated in Farmville and come back to shop and eat," said Jay Johnson, the owner of The Farmville Flower Basket, who helped organize Music on Main.
The Flower Basket hosted Pirate Radio, who hosted its talk show from the store during Music on Main.
The event started by 6 p.m., but by 5 p.m. patrons were lining up chairs for the best seats in the house to hear The Band of Oz, which took center stage at the intersection of Church and Main streets.
The crowd was a welcomed sight for Sunita Vasnani, the owner of Hiks Fashions.
"I'm hoping many window shop and refer customers," she said. "We want customers to get an idea of what Farmville has to offer, so they will tell their friends to visit downtown."
Hiks remained open until 7:30 p.m. during the event, which ended at 9 p.m. The Original Barbershop also extended its hours and offered low price haircuts to students.
"I love this town and want to support it and our business community," said barber Dennis Anderson. "I also am hoping Music on Main builds my customer base and increases awareness of my barbershop. I also plan to enjoy some music."
At the Farmville Chamber Office, Brenda Lovic and Dinah Baldwin, the owners of Cutie Patooty, were hoping Music on Main also built their customer base.
"This is a great event and great concept," Baldwin said. "What better way to get together than with music. I'm hoping this entices people to walk in our stores and see what we have to offer, and draws them to come back to our restaurants and shops."
Foot traffic increased immensely at The Pour House and Marabella's.
"This is awesome. We are excited ... and hope more customers become more aware of us and come back," said Pour House bartender Chelsea Faulkner.
Marabella's general manager Debbie Radwick added, "We are trying to help Farmville be a viable town again. We want patrons to come and dine and shop with us — not just ride through or pass by. We have wonderful shops and good food."
Of Marabella's first four customers, two had never eaten at the restaurant before.
"We love new faces and appreciate the faces we see all the time," Radwick said.
Pauline Starling, who attended Music on Main with her husband, Berry, and five-year-old granddaughter, Charlie Jane, planned to enjoy dinner in one of Farmville's downtown restaurants and then listen to the band.
"This is a great thing. I love community events and meeting new people. You can feel the sense of community here, and it's bringing so many downtown," Starling said.
The goal of organizers is to host Music on Main on the fourth Thursday every other month. The next event is tentatively Oct. 26.
The Enterprise serves western Pitt County including the towns of Falkland, Farmville and Fountain.