Fort Payne Main Street continues to raise funds for downtown businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fort Payne Council member Lynn Brewer, also a volunteer for Fort Payne Main Street, began the #togetherfp movement by working with rest of the city council to find a way to show support and encouragement for the community..
“During COVID-19, when the governor began issuing restrictions, she would always say, “Together Alabama”. I mentioned to the City Council that we should sort of use that for us and play off what the state was doing, to try to comfort people in Fort Payne, so the council had the banner done,” Brewer said.
The banner she referred to hangs along the fence at the City Park for visitors and residents to see as they drive through downtown.
In April, Brewer approached the Main Street organization with the idea of selling T-shirts as a fundraising event for downtown merchants.
Brewer is also a local business owner and wanted to look for a way to encourage and help others like her.
“Both my businesses were affected by the shutdown, and what people may not understand is when you are closed and have no money coming in, you still have overhead, you’re paying all utilities, rent, insurance, etc. I finally got a [Paycheck Protection Program] loan and it’s still been hard. Others haven’t gotten help, and I honestly don’t know how they have made it,” she said.
Connie Fuller, of Fort Payne Main Street, said the funds from the T-shirt sales will directly help the businesses in their organization.
According to fortpaynemainstreet.org, FPMS is a not-for-profit 501c6, accredited member of Main Street Alabama that is dedicated to commercial downtown economic vitality. It is governed by a volunteer board of directors, and comprised of business owners, elected officials and others whose mission is to make downtown thrive.
“The funds from the donations will be used as grants to merchants in the FPMS district to use for whatever they need to get their business back up and running. It may be something like utilities, or a new sign or whatever will be something they can use. We will have an application process online but it will be a simple procedure. We will give as many grants as we can fund,” Fuller said.
Fort Payne Main Street has more than 60 businesses in its district, and most were impacted, especially the restaurants, Fuller said.
More than 105 shirts have been sold so far in support.
“The response has been amazing and very positive,” she said “We have a wonderful community who pulls together. We have seen this so many times in the past.”
Shirts can be ordered online at fortpaynemainstreet.org and then picked up at the FPMS office or purchased the same day at the office located at 107 5th St. N inside the Coal & Iron Building downtown.