The North Carolina Main Street Program operates out of the state's Department of Commerce. The program provides self-help direction, technical assistance, training, networking amongst other Main Street communities, and produces an annual state-wide conference welcoming all Main Street and Small Town Main Street cities. Designation as a Main Street City is an honor, and Mount Airy Downtown, Inc. is an award-winning and nationally accredited program.
As a Main Street America™ Accredited program, Mount Airy Downtown, Inc. is a recognized leading program among the national network of more than 1,200 neighborhoods and communities who share both a commitment to creating high-quality places, and to building stronger communities through historic preservation-based economic development. All Main Street America™ Accredited programs meet a set of National Accreditation Standards of Performance as outlined by the National Main Street Center.
Over the past 30 years, the Main Street movement has transformed the way communities think about the revitalization and management of their downtown districts. Cities and towns across the nation have come to see that a prosperous, sustainable community is only as healthy as its core. The National Trust Main Street Center's mission is to empower people, organizations, and communities to achieve ongoing downtown and neighborhood district revitalization based upon the principles of self-determination, resource conservation, and incremental transformation represented through the comprehensive Main Street Four-Point Approach®.
Mount Airy Downtown, Inc. operates within the Main Street Program's Four-Point Approach: Economic Vitality, Design, Promotion, Organization.
Revitalizing a downtown or neighborhood commercial district requires focusing on the underlying Economic Vitality of the district. This work is rooted in a commitment to making the most of a community’s unique sense of place and existing historic assets, harnessing local economic opportunity and creating a supportive business environment for small business owners and the growing scores of entrepreneurs, innovators, and localists alike. With the nation-wide growing interest in living downtown, supporting downtown housing is also a key element of building Economic Vitality.
A focus on Design supports a community’s transformation by enhancing the physical elements of downtown while capitalizing on the unique assets that set the commercial district apart. Main Streets enhance their appeal to residents and visitors alike with attention to public space through the creation of pedestrian friendly streets, inclusion of public art in unexpected areas, visual merchandising, adaptive reuse of older and historic buildings, more efficiently-designed buildings, transit oriented development, and much more.
Promoting Main Street takes many forms, but the ultimate goal is to position the downtown or commercial district as the center of the community and the hub of economic activity, while creating a positive image that showcases a community’s unique characteristics. This can be done through highlighting cultural traditions, celebrating and preserving important architecture and history, encouraging local businesses to market cooperatively, offering coordinated specials and sales, and hosting special events aimed at changing perceptions of the district and communicating to residents, investors, businesses, and property-owners that this place is special.
A strong organizational foundation is key for a sustainable Main Street revitalization effort. This can take many forms, from a standalone non-profit organization, to a special assessment district, to a program housed in a municipality or existing community development entity. Regardless of the organizational type, the focus is on ensuring that all organizational resources (partners, funding, volunteers, etc.) are mobilized to effectively implement the Community Transformative Strategies.
Mount Airy Downtown, Inc. Received the 2016 Best Special Event or Event Series Award for the Public Art Fiddle Crawl at the North Carolina Main Street Conference! Pictured Left to Right: Dr. Patricia Mitchell, Assistant Secretary for Rural Economic Development for the Dept. of Commerce, Gene Rees, Vice President of Mount Airy Downtown, Inc., Ted Ashby, President of Mount Airy Downtown, Inc., Lizzie Morrison, Main Street Coordinator of Mount Airy Downtown, Inc., and John E. Skvarla, III, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
Gene Rees was named 2016 Main Street Champion for Mount Airy! The NC Main Street program is proud to annually recognize the efforts of dedicated individuals who have contributed to the success of the local programs across our state. Gene Rees loves Mount Airy with a selfless passion beyond measure. He grew up working in his family business, F. Rees Company, which has been open on Main Street for over 60 years. F. Rees Company is a clothing store company known for quality and service. Several employees have worked there for over 40 years. When you shop at F. Rees Co, you feel like you’re with family, and Gene wouldn’t have it any other way. While his clothing stores thrive, his passion for historic preservation has been a saving grace for our town and others. He has been breathing new life back into old buildings in Mount Airy and all over the state for over a decade. His Renfro Loft project houses 37 condos that have continued to stay full for the past 14 years. Gene has another sold out mill project underway in Mount Airy now, and we couldn’t be more grateful for his investment and his service. Pictured Left to Right: Dr. Patricia Mitchell, Assistant Secretary for Rural Economic Development for the Dept. of Commerce, Gene Rees, Vice President of Mount Airy Downtown, Inc., and John E. Skvarla, III, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
Main Street Coordinator
Mount Airy Downtown, Inc.
Board of Directors
We are governed by a Board of Directors, which meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 8 am in the lower level conference room of the City Municipal Building, 300 South Main Street. Downtown Mount Airy business, property owners, and members of the public are encouraged to attend. The MAD, Inc. Board of Directors consists of five (5) voting Directors representing property owners, merchants and business people within the boundaries of the Municipal Service District, and five (5) voting Directors representing residents, representatives of the financial, real estate, architectural, legal and non-profit service organizations within the boundaries of the Municipal Service District. Two Directors are ex-officio, and are appointed by The City of Mount Airy.
Ted Ashby, President
Gene Rees, Vice President
Joe Reid, Treasurer
Mayor David Rowe, ex-officio
Jeff Boyles, ex-officio
Lizzie Morrison, Main Street Coordinator
Mount Airy Downtown, Inc. is a nationally accredited North Carolina Main Street organization committed to historic preservation-based community revitalization.
Mission: Mount Airy Downtown, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to foster and stimulate economic growth and development within the City of Mount Airy Municipal Service District through educational and promotional activities.
Vision: Historic Downtown Mount Airy resides at the doorstep of the Blue Ridge Mountains where our urban living is enhanced by arts, entertainment, local wine, and our Traditional Music roots. Fostering a diverse variety of small businesses flavored with authentic dining experiences, Mount Airy is a true southern town with all the
charm of Mayberry.