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#HERstory in Mayberry: Jenny Smith

"Often, we overlook certain community needs until they become personal to us. After starting my own family, I realized Downtown lacked a crucial asset: kid-friendly programming. Now, every day at work, my children inspire me to create a Downtown environment that Ophelia and Charlotte will cherish throughout their childhood."

Meet Jenny Smith, a passionate advocate for tourism and a driving force behind the charm of our downtown area. Many know Jenny for her friendly disposition and job title of “Visitors Center & Group Tour Manager”. However, she is most often recognized for her hard work supporting tourism efforts for Downtown Mount Airy.

"My earliest memory of downtown includes my parents and me standing in a line at Specialty Gifts that wrapped around the corner. I was so young at the time that I couldn’t comprehend what a line like that meant for a small business owner — I just knew that this was where I needed to be to get the Princess Diana special edition TY Beanie Baby."

Jenny hardly ever works alone and is often with her two daughters, Ophelia and Charlotte, while she completes her work downtown. The trio can frequently be seen at many community-favored events, including Autumn Leaves, Farm Fest, Downtown Trick or Treating, and the parades.

"It's been wonderful to see Ophelia taking an interest in the work I do downtown, and as a mom, I'm delighted to encourage her curiosity about tourism."

Jenny Smith understands the significance of early exposure to Downtown for a career in tourism. During her senior year at Mount Airy High School, Jenny explored her interest in Entrepreneurship by spending a semester working alongside Amy Slate at Scarlet Begonias. Despite being a native of Mount Airy, Jenny witnessed firsthand the influence of events like Mayberry Days on the store's sales during her time with Amy. In the subsequent semester, Jenny adjusted her internship schedule to work at the Visitors Center, where she was under the guidance of Jessica Roberts, her current boss since 2016.

"I believe that establishing an early connection with Jessica and delving into the field of Tourism were key factors that guided me towards this role when it became available in 2016."

While it's clear that Jenny's family is deeply ingrained in the Downtown community, her daughters also participate in Mayberry photoshoots every fall. Adorning her office wall are pictures of Ophelia and Charlotte dressed in "Aunt Bea" style fashion, showcasing their connection to the Mayberry tradition.

"Honestly, I can't even remember what life was like before this job. The downtown energy is just so magical, thanks to all the amazing shop owners, visitors, and locals."

Jenny serves and represents Downtown across numerous Boards and Organizations. She is the vice president of the Downtown Business Association, social media and content creator for Visit Mayberry, she serves on the City Appearance Commission, Parks, Recreation, Relocation, and Retirement Committee, Young Professionals Mount Airy with the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce and Mount Airy Downtown Inc. Promotions Committee.

"One of my recent achievements was using my role on the Appearance Commission to revamp the Christmas tree for our yearly lighting ceremony. This wouldn't have been possible without the assistance of Luke Danley and the Grounds Maintenance team, who supported and managed the initiative. Every day after we put up the new one, Charlotte would eagerly spot it on our way home. It meant the world to me to see my daughter appreciate my efforts in such a simple yet significant manner."

Jenny dedicates countless hours supporting Downtown Events and Merchants. Mount Airy Downtown Inc. is thrilled to showcase someone like Jenny as the inaugural feature for the #HERstoryinMayberry: Real Women, Real Stories campaign for Women’s History Month. We celebrate Jenny and all the women in Downtown who contribute to making our community truly special.

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