UNION — Three of the businesses that helped light up Main Street during Thursday’s Christmas Open House have been honored for their efforts by the Union County Chamber of Commerce.
Torance Inman, chamber executive director, announced Friday that the following businesses are this year’s recipients of the Light Up Main Awards:
• Union County Museum — Best Service Group Award
• Arthur State Bank — Best Financial Group Award
• Smith’s Jewelry — Best Retail Group
Inman said the Light Up Main contest began eight years ago as part of the chamber’s efforts to encourage businesses on Main Street to do more to light up and decorate Main Street for Christmas and Christmas Open House.
“A number of years ago we discovered that in addition to our downtown decorations we wanted to enhance the decorations by encouraging businesses to light up Main with additional lights and decorations,” Inman said. “In order to get greater participation we decided to sponsor a decorating contest.
“We broke the contest up into three categories,” he said. “We had a category for the retail stores, another for the service groups, and a category for the financial institutions.”
Inman said the decorations help attract more people to Main Street during the Christmas season and help boost turnout for Christmas Open House.
“We a tremendous turnout with the museum alone having about 700 people,” Inman said. “The weather was great, it was cold but it was a seasonal cold. Overall it was a great night and a great turnout. We just appreciate all the businesses for going all out to make downtown a beautiful sight for visitors and customers.”
Ola Jean Kelly, museum director, issued a statement thanking those whose assistance helped the museum win the award.
“This is to thank all of you who helped us with our decorations and greeting guests at last night’s event,” Kelly said. “By actual count (with a clicker) we had 689 visitors beginning about 5:15 p.m. and going to a little past the 9 p.m. closing. After last night our visitor census through November 15 is over 1,000 visitors.”
Kelly cited museum staffers Peter Trigianni and Celeste Cathcart for their work decorating the museum. She also thanked those who contributed items now on display at the museum.
“Peter and Celeste did a wonderful job decorating,” she said. “I would especially like to thank all of you who loaned toys. Barbara and Gene Gregory loaned us one of their Santas. Gene and Buddy Smith loaned many toys, decorations and their life-sized sleigh. The Union Progress Club loaned the beautiful gramophone, the speaker to which looks like a giant red morning glory, and Ted Trantham loaned a period love seat. These last two being for the living history room where the theme this year was ‘The Roaring Twenties.’ The Progress Club also gave us a copy of the letters to Santa from 1912 published in the local newspaper. Thanks for everything.”
Lori Dochterman, adviser to the Arthur State Bank Junior board of directors, said the bank and its staff is delighted to once again receive the award.
“Arthur State Bank is very proud to receive the award again this year. It is an honor to be able to serve the community during Open House and throughout the year.”
Beth Smith, Smith’s Jewelry manager, said decorating the store for Christmas is a long-time tradition.
“It’s just an honor to be chosen,” Smith said. “All the stores work hard to promote their products and to show the people of Union what we have to offer in downtown Union. You couldn’t find a prettier downtown anywhere than here in Union.
“The store has been open since 1944 and I can’t remember a Christmas without it having beautiful windows,” she said. “When it comes to decorating it’s a tradition that began with my mother and that I continue to this day.”
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org