The newly-formed Midtown Merchants Association of Hattiesburg is actively seeking new members to join its effort to unite and promote the area being billed as “the heartbeat of Hattiesburg.”
Keri Ray Galey, the organization’s membership coordinator, said the initial response has been overwhelming.
“Business owners we’re talking to have long seen a need to join forces for the betterment of the area,” said Galey. “And everyone I’m talking to is excited at the opportunities ahead.
To further those efforts, an after hours social mixer is planned for Tuesday, Oct. 2 at Brass Hat located in Hotel Indigo.
“It will be a great opportunity for members and prospective members to network with one another and to learn more about the Association and what we offer,” she said.
The event is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. and will include hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.
In all, there are an estimated 430 businesses located in the area officially designated as Midtown Hattiesburg that includes the area between Interstate 59 and U.S. Highway 49 and West 4th Street and Lincoln Road.
Those businesses employ 7,500 Pine Belt Residents and generate more than 100,000 monthly visitors in midtown.
“It really is the heartbeat of Hattiesburg,” said Galey.
The brainchild of local restauranteur Robert St. John, the organization officially formed earlier this year and elected its inaugural slate of officers including Joel Ingram (Hub Development), chairman; David Gustafson (Signature Magazine), vice-chairman; and Amanda Blackburn (SignsFirst), secretary/treasurer.
Other board members include: Tom Smith (representing residential interests), Jerome Brown (The First), Shalendra Lux (Wells Fargo), Rob Tatum (The District at Midtown), Robert St. John (New South Restaurant Group), Robin Magee (Petra Mediterranean Cafe), Joseph Heidelberg (Tabella), Roman Galey (Southgroup Insurance), Cesar Potenza (Java Werks), Stephanie Messina (Breadsmith), Dr. John Mayfield (All Animal Clinic), and Andy Stetelman, (London and Stetelman).
For Ingram, the association has a clear purpose.
“By gathering and organizing all of these different businesses, we can pursue our common mission of trying to improve and enhance midtown, and make it a more vibrant business community,” he said. “We want to see if we can get everybody on the same page here, at least from a business standpoint and see if we can’t keep this momentum going.”
Galey, who is the association’s only paid staff member, has been busy making the rounds to prospective businesses to solicit their participation.
For more information about membership, reach out to Galey at (601) 325-1999 or via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org