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Paragould goes uptown.

City Business Association Plans Dual Marketing Strategy for Merchants

PARAGOULD'S CENTRAL business core is preparing for a new marketing push in time for the Christmas rush.

Among plans by the Uptown Business Association is sponsorship of a citywide retailers association through the Paragould-Greene County Chamber of Commerce. Two well-attended meetings by Paragould merchants are leading toward a coordinated marketing effort for the impending holiday shopping season.

The uptown group, which has more than 35 dues paying members, was organized back in about 1980 as the Uptown Merchants Association. The name was changed to Uptown Business Association last year to better reflect the group's participants, which include bankers, lawyers and other non-retail businesses.

"We decided it needed to be revitalized," says Tim Martin, owner of Tim's Men's Wear. "We're the biggest merchants association in the city, but we're still too small to do anything big on our own."

A citywide open house involving more than 40 Paragould retailers is scheduled Nov. 12-14. Participants are working to synchronize their business hours to present a unified front.

Choral groups and different holiday activities and entertainment will be located around Paragould's various shopping areas. Weekend matinees will be held at the newly renovated Collins Theater featuring classic black-and-white Christmas movies such as "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Miracle on 34th Street."

A revamped Santa House, sponsored by Security Bank, will be set up on a parking lot next to the bank. The holiday display was revamped with help from Ridgecrest High School students.

"They're really going to try and make this a big deal and draw traffic from even Jonesboro |Paragould's chief retailing rival~," Martin says.

Paragould's growth in population and new retail developments has shifted to the west. The expanded uptown effort will help attract attention back to the city's historical business core in the east part of town.

"We're trying to get enough interest and money to purchase billboard space to help shoppers find the uptown district," says John Kennett, president of the Uptown Business Association and owner of Child Art Studio. "It's kind of isolated and not on the beaten path if you're just passing through town."

This is especially true for out-of-town shoppers who travel along the city's major north-south artery, U.S. Highway 49. Paragould retailers draw from a 50-mile radius that covers northeast Arkansas and southeast Missouri.

"Most of what we're focusing on is providing quality merchandise, personalized service and friendly sales help -- things that will make shopping easier," says Don Perkey, owner of Don Perkey Shoes and a Paragould City Council member.

During the past year, merchants and the city have spruced up sidewalks and store-fronts in a four-block area bounded by Main, Second, Highland and Pruett streets.

Jazzing up the most lucrative sales season of the year with entertaining sights and sounds is envisioned as a jump start for uptown merchants, as well as the entire Paragould retailing scene.
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Title Annotation:Northeast Arkansas Focus; Northeast Arkansas marketing strategy
Author:Waldon, George
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Oct 18, 1993
Previous Article:NW corner makes political gains.
Next Article:Commercial real estate booming in Jonesboro.

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