The Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We are a nationally accredited Main Street Community, and are associated with the North Carolina Main Street Center. 
The DSDC works to promote downtown as the place to live, work and shop. We offer support to business and property owners within our district through a variety of programs.
The majority of our organization’s funding is provided by a Municipal Service District (MSD), made up of 18 blocks in Downtown Smithfield. We also receive funding from the Town of Smithfield, as well as grant-making organizations, sponsors, and private donors.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation is to develop and maintain an economically vital, socially active and visually attractive downtown for Smithfield’s current and future citizens.

Vision Statement

Nestled between the serenity of the Neuse River and the vitality of Interstate 95, Downtown Smithfield is the center of government, enhanced by thriving, independently-owned businesses.  A destination for the arts, history, shopping, dining, entertainment, and recreation, Downtown Smithfield is the cultural center of the community.

Board of Directors

The DSDC is governed by a Board of Directors made up of 17 members.  Directors are drawn from the downtown community of property and business owners as well as from the community at large. In nominating board members, an effort is made to include every interest that can bring resource and knowledge to the table in service of the organization’s mission. Five board members are ex-officio members make up the board, including the Mayor of the Town of Smithfield, a Johnston County Commissioner, Director of the Ava Gardner Museum, Director of the Johnston County Heritage Center, and Director of the Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield.  The following individuals currently serve as board members:
President Benton Sawrey, Narron Wenzel, PA
Vice President Jud Patterson, Oak City Collection
Secretary Jan Branch
Treasurer Jeremy Pearce
Dr. Kate Coates
Ruffin Johnson, Insurance Unlimited
Todd Johnson, Johnston County Heritage Center
Billie Stevens
Ex-Officio Members
Tim Kerigan, Town of Smithfield Economic Development Liaison
Patrick Harris, Johnston County Commissioner
To email the Board of Directors, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
From time to time, opportunities for board membership arise.  Board members serve three-year staggered terms, are expected to attend monthly board meetings, serve on a committee, and take an active role in the organization.  For more information about board member responsibilities, click here. Board member applications are available here.


The DSDC is staffed by a full-time Executive Director and a part-time Administrative Assistant.
Sarah Edwards
Executive Director
Rachel Ortega
Administrative Assistant

Office Location

The office of the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation is located in the historic Hastings House at 200 South Front Street beside the Town Commons Park and the Neuse River.

Plan of Work


Staff and Services


Sarah Edwards
Executive Director
Rachel Ortega
Administrative Assistant 

Office Location

The office of the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation is located in the historic Hastings House at 200 South Front Street beside the Town Commons Park and the Neuse River.

Services We Provide

The DSDC acts as a liaison with the Town of Smithfield for all downtown related activities. We provide the following services to business and property owners with the Municipal Service District, as well as to Smithfield-area residents and prospective investors.
Generous grants for property renovations and business development
Available property listings
Business directory listings
Long-range and strategic planning for downtown, including Downtown Master Plan and Streetscape Plan and Implementation
Project development, acting as liaison between the Town and project proponents
Downtown website and social media campaigns
Monthly electronic newsletter
Special event liaison to Smithfield Parks and Recreation Department
Grant support for marketing signature downtown events
Grant writing for outside support of downtown goals
Fundraising management
Comprehensive marketing and brand development for Downtown Smithfield

North Carolina Main Street Awards


Best Facade Project for $15,000 or Less
224-228 E. Market Street


Best Historic Rehabilitation Project
115-117 S. Third Street


Best Downtown Special Event Special Recognition
Ava Gardner Independent Film Festival
Best Outdoor Space Improvement Project Award
Buffalo Creek Greenway


Best Downtown Special Event Special Recognition
Ava Gardner Independent Film Festival


Best Innovation Special Recognition
Downtown Smithfield Business Spotlight on YOUTUBE
Best Historic Rehabilitation Project Special Recognition
105 S. Third Street Project


Best Economic Restructuring Plan Award
Smithfield Historic Area Revitalization Plan (S.H.A.R.P.)
Best New Development/New Construction Project Award
Neuse Office Complex, 101 E. Market Street
Best Historic Rehabilitation Project Award
Smithfield Historic Masonic Lodge, 115 N. Second Street


Best Innovation Award
E-Bay Ham & Yam Sponsorship Sale
Best Downtown Special Event Award
Johnston County Heritage Center Ghost Walk
Best Printed Promotional Item: Graphics Award
Ham & Yam Sponsorship Brochure


Best Historic Rehabilitation Project Special Recognition
Capital Department Store Project, 224-228 E. Market Street


Best Fundraising Effort Award
Smithfield Neuse Riverwalk Capital Campaign

Smithfield's Main Street Champions

W. A. “Bud” Andrews, 2000
James W. Narron, 2000
Wingate Lassiter, 2001
Thomas Berkau, 2002
Tina Hobbs, 2003
Ray Gibbs, 2004
C. Mark Hall, 2005
Jody Duea & Whitney Bales-Duea, 2006
David Maurer, 2007
Waiel Mohamad, 2008
Mickey Buffaloe, 2009
Ava Gardner Museum Board of Directors, 2010
Chris Kinkade, 2011
Millard and Patricia Stallings, 2012
Barry Long, 2013
Chris Johnson, 2014
Todd Johnson, 2015
Daniel & Vickie Evans and Anna Evans, 2016
Nate & Colleen Roby, 2017
Town of Smithfield Public Works Department, 2018



Main Street Program

Smithfield is a nationally accredited Main Street community.

North Carolina Main Street Program

In hundreds of cities and towns throughout the United States, civic leaders are working to bring life back to Main Street. Whether it’s the major downtown corridor in a small town or the commercial center of a larger city, Main Street is being rediscovered. As they work to reinforce and rekindle the economic vitality and values that Main Street stands for, communities are utilizing the Main Street approach to community revitalization, and in North Carolina, communities are turning to the North Carolina Main Street & Rural Planning Center for assistance.

Main Street America

Main Street America has been helping revitalize historic commercial districts for more than 35 years. Today it is a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, Inc., a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Main Street Approach is a time-tested framework for community-driven, comprehensive revitalization centered around transformation strategies that articulate a focused, deliberate path to revitalizing or strengthening a downtown or commercial district’s economy.
A program’s work on transformation strategies should be informed by a solid understanding of local and regional market data and sustained and inclusive community engagement.  Transformation strategies are implemented through comprehensive work in four broad areas, known as the four points:
ECONOMIC VITALITY focuses on capital, incentives, and other economic and financial tools to assist new and existing businesses, catalyze property development, and create a supportive environment for entrepreneurs and innovators that drive local economies. 
DESIGN supports a community’s transformation by enhancing the physical and visual assets that set the commercial district apart. 
PROMOTION positions the downtown or commercial district as the center of the community and hub of economic activity, while creating a positive image that showcases a community’s unique characteristics. 
ORGANIZATION involves creating a strong foundation for a sustainable revitalization effort, including cultivating partnerships, community involvement, and resources for the district.

Main Street revitalization is one of the most successful economic development strategies in America: every dollar a community uses to support its local Main Street program has leveraged an average of more than $38 in new investment.
As a Main Street America™ Accredited program, the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation 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 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.
Smithfield is a North Carolina Main Street Community, designated by the NC Department of Commerce and Main Street & Rural Planning Center.  The Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation is charged with administering the program at the local level and building a public-private partnership to spur economic development in partnership with the state agency. 
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