On Thursday, March 16, Daniel, Vickie, and Anna Evans of Evans Jewelers were honored as Smithfield’s 2016 Main Street Champion at the North Carolina Main Street Annual Awards Ceremony in Shelby. The Evanses were selected by the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation for this special recognition in appreciation of their investment in Downtown Smithfield, and their creation of a retail destination in their new store, located at 320 E. Market Street. Along with Champions from 35 other communities, they received a certificate and medal commemorating this designation, presented by N.C. Secretary of Commerce Anthony M. Copeland and Liz Parham, Director of the N.C. Main Street and Rural Planning Center.
Established in 2000 as part of North Carolina Main Street’s 20th anniversary celebration, the Main Street Champion designation acknowledges the extraordinary efforts of those persons who have played pivotal roles in the revitalization of their downtowns. The dedication and hard work of countless volunteers is required to make a local Main Street program successful. Each of the state’s active Main Street programs is given the opportunity annually to recognize a local Main Street Champion. The addition of this year’s honorees brings the total number of North Carolina Main Street Champions to 639.
Commenting on the importance of downtowns and the work of the champions being recognized, Secretary Copeland said, “Downtown districts are important economic engines in our state. The men and women we’re recognizing today are the people who keep those engines running, generating prosperity for communities all across North Carolina.”
In recommending the Evanses for this honor, the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation offered the following:
“After five years of planning and more than two years of construction, the Evans family cut the ribbon in front of their jewelry store, Evans Jewelers. Around the corner from their previous location, Daniel and Vickie Evans, with the help of daughter-in-law Anna Evans and other family members, renovated a building that had been vacant for more than fifteen years, exposing brick and an original wood ceiling, installing a copper awning, and painting a mural on the side of the building. The move to the larger building gave the Evanses an opportunity to expand by offering wine, cigars, giftware, and a bridal registry, and has truly made Evans Jewelers a retail destination in Downtown Smithfield. Evans Jewelers’ new store is as custom as the one-of-a-kind jewelry they design and create, and an example of the importance of dreaming big, taking chances, and providing exceptional customer experiences.”
Since opening in their new location, Evans Jewelers has received national recognition in several jewelry industry publications, including a July 2016 article in Southern Jewelry News, being named as one of INSTORE’s “America’s Coolest” independent retailers in July 2016, and a feature story in INSTORE in February 2017. Daniel Evans was asked to participate in a session at the Atlanta Jewelry Show in March 2017 titled “Tales from the Inside: Intimate Conversations with Successful Retailers - Evans Jewelers,” where Mr. Evans shared his strategies to attract customers, create a destination business, and provide customer service that sets Evans Jewelers apart.
“The growth that Evans Jewelers has experienced is a direct result of their hard work and investment,” stated Sarah Edwards, Executive Director of the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation. “The impact that the Evanses and other small business owners here in Downtown Smithfield have on our local economy is tremendous; we are proud of their success and grateful for their commitment to our community.”
Main Street is a downtown revitalization program for smaller towns based on economic development within the context of historic preservation. The North Carolina Main Street program, which provides technical assistance to its communities, is part of the Office of Urban Development in the Department of Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division.
Since 1980, the North Carolina Main Street program has generated $2.5 billion in private and public investment. More than 22,400 cumulative net new full-time and part-time jobs, and 5,500 new businesses have been created in North Carolina Main Street districts since the program’s inception.