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On Friday, March 20, Chris Johnson was honored as Smithfield’s 2014 Main Street Champion at the North Carolina Main Street Annual Awards Ceremony in Morganton. Johnson was selected by the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation for this special recognition in appreciation of his investment in Downtown Smithfield and long-standing commitment to its revitalization.  Along with Champions from 32 other communities, he received a certificate commemorating this designation, presented by N.C. Secretary of Commerce  John E. Skvarla, III and Assistant Secretary Dr. Patricia Mitchell.

Main Street Champions are designated by their local N.C. Main Street programs for their remarkable community contributions.  This year’s group of Main Street Champions brings the total number to 566 award winners since Champions were first named in 1980 as part of N.C. Main Street’s 20th anniversary celebration.

“Main Street Champions recognize the possibilities in their downtowns and strive to make those possibilities a reality,” said Liz Parham, director of the N.C. Main Street Center and the Office of Urban Development. “N.C. Main Street Champions are our communities most valued leaders honored for their commitment to downtown and to their community.  They are Main Street board members and volunteers, nonprofit leaders, downtown developers and small business owners.  They are those individuals that give 110% to their community and then ask, what’s next.”

In recommending Johnson for this honor, the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation offered the following:

“The Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation is proud to recognize Chris Johnson as its Main Street Champion.  During his time as Executive Director, Chris led Downtown Smithfield through many significant changes, including the streetscape project, construction of the Neuse Riverwalk and Buffalo Creek Greenway, the creation of several economic development incentives, and the closure of the US 70 Business/W. Market Street into Downtown Smithfield.  Chris was good at his job, but also did good for Downtown Smithfield outside of work.  Chris and wife, Kim, own two downtown buildings, one of which houses Jewel’s Formals, which attracts customers from hundreds of miles away.  In 2006, Chris and his business partner, purchased and rehabilitated a two-story building, creating office space downstairs with Downtown Smithfield’s first two apartments on the upper floor.  Chris continues to “walk the walk,” and it is our privilege to recognize him for his efforts to better Downtown Smithfield.”  

 
 
 
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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