Bryant Million: PNT Staff Writer
The Portales MainStreet Program received four statewide awards Wednesday at the New Mexico Mainstreet Summer Institute in Farmington.
The program won both the Excellence in Business Incentive and Excellence in Downtown Promotion Event, according to a press release from the New Mexico Economic Development Department.
Local business owners won awards as well. June and Max Merrick of Ashley Furniture Homestore were presented with the Excellence in Design Award for their expansion of their business and their efforts to warm up the business climate of downtown Portales.
Tessie Stroud, owner of Nowhere Else Gifts, received the New Mexico MainStreet Community Award for her hard work and entrepreneurial spirit, according to the release.
The Portales MainStreet Program was also awarded national accreditation by the National Trust MainStreet Center.
MainStreet manager Jeremy Sturm said that the awards are a “big success” and that he is very proud.
Sturm said the program was up against 21 other MainStreet communities for these awards and that Portales exceeded the others by winning four of them. He said other communities’ MainStreet programs commented on how much Portales was up on stage receiving awards at the meeting.
MainStreet President Danny Woodward and Sturm both said that much of Portales MainStreet’s success is due to the program’s close partnership with the city government.
“Our biggest thing is our relationship with the city council. They are a heavy supporter of us,” Woodward said. “Many others (MainStreet programs) are jealous of our partnership with them.”
City Manager Debi Lee said the city provides MainStreet with administrative support and that the program gives back by providing jobs and making the city’s downtown area look better.
“It’s (MainStreet) a great economic development tool,” Lee said.
Sturm said most MainStreet programs are completely separate from their city government, but because he is both the manager of MainStreet and the director of community development for the city, Portales’ MainStreet Program has an advantage.