Sponsored by: Summerville DREAM
By: H.A. Fisher
Jan Hursey is executive director of Summerville, South Carolina’s Downtown Restoration, Enhancement and Management, “Summerville DREAM”, as its usually known.
“Often, people think we are part of the Town of Summerville, but we are not,” Hursey says. “We work with the town on many projects to promote and benefit Summerville, but we are an independent non-profit. We’re a 501 (c) 3, funded by donations, grants, and sponsorships. We rely on volunteers to help with our events and projects.”
“People might not realize that because DREAM is a 501(c) 3, individuals and organizations can also make tax deductible contributions, DREAM is funded through grants, donations and funds from partnerships with local businesses.” Hursey added.
Volunteers are important to the organization, which has 2 full time and 1 part time staff members. Third Thursday, which DREAM sponsors, requires many hours of work and planning each month. Yearly events, including the upcoming Sweet Tea Festival and Red, White and Blue on the Green, require even more planning and coordination.
When Jan says she wants to put Summerville businesses on the map, she means it. Jan leads the team that creates a map and guide to downtown Summerville. It’s one of many ways Summerville DREAM promotes businesses in the historic shopping district and surrounding city blocks.
“When I visit a town and get a map to find my way around, I don’t like to see a bunch of gaps,” said Jan. “Then you know whoever created the map only listed businesses that paid to be in it. We didn’t want our map to be incomplete. We include everyone, so visitors can see all that Summerville has to offer.” The current map lists more than eighty merchants, restaurants and services, good news for anyone looking for a place to shop or dine in Summerville.
All Summerville businesses are included on the map, but businesses that become DREAM “community partners” gain many other benefits. DREAM coordinates group advertising in regional magazines, helps with beautification projects, training events, and social media promotions to benefit local businesses. Local businesses also benefit from DREAM’s connection to city leaders, civic organizations, and other business owners, all for $150.00 yearly.
Healthy businesses make a healthy economy for the town, but Hursey said DREAM is dedicated to improving the overall quality of life in Summerville in various ways. This includes projects for beautification: art installations like B.I.R.D.S (Birds in Residence Downtown Summerville), a partnership with Sculpture in the South and the Audubon Center at Beidler Forest; and Flower the Town, which places flowering baskets throughout downtown.
There are many benefits and opportunities for Summerville citizens and businesses to participate in the work of Summerville DREAM. Businesses, groups, or individuals wishing to help with DREAM efforts can find out more about these and other projects at summervilledream.org.