Volunteers Making a Difference!

 

Preserving the heritage and charm of Southport.

STORY AND PICTURES BY: KRIS BEASLEY

 

Throughout the year, the hard working volunteers of Downtown Southport, Inc. (DSI) meet monthly to spearhead many events and projects in the Southport area. Their time is donated but their actions are priceless! Meet the members of the DSI Board and learn what they’ve got cooking for fine citizens and merchants of Southport! And if you are not a member, you are missing out!

Tell us about Downtown Southport, Inc. Who founded it and why

For several years there was a Merchant Association in Southport. In 2006, several of the board members of the Merchant’s Association met with Randy Jones (Department Director of Tourism for the City of Southport) and discussed partnering to organize a joint non-profit organization. From this grass roots committee, which also consisted of community leaders, Downtown Southport Inc. (DSI) was established.  In the beginning, Downtown Southport Inc. had a paid part-time Executive Director in order to qualify to be members of “Main Street”, a National organization and to organize the different activities that Downtown Southport Inc. was involved.  In 2011, it was realized by the Downtown Southport Board of Directors that there were not enough funds to support a paid position and pursue the Mission of Downtown Southport Inc.  It was at this time that Downtown Southport, Inc. (DSI) became a solely volunteer organization.  The Board of Directors consists of 11 community and business members.

What is your Mission?

Downtown Southport, Inc. (DSI) is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization. It is dedicated to preserving the heritage and charm of Southport. We encourage and support preservation projects, cultural activities, educational programs, tourism, as well as, economic growth in the downtown area, making downtown Southport a vital, vibrant, year-round community for citizens and guests.

 

Can anyone join DSI? Is it only for businesses?

DSI welcomes anyone who supports and believes in the mission of DSI. Our members consist of Businesses: Retail, Food and Lodging, as well as Services, Individuals and Not-for-Profit organizations.  This year, DSI has increased its membership by 20%.  Membership is $25/year.

 

Tell us about your annual events?

DSI sponsors the following: Southport Spring Festival (co-sponsored with the Southport/Oak Island Kiwanis Club), Southport Waterfront Market, Southport Garden Tour (co-sponsored with the Southport Garden Club), Southport Kiosk/ Wayfinding Signs (working closely with the City of Southport), Southport Trolley (co-sponsored with Southport merchants), Winter Craft Festival and the Southport Christmas Flotilla (co-sponsored with the Cape Fear Yacht Club).

 

Please explain some of the past projects that DSI has been responsible for?

Since 2012, DSI has contributed over $60,000 to projects for Southport. These include:

Donations to:

–Southport Beautification Committee (2012 financial donation and financial contribution to Christmas wreath campaign 2015)

–Parks and Recreation (2013, 2014, 2015)

–War of 1812 (2013)

–Pyrate Festival (2013)

–4th of July Naturalization Ceremony (2013, 2014)

–Southport Garden Club – Garden Tour (2014)

–Shop Local Project / Signs and advertising (2013)

–Partnered with the City of Southport with funding, creation and printing of the new City Walking maps (2013, 2014)

–Southport Trolley Project (2014)

–North Carolina Friends of the Maritime Museum in Southport (NCFOM building campaign 2015)

–Project chair and major contributor: Southport Kiosk/Wayfinding signs

 

Do you have any specific goals for 2016?

(a): DSI has several projects under consideration and are partnering with other not-for-profit organizations in Southport in order to continue to promote events that support the mission of Downtown Southport, Inc…

(b): Increase membership to further engage businesses and individuals supporting our mission

(c): Continue to partner with the City of Southport, Businesses and Individuals

(d): Encourage the greater community to connect with DSI through our website for information about our merchant members and Southport

How has Downtown Southport, Inc. supported the businesses of Southport?

Through sponsoring efforts: The campaign to support local business – “Shop and Dine Local”, City of Southport Walking maps, Kiosk/Wayfinding signs, Southport Trolley, offering our members a link on our web site, Facebook and promotion of events through our monthly newsletter as well as promotional table at special events.

 

Where does your (Downtown Southport, Inc. – DSI) funding come from?

Downtown Southport, Inc. (DSI) is a not-for-profit organization and operates independently of the City of Southport. Our funds are raised through our Festivals, Waterfront Market, private donations and membership dues

 

How can someone reach DSI?

Web site: www.DowntownSouthport.org

Email: downtown_inc@southportnc.org

Facebook:  Downtown Southport, Inc.

Phone:  910-279-4616

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Southport Area's Culture & Events Magazine