New sidewalks and trees-A Sunday downtown 2008

(This is a repost in honor of the Tennessee Downtowns Celebration held downtown just recently at The Gap @ Olivia’s Opera House.) 

 “What’s in it for me?  I don’t have a business down there.” 

“Money is being spent to install new sidewalks and lighting.  How does that help my business?

“How does all this effort going into the downtown business district help my business outside of downtown?” 

Admit it, if you don’t work in or own a business downtown these may be some of your thoughts as the City of Martin continues to push forward in revitalizing our downtown business district.  All of the efforts of past downtown projects and now the launch of the city’s involvement in Tennessee Downtowns, a revitalization program operated under the principles of the successful Main Street ® program, raises questions.  Of course it does.  It is change.  Someone will benefit.  Who will it be?

The answer is:  All of us

When you describe Martin to others outside our area, do you include a glowing recommendation to visit our downtown area for shopping, eating, business services and entertainment? 

Do you include downtown Martin as part of your stops when you are holiday or back-to-school shopping or simply looking for a birthday party gift for your child?

Do you consider downtown Martin as one of the places to go when you bring guests or family members into town on the weekends? 

Downtown Martin is growing!

Answer these questions, and ask yourself  if you are actively supporting what is happening downtown right now to help it grow?   Are you willing, but unsure of how you can help? 

You may have read in the newspaper, recently, that Martin was one of ten TN towns selected for the Tennessee Downtowns grant.  Yesterday was the first planning session, and the steering committee and the coordinators involved with Tennessee Downtowns met in the conference room of Office Products.

My main take-away from this meeting was that comprehensive revitalization takes time.  We should begin our endeavor by taking “baby steps,” as one of the coordinators described it and questioning what we like about our downtown.  So, I am asking you to help with the homework.  Take a look at what downtown means to you.  Find the positive qualities of our downtown, and focus there for now. 

Here’s how you can join in.   A suggestion was made for the steering committee to complete a list of The 100 Things You Can Find In Downtown Martin.  There is now a list growing on Facebook on the Historic Martin page.  If you aren’t a friend, join and add to the list.  Start the process and get involved. Visit our downtown area.  If you aren’t satisfied with what you see, think about where your skills and interests may help bring change.  And if you aren’t on Facebook,  you can email me your suggestions, and I’ll add them in.  Email or add as a comment to this post.

Add beautiful architecture to our list. Window above entrance at Weldon Public Library.

A vibrant downtown is a drawing point, a source of pride, a centralized location representing the very heart and soul of a town.  And revitalization efforts are not just for the people who own and operate businesses downtown.   My business location isn’t downtown, yet I want downtown Martin to continue its efforts in growing as the center of our community more than it already is.  The results affect my business and my quality of life in Martin, TN.

As a Realtor®, my perspective  is that a healthy downtown brings life to a community.  A vibrant downtown is a tremendous selling point and attraction for newcomers whether they will be working with existing business or bringing a business to town.   (Follow the progress of a new business now in downtown Martin on their Facebook page, The Looking Glass Coffee & Curiosities)  

Plus, an increase in successful businesses downtown can increase revenues to our city and contribute to a healthier economic condition.  Remember, new businesses provide an upswing in opportunities for the many people who provide goods and services to Martin residents.  The more people pulled to Martin to work, or to open new businesses or to visit means increased needs for housing, food, entertainment, lodging, shopping, and the list goes on and on.  

The Opera House

The Opera House Restaurant - A highlight downtown

2) Additionally, the renovation of existing streetscapes is an investment in the physical elements of our city and adds to the beauty and charm of our area.  Spending money to upgrade our town in this manner makes sense.  A well-kept and appealing downtown area only boosts the attraction quality of Martin to others.

As a long-time Martin resident, my perspective is that I want a vibrant downtown filled with shops, businesses and restaurants that offers me and my family ample,  in-town opportunities for entertainment and business.   How many of us travel to other towns and cities in Tennessee and end up in the downtown area due to the variety of businesses, shops, restaurants, entertainment outlets, art and music fairs, special events and more—all in one central location? 

My wish for our downtown?  I see a place where people fall in love with our own unique Martin downtown.   I want visitors to ooh and ahh when they go home and describe the excitement and life they saw in our business district.   Think about a downtown you have visited in the past year or so.  Have you ever described for someone what you loved about the area?  I always talk about Paducah’s downtown with its brick-street alleys and antique shops, its restaurants and Kirchhoff’s deli-bakery–a have-to stop on every trip. 

The Art's Co-Op - A welcomed addition to downtown

(P.S.  Another thought for those of us who have businesses located outside the downtown business district and wonder how all the attention to downtown helps them.   My experience has been that Paducah’s downtown may be the attraction for me, but I’ve become acquainted with the town because of my trips there and have found other shops, restaurants and activities outside of downtown where I also spend my money and time.) 

The point is there are towns all over the nation where people started out small with big ideas toward enhancing their downtown area.  I believe Martin is a part of this forward-thinking group.

The amount of work already done to downtown has infused energy and excitement to the area.  I offer kudos and a big thank you to everyone who has worked to bring new life to our downtown.  My family has enjoyed the benefits from the existing businesses downtown and the positive effects of a new downtown look, a new restaurant, a new arts facility and several businesses that have entered the scene over the years.  

The first step is to change how we all look at our involvement in supporting additional downtown revitalization efforts.  These are my personal observations as a business owner and resident of Martin.  Will you join me in helping to promote growth downtown by taking a small baby step and help build our list of The 100 Things You Can Find in Downtown Martin?

In the morning when I go to work, I take for granted that I have shoes to wear.  Well, I don’t even really think about it.  I just grab whatever pair works. I may help my daughter rummage through her closet for the Old Navy black boots bought to wear with her gray sweater dress, and off we go.  

No thoughts run through my brain on how these shoes provide comfort and protection to both of us as we walk through the day.  There is no ache in my heart because my little girl stepped out of the front door without a pair of shoes to wear.  Shoes are just there.  But not for everyone.    

Martin TN Soles4Soles Shoe Drive

Drop off your "gently worn shoes" at one of our three collection points in Martin, TN.

Do You Have Extra Shoes In Your Closet?   Please join us and start your Christmas season off right as Century 21 Overton Real Estate conducts its first annual Soles4Souls Shoe Drive

Soles4Souls™ is a Nashville based organization founded in 2004. According to them, Americans have over 1.5 billion shoes just gathering dust in their closets.  And this abundance occurs in a world where over 300 million children walk out of whatever serves as their front doors without shoes. 

I’ve followed Soles4Souls™on Twitter for about a year.  They show their dedication by facilitating shoe donations to people in 125 countries on five continents.  Yes, our own U.S. and  Tennessee are also among the distribution points where shoes are given to those ravaged by poverty or natural disaster or to those in need of a fresh start for jobs and school.   And, “Soles4Souls™ says they give away a pair of shoes every 13 seconds.     

How to Donate Your Shoes.   All through this month and until the first week in January,  you can give someone hope by dropping off your “gently worn shoes” at our office or at two downtown locations that have graciously agreed to be collection points.   Just throw your bag of shoes in the car and donate at:    

The Lookin Glass drop off point for C21 Overton's Shoe Drive

Hannah Murdock drops a gift of shoes at The Looking Glass Coffee & Curiosities

1) The Looking Glass Coffee and Curiosities
215 S. Lindell in downtown Martin, 

2) C.E. Weldon Public Library
100 East Main in downtown Martin or    

3) at our office at Century 21 Overton Real Estate
804 N. Lindell, Martin, TN.    

Please, take a minute and think about the shoes that you no longer need or wear that  may be stuffed in your closets or in a box in a garage or storage unit.     

Soles4Souls™ takes all kinds of shoes.    

Not sure if you should donate a worn pair?  Soles4Souls™ says to let them make the decision on whether your gently worn shoes can be used or not. (If not reuseable, they will use them for recycling material.)    

Questions on donating high heels and dressy shoes?  Nicole, a representative from Soles4Souls,™  explained to me that they structure their shoe donations based on appropriateness to climate and conditions, and that less casual shoes are sent to dress for success programs for people needing shoes for job interviews, work or school.    

Wondering aboSoles4Soles Photo of Shoe Lineut kid’s shoes that have been outgrown or tennis and sports shoes that you don’t wear?  Reach into your closet and drop these off at one of our locations. Get your kids involved in a lesson about service to others.   This shoe drive is an easy way to give to someone else.   

What?  No Extra Shoes or You Live Out of Town?  The Century 21 Overton Real Estate team has also set a goal of $500 additional dollars you can help us raise online  to add to the shoes we collect.  The kicker is that for every dollar we collect, Soles4Souls™ donates a new pair of shoes to someone without.  One Dollar = One Pair.     

Our shoe drive runs from Dec. 3 through January 8th, 2011.   Think about your shoes and join with us.   Don’t take thOnline Soles4Soles Fundraiser Linke Christmas season for granted and miss out on one of the best gifts you can give someone else and yourself.

Call me at 731-225-2619 if you have any questions or email me at  Thanks in advance.    

“I Know 911…”

July 8, 2010

In twenty five years of marriage to a second generation real estate man, I can tell you I’ve heard many tales of quirky happenings during showings and closings.  My husband, Tim, is at it again with his recollection of this preview on a day last July.   Hope you enjoy reading it as much I enjoyed hearing it.  –Leslie  […]

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Jumpstart Your Home Maintenance Weekend Plans With This New Tool

May 24, 2010

Are there weekend warrior home improvement plans included in your Memorial Day schedule?  A few projects to protect your investment will make your home more enjoyable now and life easier when you decide to sell.  Here’s a helpful resource and fabulous tool called houselogic® from NAR I recommend that will start you thinking on your projects. Outdoor Lighting for Curb Appeal and Safety Well-planned outdoor […]

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Connect 2 the 1 Open House Weekend- Two Great Houses – One Great Afternoon And Chance to Win $8000

May 19, 2010

Tim and I will be hosting two open houses this Sunday, May 23, from 1 to 3 p.m.  5 Reasons to Visit These Open Houses:   1)  Two Great Choices:  Martin offers quality housing in all price ranges.   Pick the one that fits within your budget and see the value you can get for your money! 2)  Interest Rates […]

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One Smart Step To Planning Your Wedding

January 21, 2010

Katrina continued,  “This event just puts a smile on your face.  It’s beautiful, first of all, because the vendors take such pride in their displays.  The brides and their friends are all so excited.  And, well, it’s just something different to do on a Saturday in Martin, Tennessee. It’s going to be a lot of […]

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Neighborhood Highlight of the Week: Poplar Street

January 16, 2010

One of the most charming streets in our town is Poplar Street, a residential historic district off of Main Street and a quick stroll from downtown.  Although small in size with only twenty-eight homes, Poplar looms large for anyone who appreciates older homes and a residential area surrounded by schools and shopping. Warner Pace is […]

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MBA Mix and Mingle – Skyhawk Style

January 11, 2010

Martin Business Association Members:  You live in a small town. But, that doesn’t mean you know everybody.  You may have lived here in Martin all of your life, but there are new faces and new businesses around. That’s why the MBA’s Mix and Mingle events are so much fun.  And this one coming up Thursday […]

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Downtown’s New Look

January 8, 2010

I was driving down Main Street in Martin on a sunny day this past December.  I loved this shot of the new look of one of the buildings in downtown.  There has been much improvement in our downtown area over the past few years, and I hear there is more to come! The mural was […]

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Wish Christmas Goodbye or Did You Do That Already?

January 5, 2010

In many parts of the world, Christmas is celebrated from Dec. 25 through Epiphany on January 6.  Celebrations continue and decorations remain up.  My family honors the twelve days of Christmas.   But, the pine scented greenery placed on our mantle is drying to a prickly, irritating mess.  And, another strand of lights on our pre-lit […]

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