Updated: Mar 19
Organization - Best Economic Recovery Initiative
An Award of Merit is presented to: City of Belmont Main Street Program and
Downtown Belmont Development Association for Keep The Lights On In Belmont
On March 12, 2020, Gaston County declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19. The City of Belmont Main Street Program and the Downtown Belmont Development Association created the “Keep The Lights On” campaign to encourage the community to support downtown businesses through the pandemic. A “Keep The Lights On” video brought stark awareness to the effects COVID-19 could have on small businesses and captured 31,588 views on Facebook. The video also informed viewers of a “Keep the Lights On” page on the City of Belmont website with updated business information. Main Street staff maintained the webpage, which became a one-stop shop for customers to find out the operating status of businesses, changes to business hours, services, and offerings, and takeout and delivery options. Main Street staff also designed and distributed 10-minute curbside pickup signs to increase customer accessibility to downtown businesses.
The Main Street Program and the Downtown Belmont Development Association also produced a “Signs” video showing owners of retail businesses and restaurants with hashtag signs. Its purpose was to garner support for downtown businesses and drive people to the City’s webpage. The “Signs” video had 12,876 views on Facebook.
The Main Street Program worked with City leadership to create a $400,000 small business emergency loan program that immediately offered $10,000 loans to downtown businesses. Belmont Main Street and the Downtown Belmont Development Association held several fundraisers that together raised over $20,000 for a relief fund to help downtown businesses keep their lights on.
Because of the Keep the Lights On campaign, businesses were able to keep their doors open and maintain operations through a devastating time. As a direct result of the initiative, new retail shops and restaurants are locating in downtown Belmont because of the support they saw small businesses receive during the pandemic.