published Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Ringgold business owners hatch ideas to bring shoppers to the heart of town


by Beverly Carroll
Audio clip

Cindie Robinson

RINGGOLD, Ga. — Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, but it might be a helicopter dropping eggs in a field for a citywide Easter egg hunt, if the members of the Ringgold Downtown Partnership can pull it off.

“We have approval from the (Ringgold City Council) for a citywide egg hunt,” said Cindie Robinson, owner of Uniktings , a variety shop on Nashville Street.

The egg hunt is one of a long list of ideas developed by the Ringgold Downtown Partnership, founded by Ms. Robinson and several other business owners interested in bringing people downtown.

“We want to focus on shopping local. We want people to think about Ringgold and realize they don’t have to drive to the mall,” Ms. Robinson said.

Joy Thornton owns United Gift Shop and the Karate Studio on Tennessee Street with her husband, Jesse Thornton.

ON THE WEB

Visit the Ringgold Downtown Partners at www.ringgolddowntownpartners.org.

“We have a subcommittee working on getting a helicopter,” Mrs. Thornton said.

About 30 people attended the partnership’s meeting last week. The group already sponsors a monthly Ladies Night Out where businesses stay open late, serve refreshments and hold drawings for prizes.

An art show and a bridal fair are coming in March. Other ideas include a farmers market and Taste of Ringgold, in partnership with the Food Network, Ms. Robinson said.

The group is producing a map of businesses and historical sites to place in motels and public buildings. Members also hope to develop a discount shopping card, Mrs. Thornton said.

“We are also doing a survey of people who live in the area to find out why they don’t come downtown,” she said.

A new church, Origin Church, has opened in the Ringgold Depot, and local chef Jernard A. Wells Sr. plans to open a restaurant downtown.

“We want people to think Ringgold, shop Ringgold,” Mrs. Thornton said. “We want people to know there are activities right here in Ringgold.”

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