It’s no secret that Laurel is on the rise. Although the “secret” or key to the exponential growth we see here is restoration, not renovation. For us, the step forward may just be a step back, and it’s our job to “Bring Laurel back” and make it better than ever.
In other small towns and rural areas, the revitalization movement looks like mostly big changes and actions towards modernization. While these advances are good and important, Laurel needs just as much improvement intended to restore its well-known former glory. We’ve found at Lott Furniture Co. that our 100 year secret is simply just sticking to our roots.
Well, we already know that company is coming, and part of that company is already here! So, instead of crashing, it’s our time to ride this tidal wave and land on the sandbar on the other side. During this huge growth of tourism, we have a fighting chance to capitalize. And by capitalizing, we can grow Laurel enough to show some real stability that could last far into the future.
Although we are gaining many great things, we can’t forget what we already have. It’s our turn to make those things better. And to do this, we’ve got to get up and get moving. It’s time to invest in Laurel now.
WHAT WE HAVE IN LAUREL
- Industry- We have exceptional industry that includes companies/factories that employ thousands, such as: Wayne Farms, Howard Industries, Masonite, Laurel Machine & Foundry, Sanderson Farms, and more. Did you know that Sanderson Farms is the 3rd largest poultry producer in the USA and the only Fortune 1000 Company headquartered in Mississippi?
- Parks, Recreation, Schools, and Organizations- Laurel has it’s own accredited Main Street organization, hospital, mall, beautiful parks, a classic theatre, and not to mention–great schools! Folks, we’ve got some real deal locations that are perfect for locals and visitors alike. This very blog was written in Laurel’s first and only co-working space. Also, our very own art museum, Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, receives approximately 32,000 visitors per year!
- Extraordinary People- Possibly the most valuable thing “The City Beautiful” has is the people. Laurel is home to over 18,500 unique individuals. We have a house full of innovators, artisans, leaders, makers, and doers. And we should be proud of it.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR US
According to Forbes, small town living offers little traffic, low costs of living, and more affordable housing. Some other things that are equally beneficial include: lower crime levels, shorter commutes, and more support with less competition for local business.
Investing in small town America, namely our home town of Laurel, is good for the national and local economies, as well as our community as a whole. Therefore, it’s good for your city, your country, your family, and it’s good for you.
Laurel is already a great place to live and offers so much to its residents. Why not make its “heyday” now?
HOW WE CAN HELP BRING LAUREL BACK
- Get Involved- Go to community events. Welcome visitors. Eat at local restaurants. Most of all, volunteer! A few great places to do just that in a variety of different ways are Laurel Main Street, the Red Cross, and the Animal Rescue League or SCAR.
- Speak Up and Stay Informed- Join the conversation and stay connected! Read local newspapers and magazines, watch for updates and events on social media, and read blogs written by native people and businesses. Share posts and sales you see from restaurants and shops Downtown on social media. Like and engage in those posts by commenting and tagging other local friends who would enjoy the content. Make your voice heard about city issues, vote in local elections, and definitely highlight and celebrate triumphs made by Laurel and others who live here!
- #ShopSmall- Shop locally as often as possible. Buy your furniture and home accessories here, your clothes, gifts, food, etc. in Laurel. The more we spend Downtown, the more that goes back into our community. Our friends over at Laurel Mercantile Co. are doing it right. Check out the video they made calling all of us to get serious about small-town America.
Bringing Laurel back is going to take just about all of us, and it starts with you. So please join us as we take part in this journey that can bring even greater value to the place that is so beloved to us all.
Company is still coming, and it’s not just tourism. That company is our children, grandchildren, and the generations to come that will get what we leave them.
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-Keri Rowell, Lott Furniture Co.