Recently, the Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a planning session for chamber board members, Mount Olive administrators and Mount Olive town board members. The group gathered in Mount Olive’s historic train depot and discussed partnerships between the three entities.
Julie Beck, Mount Olive Chamber president stated, “This was a great opportunity to bring our leaders together to discuss the present and plan for the future. In a small town, it is important to work together so we can grow our community.”
The planning centered around one word, growth. Planning session attendees were reminded that this was the town’s 150th anniversary and the chamber’s 90th anniversary and to think about the changes that have occurred in our community in the past and what changes need to occur in the future. As ideas were generated, they were written down for all to see. Some key highlights including: bringing more businesses downtown, especially retail; creating a farmer’s market; continuing beautification projects in downtown; hosting more community events; getting University of Mount Olive students engaged in the community; creating bike paths; encouraging more people to utilize the Gateway bus; driving traffic from Highway 117/Interstate 795 into our community; incorporating the arts in our downtown; and getting wayfinding signage.
There was also discussion about creating a store in Mount Olive that sold products from businesses that are headquartered in Mount Olive including Mt. Olive Pickle, Butterball, UMO, Hwy 55, Southern Bank, Handy Mart, Friendly Mart and even the North Carolina Pickle Festival. Their products represent our community and we need to promote those businesses and products.
Beck, who also serves as a member of the Wayne County Travel & Tourism steering committee, commented about making Mount Olive a destination. “We have a quaint community. We especially need to get more people to visit our downtown. I still have not given up on my dream of having a mechanical pickle outside of the chamber office. That would drive traffic to Mount Olive. Who would not want to ride a mechanical pickle?” laughs Beck.
“I am grateful that the Mount Olive Chamber organized this meeting. Our community leaders must work hand in hand. The town’s beautification committee is working on a mural that will reflect the town’s history and a wayfinding signage committee has been formed. These are just two of many projects that will drive more traffic to our Mount Olive. We must continue to seek ways to boost our economic development and growth,” stated Barbara Kornegay, Mount Olive Town Board member.