TUSCUMBIA — Volunteers have formed organizations in recent years to enhance Tuscumbia and boost its small retail base.
During that time, Tuscumbia Retail Development has been formed from what started as a group of women in the city who gave input on the types of shops that would interest them and ways to bring shoppers downtown.
Stores such as the Fiddledee D! cooperative have formed from there.
Local merchants organized Market 35674, which is a movement to strengthen the entire city’s retail base, share ideas and create events. The 35674 represents Tuscumbia’s zip code and is a way to stress that the organization is interested in all development, including along U.S. 72.
The groups have been key to events such as Third Thursday, which is a downtown gathering based on Florence’s successful First Fridays. They also created the annual A Dickens Christmas, Y’all festival that saw growth in December in only its second year.
The retail development group purchased Tuscumbia banners that adorn downtown.
Ideas continue to flow and events continue to happen, but the groups are sending out a plea for something else: more volunteers.
“We’re growing, and we want to do more events downtown, but we want to get more help,” said Courtney Thompson, president of Market 35674. “When we do have events, to have a list of people who would be willing to help — that would be great.”
Thompson said there likely are many Tuscumbia residents who are interested in helping, but don’t know what to do.
“Some people don’t know how they’re needed or don’t even realize that they are needed,” she said.
The two groups work together and even have volunteers who are members of both organizations. Even then, there is a lot put on them.
“It’s way too much for a small amount of people,” Thompson said.
Audie Mescal owner Leslie Keys said both groups are planning spring functions, and now is an ideal time to get involved.
“We’ll start planning those soon,” Keys said. “This year is really going to be good for Tuscumbia, especially with the Tuscumbia Redevelopment Authority forming. We’re trying to seek grant money for projects for all the groups.”
The redevelopment authority is a newly regenerated city committee chaired by Bubba Underwood and co-chaired by Keys.
May Woodie Christopher, president of Tuscumbia Retail Development, said development members want to have quarterly meetings at convenient sites in an effort to bring in anyone interested in what is happening.
“We’re always looking for help,” Christopher said. “Anytime we have anything, we need people to get involved. We’re talking about meeting at different venues like Cold Water Books to get people coming.
“I really feel good about Tuscumbia. We are on the right track and everybody is working closely together. All three of these groups are working closely together and we’re always working on things to enhance the town, so it would be good for anybody who has any ideas to come to us and help. We are always open for suggestions and ideas.”
Anyone interested in volunteering can contact a downtown shop or call Thompson at her store, Nellie Mae, at 256-320-5438.
Bernie Delinski can be reached at 256-740-5739 or bernie.delinski@TimesDaily.com.