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Spotlight on downtown in open house

Brookhavenites will have a chance to take a new look at the oldbuildings comprising the city’s historic downtown business districtThursday night during the Business After Hours open house.

A slew of new businesses who, within the last year or less, haveopened shop in renovated portions of downtown’s wise old structureswill have their doors open to the public for inspection of thespace and wares, and many will go the extra mile to make guestsfeel welcome. The open house begins at 5 p.m. and ends after 6:30p.m.

“A large amount of time, effort and money has been invested indowntown Brookhaven. This is something everyone should be proud of,and we hope to see a large turnout,” said Brookhaven-Lincoln CountyChamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Cliff Brumfield.

Businesses participating in the open house event include ServiceMaster on South Jackson Street; The Inez and Patrick E. Lowery andAssociates on South Railroad Avenue; and John Lynch’s Raymond JamesFinancial Services and Southern Ag Credit on Whitworth Avenue.

The majority of the participants are located in the heart ofdowntown on Cherokee Street. Businesses planning to swing opentheir doors on that path include Engravables, It’s Serendipity,Michael Logan, Melinda’s, Mr. and Mrs. Dave Pace’s Apartment,Shared Moments, Snazzies, Sweet Ivy and The Locker Room.

The downtown business district looks sharp as ever, and thatsharpness is an indicator of the community’s retail economicstrength, Brumfield said.

“The viability of the community can easily be measured by thestate of its downtown,” he said. “Downtown Brookhaven is mostdefinitely a positive sign of a health community, one that isholding on to the best of its past while moving on to a brighterfuture. We’re equally proud of all the areas of our community, butin this day and age it’s quite an accomplishment when privatebusinesses continue to reinvest in a central businessdistrict.”

Regardless of the unique items offered in downtown stores anddespite indicators of economic strength, there are two more aspectsof Business After Hours that make it a worthwhile event.

One aspect is the renovations in those old buildings are prettynifty.

“It will give people an opportunity to see something they mightnot have known existed in their own backyard,” Brumfield said.

Another reason the event will be neat is guests will get a sneakpeak at one of the songs that will be performed in “Joseph and theAmazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” one Brookhaven Little Theatre’sbiggest products that begins Friday night at the Haven.

“It’s an open house to call attention to downtown, and weconsider ourselves a vital part of downtown,” said BLT PresidentGreg Russell. “We were fortunate the open house was the weekend wehad something going on. We like to participate in downtownevents.”