For the fifth year in a row, the Downtown Hattiesburg Association
will feature another nationally-recognized Main Street expert at its annual meeting set
for Thursday, February 9, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Historic Train Depot.
Storyville’s Phil Eich will headline the event with “Your Story is Written in Dust.” Tickets
are available to purchase, and the public is invited to attend.
Eich is the founder of Storyville, an organization dedicated to telling the stories of cities
to cultivate community pride, support small businesses, attract and retain talent, and
spur private-sector investment. Storyville’s human-centered approach to civic
marketing shines a light on the greatest strength of American cities, which is its
“Storytelling creates pride, ownership, trust, empathy, understanding, and deep
relationships: all prerequisites to igniting and accelerating the growth, development,
and vibrancy we want to see happen in the places we live,” said Eich.
Downtown Hattiesburg Association Executive Director Andrea Saffle believes sharing
national perspectives and success models is critical to the continued advancement of
Hattiesburg’s downtown. This includes a multi-year commitment to securing highly
reputable Main Street speakers known for their expertise to share their insights with
members and the community at the association’s annual meeting.
“We’ve been on a strategic mission for the last four years, and we are reaping the
rewards of those collective efforts. Through our community’s engaged leaders, DHA
members, and downtown merchants, we have achieved significant success in both
expanding our business core and enhancing our overall attractiveness in the heart of
our city,” said Saffle. “Phil’s storytelling platform comes at the perfect time for us in
Hattiesburg. Learning how to effectively record and share our story with others will be a
big part of keeping our momentum going.”
Michael Marks, a principal of Stage, Style, and Study, LLC, is serving as the 2022
President of the Downtown Hattiesburg Association. With numerous new projects and
several quarters of economic growth downtown, Marks believes the strategic focus on
revitalization and recovery has paid off in a significant way.
“Looking back at 2022, we are immensely grateful to enjoy such a prosperous year of
economic growth and new milestones,” said Marks. “Together, we have witnessed the
establishment of many new businesses, record private sector investment, and tourism
growth. Hattiesburg has a tremendous story, and we welcome the public to join us for
this event to become a part of how we share it with others.”
During the 2023 annual meeting, Downtown Hattiesburg will also share the 2022
economic impact of the downtown area and present its local Main Street awards.
Tickets are $30 for association members and $35 for non-members. Lunch is included
in the ticket price.
Tickets are available for purchase on Downtown Hattiesburg’s Facebook page and
Eventbrite. Advance ticket purchases are encouraged. For organizations wishing to
purchase full tables or to request an invoice, please email Andrea Saffle at
Downtown Hattiesburg Association focuses on a mission of revitalization and historic
preservation of the Downtown district, making it the vibrant and creative center of Hattiesburg.
Since its founding in 1985, DHA, a Mississippi Main Street program, has spearheaded the
revitalization of Hattiesburg’s historic core through partnerships to focus its growth and
development on the Main Street Four Point Approach of the National Main Street Center:
Organization, Design, Promotion, and Economic Vitality. The association promotes, markets,
and educates investors, developers, entrepreneurs, businesses, shoppers, visitors, and
residents that Downtown Hattiesburg is a destination – a place to live, work, and play.