College proudly partners with Downtown Marietta for inaugural 'First Fridays'

In a couple of weeks, Downtown Marietta will learn if it is a finalist for the Small Business Revolution and earn a shot at a $500,000 grant for revitalization projects.

The downtown area put on an impressive showing over a two-day period (January 6-7) when representatives from Small Business Revolution were in the city to evaluate Marietta for a possible $500,000 makeover in downtown. The weekend also featured the inaugural First Fridays, which had a Fire & Ice theme.

Marietta College, a vital part of the downtown presence, wanted to make a bigger impact when SBR visited, which is why the College worked with the campus bookstore to sponsor a pop-up store at 212 Front St.

“We are a proud member and supporter of downtown, and when we first got word about the inaugural First Fridays and the SBR group coming to Marietta we wanted to help our community in any way we could,” said William N. Ruud, Marietta College’s President. “We brainstormed some ideas and we thought having a storefront during those two days earlier this month would help raise the College’s image, but also be a welcome presence. From what I saw and from what I have heard, the pop-up store was a huge success and we will look at other opportunities to be involved on Front Street.”

A number of departments across campus pitched in to help make the storefront a success, but bookstore manager Jessica French and her staff were key components. They sold College merchandise, while doing most of the heavy lifting in setting up the space.

“I was honored to collaborate with the College on setting up this unique pop-up location for Marietta Main Street's inaugural First Fridays event as well as participate in Small Business Saturday while Small Business Revolution was in town,” French said. “Working with the College community was a wonderful experience — and events like these are the reasons why I love Marietta. The entire bookstore staff had a lot of fun working with everyone to make this a successful event and the local community was very excited we were a part of the celebration of our historic downtown Marietta.”

Cristie Thomas, Executive Director of Marietta Main Street, believes the two-day event was a huge success and was grateful for the College’s involvement.

"Marietta College has always been and continues to be a tremendous asset to this community,” Thomas said. “Their commitment to downtown and building a strong, thriving relationship between our community members and their students is commendable, and I look forward to many years of partnership. I know our organization is stronger because of their involvement.”