We would like to introduce you to a small, but important, group of downtown business owners, employees and stakeholders that have a common interest – preserving the integrity of our historic downtown.
The Downtown Clarksville Association, known as DCA, is a dedicated gathering of volunteers who meet monthly at Edward’s Steakhouse on Franklin Street to discuss attracting more business, activity and attention to shopping, eating and visiting downtown.
The DCA started in 2005 when local property owners Billy Hadley and Paige King, then owner of Hodgepodge, were looking to be able to communicate with other business owners more effectively about street closures and other issues affecting the downtown area. More property and business owners got excited about the possibility of uniting to capitalize on a common goal of a revitalized and vibrant downtown.
The First Thursday ArtWalk came out of the DCA to serve as a monthly event to showcase the talent of our local artists. Also initiated by DCA, Frolic on Franklin: Celebration of the Arts, an annual arts festival held on Franklin Street, is held in conjunction with the annual Roxy Regional Theatre Gala. The 11th annual Frolic on Franklin takes place this year on Saturday, September 24th.
City events like the Downtown Market and Fright on Franklin Festival all came out of the DCA. As these events grew and the benefit to the entire community was realized, the city took over administration.
Ryan Bowie joined the organization upon his arrival in Clarksville in 2010, representing the Roxy Regional Theatre. He actively involved himself as a member on both a business level and as a downtown resident. Currently serving as chair of the DCA, he leads discussions on topics such as:
- Advertising, Marketing and Business Promotion – Utilizing resources to collectively market the downtown brings bigger and better messages of shopping and dining opportunities available. There are many residents who claim they have no reason to “go” downtown; we need to give these people a reason!
- Events – Things that bring people downtown! The Customs House Museum and Cultural Center, Downtown Artist’s Co-op (DAC), Roxy Regional Theatre, Trahern Theater at APSU are just a few downtown venues to name! People also like to shop and eat when they come downtown. The more people, the more business, the more excitement…
The DCA has hosted Jammin’ in the Alley for many years. These free summer live-music monthly events bring 500 people downtown on a Friday evening. Event-goers eat before, during or after the music. More events bring more people downtown.
- Beautification – With assistance from the City, the DCA fills planters with flowers on Franklin Street and Strawberry Alley to add color and cheer. New banners were installed over the holidays. Also check out the banners now displayed downtown, custom designed by Billy Renkl, teacher of illustration and drawing at APSU. These little touches make downtown more inviting for us all – and sets us apart from the mall or other shopping centers. Statistics show people are more willing to spend time and money in attractive downtowns!
So – next time you see a local billboard urging you to “Shop Downtown” – please do just that! Think of all the hard-working business owners, employees and lovers of downtown whose collective energy and passion continues to help our city center to thrive and grow and be successful!
These unique, one-of-a-kind businesses are run by passionate people who are not just owners but our neighbors investing in Clarksville’s downtown.
Come see everything we have to offer and join us at historicdowntownclarksville.org.
Ryan Bowie, Chair
Downtown Clarksville Association