Hardy Main Street, known as the Antique Capital of Northeast Arkansas, was closing out its successful summer season this Labor Day weekend. Shoppers looking for deals and sellers looking to make those deals lined up the packed street.
"Because we are a tourist town," Marc Herring says, "summer is huge for us."
Herring is the owner of the Ozarks Classic Crafts Mall. He claims, historically, Hardy has been known as a seasonal shopping site. The stores want to change that.
"We have been working very hard the last year to redefine ourselves," Herring claims saying they are working towards a more resort-like atmosphere to keep people shopping all year round.
These next few weeks, foot traffic will begin to slow until their next busy season beginning in October.
Kim Wilson, Executive Director of Hardy Main Street, knows that not only the time of year, but also the economy factor into the decrease in activity.
"It may have slowed down a little bit," Wilson says, "We're just hoping that it keeps getting better."
Grants have been issued to downtown Hardy to help businesses improve their exteriors. Wilson says new activities and events are scheduled to lure shoppers. A monthly Third Friday keeps shops open later, providing those who wish to visit Hardy entertainment on a Friday night. According to Herring, the mayor is working on building an amphitheater. With so much to come, Wilson feels Hardy will shed its tourist stop and shop label.
"We're trying to keep people here all year round if we can."
Events coming up for Hardy Main Street include:
Passport Club Flea Market-Sept. 26
Annual Art Holm Pow Wow- Sept. 25-27
2009 Spring River Artists Guild Art Show-Oct. 10-20
Annual Hardy Fall Arts & Crafts Festival- Oct. 17-18
Halloween Trail of Terror-Oct. 31
Main Street Hardy Fall Gun & Knife Show-1st Sat. and Sun. in Nov.