3-14-2022 – Local couple tapped N.C. Main Street Champions

Posted on: March 14th, 2022 by admin No Comments

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March 14, 2022

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By CADY DAVIS CDAVIS@NEWSTOPICNEWS.COM

Mar 11, 2022

 

LENOIR — A local husband and wife duo were recently honored for their contributions to the revitalization of the downtown area.

 

Steven and Jamie Stewart, owners of Stewart & Associates Insurance, were recognized as the 2021 North Carolina Main Street Champions for the city of Lenoir during a virtual Recognition Ceremony on Thursday, March 10th.

 

Steven said the city nominated him and his wife for this award after they performed extensive renovations on the old building located at 819 Harper Ave.

 

“Me and my wife purchased this building in September of 2020,” he said. “The building had been empty eight or nine years, and it showed; it was in terrible shape. Basically, we redid the building inside and out. There’s a high-end residential rental up-top that we rent out to a local pharmacy company, and the main floor on the bottom is our insurance business.”

 

Steven said he has been in the insurance business for nine years. He left a different company to go out on his own in 2018. He and his wife moved their business to downtown Lenoir last June.

 

Steven is originally from Valdese, but his wife and business partner, Jamie, is originally from Lenoir; her parents used to own the American Trade and Loan before they retired about five years ago. The Stewarts and their children have lived in Lenoir for four years.

 

“I think that Lenoir is growing,” said Steven. “There are projects going on downtown, it’s a great time to be an investor in the community … there are opportunities everywhere for everybody if they want to take that leap of faith and invest in their community.”

 

Thirty-three North Carolina Main Street Champions were recognized for their commitment to downtown revitalization and strong communities in 2021 during the virtual ceremony on Thursday, March 10th. Including this year’s group of honorees, 837 Main Street Champions have been recognized by the N.C. Department of Commerce since 2000.

 

Each N.C. Main Street program may designate one individual, couple, organization, business partnership, or civic entity as their community’s N.C. Main Street Champion, according to the N.C. Department of Commerce.

 

“We are very excited and so proud of Steven and Jamie,” said Mayor Joe Gibbons. “Great young couple who invested in our downtown, and we’re so proud of that. They bought a building that was struggling, turned it into a beautiful place, with office [downstairs] and apartment upstairs. We appreciate that they love Lenoir.”

 

Winners of the award share a common objective — improving the downtown district.

 

“Main Street Champions are the key to success in downtown revitalization. They possess courage to move downtown forward; they fight for positive change and do that with creativity and innovation; and they actively get things done, while staying focused on the downtown’s economic development strategies,” said Liz Parham, director of the N.C. Main Street and Rural Planning Center at the N.C. Department of Commerce.

 

“The N.C. Main Street Champions Program is an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the individuals who make a positive change in downtown,” said Kaylynn Horn, Economic Development Main Street director for Lenoir.

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