Main Street Laurens is a public/private partnership formed in 1996 to ensure the continual growth and prosperity of downtown Laurens. It is funded primarily by a local tax district (Business Improvement District). MSL operates under the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Main Street South Carolina. The preservation work is accomplished using the National Trust’s Main Street Four Point Approach which is a comprehensive revitalization strategy that pairs thoughtful historic preservation with sensible business assets. We blend common sense with (1) sound planning/membership, (2) economic enhancement, (3) promotion, and (4) design to rebuild the life of downtown Laurens.
Our mission is to work to strengthen the economic base of the downtown business district through projects and events, which promote the products and services available in the downtown area through its member businesses.
Some of our goals and objectives include:
- Market downtown as the community’s first shopping choice
- Recruit new businesses to enhance shopping and service opportunities
- Instill pride in the beauty of downtown Laurens
- Help members upgrade their buildings and facilities
- Offer professional assistance to members in various areas: marketing, resources and public relations
- Encourage total use of downtown space-Upper story development
Historic Laurens has long been known for the people who live here – for its historic courthouse – and for its eclectic architecture.
Historic downtown Laurens dates to the mid-1700’s. Five roads converged where the Public Square exists today. The Square served as the commercial, social, and religious center of the city. In 1980 the Square was included in the National Register of Historic Places for its unusually intact collection of architecture from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Today, the Public Square offers tremendous opportunities for small businesses. Comprised of over 140,000 square feet of retail space, the Square stands as a significant shopping center for the community. The most intimate courthouse square in the state, downtown Laurens offers a unique sense of place. It remains the recognized heart of Laurens and Laurens County.
It’s an exciting time to be in small town South Carolina. Laurens is no exception. Laurens has experienced a renewed sense of self with beautification grants from the South Carolina Department of Transportation. As a result of funding for downtown streetscape projects, Laurens has made tremendous progress and has gained exposure on a national level.
Excitement has also staretd to buzz around the revival of the historic Capitol Theatre. Originally built in 1926, the Capitol was one of two theaters located in the downtown. Unfortunately, in 1964 the theater clsoed it’s doors. Then in the late 1990’s, Ronnie and Debbie Campbell purchased the building to open a ladies clothing store. After discovering the historic stage and theater in workable condition, Ronnie was bitten by the renovation bug. He began the arduous task of renovating the Capitol Theater and bringing new life to a grand old building. In 2004, Ronnie and Debbie opened the Capitol Cafe in the front of the building. With a fifty’s theme, the cafe quickly became THE place to get great burgers and ice cream. Then in October 2006, Ronnie installed a new marquee reminiscent of the original sign for the theater. Finally, in May 2007, Ronnie and Debbie opened the thetaer to first run movies now showing them seven days a week. The Capitol Theater and Cafe will once again have an important impact on historic downtown Laurens.