Sponsored - In recent years, non-profit agencies, local governments, and business leaders have been working together to breathe new life into the six cities of Harlan County. Their efforts were beginning to pay off with upgrades to downtown infrastructure, a renewed interest in downtown events, and new businesses opening. This momentum was stifled by the sudden and thorough lockdowns that accompanied the spread of COVID-19 in the spring of 2020.
COVID-19, and its associated shutdowns, have presented challenges to the downtown business communities of Harlan County. Harlan Countians are known for their resourcefulness and should be extremely proud of the ways in which local businesses responded to this crisis. Retail stores added curbside service. Restaurants reassigned their waiters to make deliveries. Fitness instructors and Pastors alike became experts on the use of Zoom and Facebook Live. While many businesses developed practices that they intend to continue after COVID-19, they are eager to return to some semblance of normalcy.
A coalition has formed that is focused on both facilitating a return to the (new) normal and also recognizing and rewarding the effort it has taken to adapt. One Harlan County, the Tri-Cities Heritage Development Corporation, Harlan Tourism, Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College’s Mountain Training Network, the Harlan County Fiscal Court, and Cumberland Tourism are joining together to help businesses safely serve their customers face to face and to drive local and regional visitors through their doors.
Locally owned businesses throughout Harlan County had the opportunity to apply to One Harlan County for grant funding for projects ranging from $500 to $2,500 in size. More than $24,000 was awarded for projects ranging from the implementation of new technologies to help businesses better serve their customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, to purchasing additional PPE and sanitizing stations to keep customers and employees safe.
While these measures increase the safety of local business owners and their customers, those efforts are in vain if potential customers do not know they can safely shop locally. Therefore this project culminates in Harlan County’s Safe Shop Hop in downtown Harlan and Cumberland.
Harlan County’s Safe Shop Hop is an opportunity for visitors and locals alike to have socially distant fun and spend money locally. The weekend kicks off in downtown Harlan on Friday, October 2nd from 5 pm-9pm with food trucks, live music, and extended shopping hours in some of your favorite stores! Continue the festivities by visiting Square Saturdays in downtown Cumberland on Saturday, October 3rd from 9 am-2 p.m. You’ll find food trucks, yard sale vendors, and downtown shops ready to welcome you. Participants and visitors will wear masks, use sanitizer, observe social distancing, and adhere to capacity guidelines in each store.
For more information and details about the event, visit:
Or call Harlan Tourism at (606) 573-4156