The renaissance in downtown Princeton is alive and well, and we're happy to update you. Thanks for staying tuned!
Several new businesses are preparing to open doors this spring! Gary Bowling’s House of Art, a powerhouse of artistic energy, has acquired the old Virginia Bank and Commerce Building building at 900 Mercer, and they plan to open their doors in late May. Planting roots in the heart of the arts movement, GBHOA joins forces with The RiffRaff and a broad circle of creators to amplify the transformative arts presence in downtown Princeton. A couple of doors down at 860 Mercer, Ron Sokol and partners just broke ground for The Local Mo’Joe Organic Cafe. The folks that populate the downtown are rejoicing the arrival of the long-awaited haven for coffee, healthy food and socializing. Stages Music School, which used to inhabit this building, has made a move across the street to The Turnaround Concert & Gathering Hall, which signals a major upgrade for this school, a bright light in the renaissance. A new yoga studio called The Gaia Den, located at 501 Mercer Street, will open its doors this month. It will provide several forms of yoga, a sitting area for reading and meditation, a personal training studio and coffee and tea. The Golden Rule Montessori School will open its doors this summer at 104 Bee Street, right off of Mercer Street next to New River Community & Technical College. The school will be open to children ages 3-6 and follows the motto “inspiring a child’s natural curiosity.” Mercer Street is becoming a cultural hub!
Even as winter has gripped the region causing closures and mass hibernation, the downtown scene has still been buzzing. Members of the all girl band Distraction from Stages recorded and released a hip music video showcasing Mercer Street. Check it out HERE. The community garden group gathered, made plans for the upcoming season and started seeds, some of which just began sprouting. February’s Renaissance Rap Session was scheduled in the midst of the snowstorm, so we held the meeting virtually. A handful of people rapped Jetson’s style in cyber space, and it was quite productive! The next rap session will take place Thursday, March 19th.
The Newlywed Game Show on Valentine’s weekend was a smash hit; even on an icy night, a great crowd gathered and shared uproarious laughter and light-hearted fun. The couples were charming and witty, and the winning couple Sam & Oilivia Matherly walked away with a brand new blender and gift certificate from Allen’s Furniture; the others took home Renaissance Project umbrellas and candy jars. Sam Franz shined with his star quality radio announcer skills, and it was a sight to see Greg Puckett in a neon green leisure suit channeling his inner Bob Eubanks. Like he said, we may never “un-see that.” See for yourself in this photo album. The Newlywed Game near Valentine’s Day will certainly be an annual tradition. As we create and experiment with new ideas and events, some are so successful we know they will last for years to come. This was one of them. Ideas for other game shows are on the drawing board.
Several talented area artists got busy painting antique pressed tin ceiling tiles salvaged from the Old Royal/Lavon Theatre and speakers from Anita Drive In Theatre which are now up for auction to raise money for the restoration. They turned out beautifully and are now on our website for early bidding. A Business After Hours and Silent Auction, sponsored by City National Bank and Community Connections, is scheduled at Chuck Mathena Center April 16th. Expect mingling, delicious food and libations, and the auction will conclude that evening. The ever generous Mike and Anita Eades of 4 Seasons Antiques will facilitate the auction. Click Here for more information on that event.
The dedicated group of volunteers JumpStart continues to meet every Wednesday at 2pm at Nonna’s Italian Kitchen. Everyone is welcome to join in the conversation and find out ways to participate in the energizing of downtown.
Dayfly Books and Collectibles is hosting a steady stream of programming, from classes in Appalachian Culture and Folklore to book signings, book clubs and live music. Nonna’s Italian Kitchen continues to serve the downtown with a lovely meeting spot, great lunch, baked goods and weekend dinner nights complete with live music. Sly Fox Shoppe and Pixel Nation Retro Video Game Store have lively social scenes and a steady stream of foot traffic. Open Stage Night lights up The Room Upstairs every Monday, and weekend music programming is on tap.
Several hair salons are thriving and expanding. New businesses such as The Wearhouse are offering uniques services like monogramming and embroidery. Businesses that have been around for years like Music Exchange, Freddy Modad’s music school and Granny’s Sewing Room continue their great work. Princeton Public Library and the colleges anchor activity with their consistent programs. There are so many wonderful businesses downtown, and we have created a directory of those businesses here on our website. Please explore it here.
The City of Princeton named our town’s historian Pat Smith as the new director of our railroad museum. This is great news, and the museum will be seeing a major infusion of energy with longer hours, newsignage and an open door policy soon to be announced. A team of educators, community members and innovative thinkers is currently working together to create an interactive center for science and creativity. If anyone is interested in being involved or contributing, please reach out to us.
Community garden volunteer coordinator Norma Fernandez of Appalachian Plant Magic is set to give her first of a series of free workshops about medicinal plants at First United Methodist Church. The topic March 17th at 6pm will be natural cold & flu remedies. Anyone is welcome and it is free. The community of people surrounding the garden project is full of spirit, and this is sure to be a bountiful season. Automated hydro and aquaponics systems are in the works to allow for year round growing.
On April 18th, downtown will come alive with live music, special activities, open houses and more. Students from Concord University SGA will be conducting a scavenger hunt to demonstrate to the students what Princeton has to offer. Anyone is welcome to participate. Stay tuned to the events page of our website for more information on "A Night on the Town."
A community volunteer and marketing expert has volunteered her time to increase the reach of our messages through social media and other means of promotion. If you are interested in helping us spread the word about PRP, join "The PRP Buzz Squad!" Reply to this message with name and phone number if you would like more information.
So, as you can see, this town is abuzz! There are several events coming up this season, and a variety of ways to plug in and get involved. We hope to see you soon!
UPCOMING EVENTS- MARCH & APRIL
March 17- Medicinal Plants Workshop - 6pm at First United Methodist Church INFO
March 19- Renaissance Rap Session - 8pm at The Turnaround, 855 Mercer INFO
April 16- Business After Hours and Silent Auction- 5:30-7:30pm at Chuck Mathena Center INFO
April 18- A Night on the Town in downtown Princeton - 6-10pm
DOWNTOWN PRINCETON BUSINESS DIRECTORY
There is a plethora of independent business in our downtown, and we have created a directory here at princetonrenaissanceproject.org/businesses. Explore them, and if we have forgotten anyone, please let us know. We will be happy to make additions!
THANK YOU again for staying tuned to the revitalization of downtown Princeton, WV. We are
"Embracing the Past, Engaging the Future!"