Between the Lines



I don’t know if you all have noticed, but my little hometown’s downtown is bustling. I remember being 16… not that long ago, but kind of a long time ago… and driving through downtown Oneonta. Out of all the available locations for stores and businesses to operate, maybe five to six buildings were occupied. I didn’t think much of it back then. It was just the way it had always been.

Now as an adult and business owner myself, I tend to notice things like vacant storefronts and local foot traffic. To my delight, downtown Oneonta has steadily grown over the past five years from bleak to booming. Today, more than ever, there is a good reason to discover downtown. From food, to clothing, to home décor, to travel planning, to beauty, to cocktails, to music and art, to coffee, “Main Street” is really showing off.

With all that is here and coming, there is more and more need to keep the forward momentum and showcase exactly why downtown is making a comeback. A group of downtown business owners have formed the “Oneonta Downtown District” with the united goal of enhancing the vitality and unique character of the community through the beautification, promotion, and development of downtown Oneonta. I like the sound of that!

As we enter fall, we are gearing up for my favorite time of the year downtown: The Covered Bridge Festival. Tuesday, Oct. 22, is the “Dinner Downtown” so keep connected to Facebook for the Chamber to announce when tickets go on sale. Saturday, Oct. 26, is the Festival and vendor applications are available now.

If you are a local and want to learn more about the Oneonta Downtown District, visit them on Facebook or at If you are a downtown business owner and want to get involved, shoot them a message or email and see what it’s all about. And if you are like me and just love our downtown, take a stroll one evening and discover the district!

Until next time, I hope you find something new here in Blount County. It’s a good old place to call home.

-Richard Phillips