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'It's really uplifting': Milledgeville shop owners look to future as businesses get national accreditation, funding

In return, you benefit from projects like Heagy's and get a better customer experience.

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — For years, visitors have recognized Milledgeville's vibrant historic downtown, but now it's getting national recognition.

What does this mean for your next visit, and for small businesses owners there?

Adam Heagy is the co-owner of Oconee Outfitters in downtown Milledgeville.

Heagy said, "We just like being a part of a vibrant, active, local business community."

Part of his small business specifically works on bikes.

With the pandemic, more people are riding and buying bikes, so he wants to take his shop mobile.

"We would literally come to you, to your driveway, or to the parking lot that you work. That way, we are totally eliminating the need for the customer to go out of their way to get their bicycle serviced," said Heagy.

He hopes, with the recent National Main Street accreditation, he'll have some additional funding.

According to Carlee Schulte with Milledgeville Main Street, this accreditation means businesses now qualify for low interest loans.

In return, you benefit from projects like Heagy's and get a better customer experience.

Justin Jones with Milledgeville's Development Authority said awards like this are what bring economic developers from out of state.

"They say when they bring a prospect to Baldwin County is the first thing they want to do is get them to downtown Milledgeville," said Jones.

Milledgeville local Rebekah Snider is excited for the future.

"I'm just thrilled to really think about what could happen for those who already own businesses here, what opportunities may be, but also, what opportunities may exist for those who want to relocate to this community," said Snider.

Heagy also said, "As a small business owner in a tremulous economy, you look for every opportunity that you have, and fortunately, a part of that accreditation is that we have a very active Main Street organization. It's really uplifting to know their is an organization out there that is willing to help you as much as they can."

All of this is leading to a better shopping experience for you. 

The accreditation makes Milledgeville eligible for low interest loans, but it's random and not known when or if the state or national Main Street will open grants up.