Lula Mayor Jim Grier decided to ignite the beginning of the Lula Merchants Association.
He called local business owners to meet on Wednesday, June 12 to start the momentum of the organization.
The merchants association will remain a separate entity from the City of Lula.
However, Grier said the Lula City Council intends to work closely with the group and help them “get the ball rolling.”
“If 10 people are speaking, it’s a lot louder than one voice,” he said. “The bottom line is to create a positive identity for Lula and all of us.”
In holding the meeting, Grier said he hoped a natural leader would rise to the surface and take charge of the group.
Macy Boling, the 21-year-old owner of Suddenly Southern, stepped up to the plate.
She agreed to contact more small businesses and coordinate a second meeting date for the merchants association.
“I was surprised when I started my business and found out we didn't have one (merchants association),” Boling said. “I definitely think it’s a good idea, especially with holding events and promoting the town.”
Amanda Browning, owner of Amanda’s Farm to Fork, chimed in with approval.
“We’re such a small community,” Browning said. “If we don’t continue to support each other, we’re not going to survive.”
Karen Bowling, pharmacist at Lula Pharmacy & Foothills Gift Shop, said businesses working cohesively to bolster the town create a win-win scenario.
“Any kind of community involvement helps not just the businesses, but everybody,” she said.
During the meeting Grier introduced the business owners to free resources, including the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center and the Service Corps of Retired Engineers, commonly known as SCORE.
Both are funded by the Small Business Administration, a government agency that offers support entrepreneurs and small businesses owners.
The next steps for the merchants association entail discussing the purpose of the group, drafting a vision, forming a marketing plan and setting a meeting date.
Those who are interested in joining the Lula Merchants Association can contact Boling at 678-649-8145.