Carla Cloud is the executive director of the Aiken Downtown Development Association.
1. What is the Aiken Downtown Development Association?
"It is a nonprofit organization whose mission statement is to improve the economic vitality, enhance the beauty and preserve the historical inheritance of downtown Aiken."
2. How many members do you have?
3. What are the advantages of membership?
"One, of course, is the networking and being able to have a voice in what goes on downtown. But also we try to bring events that will enhance downtown. Everybody, whether they're a member or not, does benefit from that. The ADDA has a Web site and all businesses are put on the Web site. For our members, we actually put a link to their Web site. These businesses are small businesses, and with a small business, they have to devote time to their business. We're a liaison for them between the city and the consumer."
4. What are your goals for the organization?
"Right now I would like to increase the membership. I would like for people to realize that we are working hard to be a voice for them and to listen to their concerns. I want to get some more benefits for membership - really make sure we have some real concrete value to the members. We want all of downtown to thrive. I would love to see just more volunteerism from the community. Even if you don't have a have a business or a property (downtown), you have a vested interest. One goal is to work with the schools - the high schools, the college and Aiken Tech - to perhaps form a service corps."
5. What is the best thing about shopping in downtown Aiken?
"There's such a variety. There's gifts. There's clothing, kitchenware, stuff for your dog. You can just stroll around and relax. It's safe. It's not stressful. It's friendly. Why would you want to go anywhere else?"