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Becoming a Jonesboro Downtowner

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Special guest blog by Tori Bell, A-State Public Relations/Advertising Major

Have you ever heard that saying, “From the outside looking in, it’s hard to understand, from the inside looking out, it’s hard to explain.”? This could be applied to the experience of being a downtowner. Being a downtowner is truly a way of life here in Jonesboro. It’s hard to understand, yet even harder to explain. Coming from someone who was once on the outside, hear me when I say you don’t want to miss out on what Downtown Jonesboro and being a downtowner has to offer.

 

Living in a small town my entire life with a population of 1,500 and four restaurants, a dollar store, and a couple of gas stations hadsc_0068s been quite the experience. I graduated with 45 people and between our preschoolers and high school seniors, our school district has about 500 students. Everybody knows everybody, the town thrives on its small businesses, and we just can’t walk into the pizza place or dollar store without seeing someone we know. We can get to school in one minute, we have to drive 30 minutes to the nearest Walmart, and we can simply walk in the gas station and say “charge it” while filling our car up with gas. Within the overwhelming atmosphere of Jonesboro is the historic, small-town ambiance of downtown’s similarity to my hometown, which is one aspect that truly drew me into becoming a downtowner.

 

Since the sheltered, freshman, 18-year-old me moved to Jonesboro in 2014 I have been an avid downtowner – eating, shopping, entertainment – the best of it all is located in Downtown Jonesboro. Particularly, Godsey’s Grill holds a special place in my heart because it is the first restaurant I ate at in Jonesboro and it will forever be my go-to spot. The food is life changing, I tell ya! Honestly, downtown Jonesboro is where I learned to parallel park. It’s where I’ve spent countless hours at dinner and spent way too much money on clothes. Downtown is life changing – I just didn’t realize how much until now.

 

As a freshman I mdscn3183ade a list of goals I wanted to achieve during my time at Arkansas State University. Hold a leadership position in my sorority, find my bridesmaids, get involved on campus, get an internship with Downtown Jonesboro Association… Two years later and I am now a junior at A-State and Downtown Jonesboro Association’s newest Marketing/Public Relations intern. This is a milestone in my life that I will forever remember. Working around some of the most amazing people, seeing non-profit work first hand, and learning skills that can’t be taught in a classroom… Downtown offers so much more than restaurants and retail stores. Once you are able to understand and feel the downtown experience there is no turning back. It’s historic past, vibrant arts and entertainment, 14 restaurants, food truck court, and trendy retail shops will quickly become your go-to spots. The mission of DJA is passionate and growing, and I am thrilled to be a downtowner on a whole new level. Downtown’s main street community and overall atmosphere is the place to be in Northeast Arkansas.

 

Now, who wants to be downtowner?

Main Street: A Little Slice of Pie

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It’s no secret that Downtown Jonesboro is the best dining destination in Northeast Arkansas. Boasting over fourteen different dining establishments with food palettes consisting of New Orleans style cuisine to oriental delicacies to farm to table artisan meals, Main Street (and Church!) have a lot to offer. Coming this fall, we’ll also be able to add a pizza place to our Downtown menu!
And yes, the crust is homemade.
James Best, owner of the award winning restaurant Skinny J’s, announced earlier this summer that he had just started work on a building in the 200 block. Eleanor’s, named after his daughter, would be a classic pizzeria focusing on made from scratch pizzas, homemade sauce, and a heck of a good salad. We also hear there is going to be a fantastic beverage menu!
“I decided a long time ago to open a pizza place, but just recently put that plan into action when I took over the space at 211 Main Street. The space has been occupied by a few different vendors the past couple of years, but recently became available. I just thought it was perfect for what I want to do” stated James Best. “The hours of operation are still up in the air. I’ve tossed around the idea of just having a dinner spot, but I haven’t completely made my mind up yet”.
Eleanor’s Pizzeria will be located at 211 Main Street, which sits right next to Skinny J’s. When James took over in the summer, he immediately began work on the inside to create a signature feel for the pizzeria. The 3,000 square foot building had previously been home to two other food establishments after sitting empty for a couple of months. Now, when you walk by, you’ll catch a glimpse of the brand new storefront, a reflection of the modern but classic style James has envisioned for his new project.
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James enjoys working in downtowns so much, he’s opened two other locations located on bustling Main Streets; Argenta and Paragould. “Main Street is just a neat place to be. It brings interesting people in, you get to know them on a first name basis, and I really enjoy the ‘local’ feel only a downtown can provide”.
So, with Eleanor’s Pizzeria opening this fall, we hope you’ll come down to visit, shop, and eat at our newest downtown digs. And if you’re not already a Downtowner, here’s just one more reason why you should be.
See you Downtown!

A Howlin’ Downtown Tradition

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Guest blog by Robert Morris, A-State Homecoming Co-Director

One of the most unique aspects of Downtown Jonesboro is that it has always been supported by Arkansas State University faculty, staff, and students alike. That is why we are more than thrilled to be holding our award winning signature event, Pack Pride Weekends, for the third year in a row! Established in 2014, Pack Pride Weekends is a unique game weekend experience offered only in Downtown Jonesboro on the home football weekends of the season. Friday nights play host to special events and activities on Main Street, from the ever popular October monster run, ‘Stay Alive After Five’ to the signature Homecoming classic, ‘Downtown by the Decades’. On Saturdays, Downtowners can head down to East Street free parking and catch the Red Wolf Express for a minimal fee! Then on Sunday, rest easy and celebrate the scarlet and black by treating yourself to brunch and shopping in any of our participating retailers and restaurants.A-StateLogo1

 

The first Pack Pride Weekends event will kick off on Friday, September 2nd with the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce’ Big Great A-State leading the Friday night festivities. Ride the Red Wolf Express all the way from Downtown Jonesboro (official stop at the East Street parking lot) to Centennial Bank Stadium to watch your Arkansas State Red Wolves face off against the University of Toledo Rockets at 8pm. On Sunday, September 4th, Brunch and Browse will be hosted in Downtown Jonesboro from 11am-2pm after a home game (and Red Wolves win!) at participating merchants. Be sure and wear red!

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Before an in-state face-off with the University of Central Arkansas Bears on Saturday, September 24th, be sure to come make your way down Main Street for Pack Tracks on Friday, September 23rd! Be sure and wear your red game day attire for this game.

I hope you are just as excited for A-State Homecoming weekend as we are! We are so blessed to have been a part of the Jonesboro community for so long, so take a look back with Downtown by the Decades. By the way, did you know there are 14,000 Arkansas State University living in Craighead County alone? That’s a lot of Red Wolves fans! Be sure to watch the new king and queen be crowned before A-State battles the University of South Alabama Jaguars on Saturday, October 15th! Wear pink or your Red Wolf red for this game.

Things will be getting very spooky downtown, so come out to Downtown Jonesboro’s monster run, Stay Alive After Five, on Friday, October 28th! Be sure to continue your Halloween weekend with as we compete (wear your black!) against the University of Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks on Saturday, October 29th.

Finally, take some time to appreciate all that our community does for us with Downtown Gives Back on Friday, November 11th before going head-to-head with the New Mexico State University Aggies! For this game, Red Wolf fans can wear their red, white, or blue.

Come see why Pack Pride Weekends has been named “Best New Event” by Main Street Arkansas, and is one of the only downtowns in the state of Arkansas to offer this fantastic partnership with a local university. We cannot wait to “Eat. Shop. HOWL. Downtown!”

Pack Pride Weekends 2016 is brought to you by these presenting sponsors: KAIT8, Art Advertising, MOR Media. Our spirit sponsor for this year’s college game day tradition is Jimmy John’s.

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