The Marion Business Association, Inc. was founded in 1984 to promote the needs and interests of businesses in the downtown community. With a mix of public and private concerns, the Marion Business Association (MBA) was created as a means for those various stakeholders to have a structure for planning and action. Expanded in 2006 to advocate for all businesses in the City of Marion, the MBA serves as the Economic Development Office for the City of Marion and continually works between business owners, potential new businesses, the general public and elected officials addressing all areas of concern.
A SENSE OF COMMUNITY: ACTIVITY IN THE DOWNTOWN
The MBA provides citizens with a sense of community by coordinating full calendar of events such as the Liver Mush Festival, Fourth of July Celebration, and Mountain Glory Festival. (See Calendar of Events) The popular Sidewalk Yard Sales are organized in May and August each year. The MBA provides technical assistance to a variety of organizations that now host Downtown Events, including the Carolina Donut Festival and Marion Cruise-Ins.
Since 2007, Marion Business Association has coordinated the Historic Marion Tailgate Market. In 2009, all with community contributions, the City of Marion built a 5,000 sf shade shelter to house the Market. The Marion Tailgate Market Shelter now host various community events such as Car Shows, Fall Festival and the Summer Concert Series.
A SENSE OF PLACE: HISTORIC DISTRICT
Downtown Marion listed on the National Register of Historic Places, along with the Depot District and nearby churches. Every effort is made by the City of Marion and Marion Business Association to protect and preserve the historic character of Marion.
A SENSE OF FUTURE
In the global economic changes, now more than ever before, a strong representation of for rural communities is essential. Downtowns remains the heartbeat of the community. The MBA is seeing a renewed interest in the downtown with a variety of new businesses, including a tap room, brewery, and an entertainment venue.
It is imperative that organized efforts continue to represent business recruitment, beautification, and preserving the sense of community that is unique to Marion, North Carolina.
To grow Marion’s entrepreneurs, the MBA provides an active entrepreneur training, Growing Entrepreneurs Marion (GEM) with classes in the fall and winter. GEM provides entrepreneurs with skills to be Marion’s future business owners and community leaders.
Located at 58 Depot Street, the MBA staff has 2 full-time and 1 part-time employees.
The Marion Business Association works in close association with the City of Marion, McDowell Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Center at McDowell Technical College and the McDowell Economic Development Association of McDowell County to promote the growth of new and established businesses.