Meet Farmville Downtown: Treasurer Jimmy Johnson


How did you find your way to Farmville?

Having opened the original Sleeping Bee in Blackstone, we felt Farmville would be a good 2nd  location. We originally opened the “Heart of Virginia” weekend in May, 2004 and were one of three businesses which were partners in a  new venture on South Street called “108 South”. In January, 2005 the  other partners left and the venture became solely “Sleeping Bee”.

Who asked you to become a part of Farmville Downtown Partnership (FDP)? Why did you say “yes”?

I am a founder of FDP and made the first proposal that an independent group of merchants and citizens be formed to support the town’s completion of the 1st phase of the streetscape on Main Street. The goal was to work to better enhance the look, feel and vibrancy of the downtown area. I served as the 1st president for over 3 years as well as the chief administrator from the beginning until we became part of Virginia Main Street and Helen Person was hired as our executive director and started work for us on October 2, 2012.

Why did I say “yes”? I did not say “yes”. I said, “Why not? if not us, then who?”

If you could be any object located in the Main Street District, what would you be and why?

I would be the downtown plaza at the crossing of High Bridge Trail and North Main Street. It is the ideal spot that symbolizes the coming together of the trail, our downtown and the county. It is a very historical area with the former train freight station and depot having been located there along with the former Randolph Hotel across the street in the same block. It is an area thus far underutilized by the community. It is an ideal spot for various gatherings throughout the year which would enhance and add a vibrancy to the downtown. A way to make the downtown a more inviting and “fun place to be” whether that by musical or other forms of entertainment, bake sales, brunswick stews, educational displays, downtown marketing events, etc. The space is not large but its intimacy lends an ease in creating a fun and interesting place to checkout, to see what is happening on the plaza today, this week or next week. Use of this space in this way would help bring people downtown and would offer opportunities to reconnect the local Farmville population with the downtown, another reason to visit and shop downtown Farmville and to support our merchants who are downtown Farmville.

What’s the best kept secret of Farmville Downtown?

The diversity and mix of merchants already in our downtown and knowledge of the events which occur throughout the year. There are business sponsored events, sales and promotions, some on a regular basis. Yet the majority of folks here are either unaware or uninterested. How do we get the word out about these events and happenings?  And how do we get the locals & visitors to support and participate in them?

Meet Farmville Downtown Partnership: a team of citizens dedicated to the growth of our Main Street District. Each month get to  know one of the people “behind the scenes” in this Q&A series. You’ll find unfiltered answers from local folks who are working hard to help Farmville Downtown flourish.