From The Editor

John Guthrie

When we look back on our childhood, most of us can probably tie some memories to a downtown. My downtown had two  hardware stores, Sheeters Five & Dime, The Hobby Shop, Wilmington Savings and Loan and the list goes on and on. Downtowns were, and in some places still are, the lifeblood of a community. This issue of EVOLVE takes an up-close look at what makes our downtowns special. 

When I first came to the area, I met the pied piper of downtowns, Jack White. He’s committed to creating a walkable community and has been working tirelessly to restore downtown Daytona Beach to its former glory. Likewise, Hyatt and Cici Brown have invested heavily in downtown Daytona Beach, expanding the Brown & Brown headquarters along Beach Street and creating a world class park for all to enjoy.

Ormond, DeLand and New Smyrna Beach all bring interesting things to the table–both literally and figuratively. From small shops and galleries to interesting architecture and great restaurants–each of these downtowns offers something unique. And DeBary too, has great plans to leverage its natural beauty while growing its commerce area. We talk to area business owners and leaders about their communities and what makes these special places ones they are proud to call home. One thing is for sure, the vibrancy of our downtown areas will continue to make Volusia County a great place to live, work and play. 

The final thing I will leave you with is an ask: next time you have a chance to grab lunch or dinner or even a special gift, take time to visit and support a local downtown establishment and engage the owner in his or her story. It’s our responsibility to support those who give it their all every day.

See you downtown,