Wells Events & Reception Center recently received a prestigious award at the North Carolina Main Street Awards Conference held in Morganton on Thursday, March 19, 2015. Wells Funeral Homes, Inc. and Downtown Waynesville Association received the Award of Merit in the category of Economic Restructuring as the Best Business Retention, Expansion or Recruitment Effort in the state of NC. This year's 23 award winners were chosen by a panel of independent judges from dozens of applications submitted by Main Street participants throughout the state.
Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla, III and Assistant Secretary Dr. Patricia Mitchell, presented awards to participants in the N.C. Main Street and Small Town Main Street programs. Award winners are recognized for excellence in downtown revitalization efforts in categories that include promotion, organization, design and economic restructuring.
The award acknowledged the recent renovation by Wells Funeral Homes of the 12,000 sq. ft. building that formerly housed The Mountaineer newspaper printing press. The building was rapidly deteriorating and quickly becoming an eyesore in the town. The renovation and expansion achieved the vision of Wells & Kathy Greeley to create a facility that would better serve the changing needs of the way people are honoring and celebrating the life of loved ones. The building also provides space that has accommodated numerous events such as wedding receptions, birthday and anniversary celebrations, class reunions and business meetings. The facility has a complete catering kitchen with food service available from local caterers and also has state-of-the-art audio visual capabilities.
"We are honored to receive this award and proud of our efforts to rehabilitate and repurpose this building", stated J. Wells Greeley, president of Wells Funeral Homes, Inc. "Since our opening in mid-August, we have hosted 72 events and are very encouraged this multi-purpose facility will benefit Haywood County and our region for many years to come."
Participation at this year's conference exceeded 530 people, making it the most attended in the conference's 14-year history. The theme – Main Street HAS What It Takes – references both the increased diversity in North Carolina's downtown districts today and the Main Street program tools that help communities achieve diversified success. Downtown Waynesville was accepted into the program in 1986 adding them to the list of the first 15 Main Street communities in the state. Today, Downtown Waynesville continues to be one of the most successful Main Street programs in the state. There are two full time employees, Executive Director, Buffy Phillips, who celebrates 25 years with the Waynesville program and Administrative Assistant, Jamie Cogdill.
Main Street is a downtown revitalization program for smaller towns based on economic development within the context of historic preservation. The NC Main Street program which provides technical assistance to its communities, is part of the Office of Urban Development in the Department of Commerce's Division of Community Assistance.