Fall Kickoff event in downtown Joplin helps small businesses stay visible in community

Downtown Joplin's Third Thursday's have been cancelled since March, but small events help local businesses
Downtown Joplin's Third Thursday's have been cancelled since March, but small events help local businesses like Churros Colima.

JOPLIN, Mo. – Normally, Third Thursday’s are packed with thousands of people on main street in downtown Joplin.

“And while it’s still Third Thursday, we’re not doing the Third Thursday festivities, but we thought it was a really good time to remind people that there’s still lots to do downtown,” says Downtown Joplin Alliance Executive Director, Lori Haun. “You can shop. You can play. You can eat.”

Lizette Garcia and her family opened Churros Colima about five months ago, and says it’s been a struggle because of the pandemic.

“The events being closed, especially here in Joplin, like Third Thursday. That was our main thing that we were looking forward to to getting our name out there,” says Garcia.

Small events like the Fall Kickoff, put on by the Downtown Joplin Alliance, are still allowing local businesses to be visible in the community during this time and bring in customers.

“We agreed to it because we have been waiting for a couple months to be in Third Thursday, so we figured we’d give it a shot,” says Garcia.

This was also a chance to remind everyone that downtown Joplin has a lot to offer.

“It’s kind of convenience. You don’t have to mess with anything online. You can just pop in, grab what you want and leave with it and take it right home,” say Sophie owner Ashley Wakefield.

“They are what’s different about Joplin. They’re the life blood of Joplin. They are, you know, the money that we spend a local story stays in Joplin,” Haun adds.

Whether supporting a boutique or a food truck, keeping it local is not about the competition.

“That’s the main part that we like — is getting to know all the food trucks out there. Helping each other, promote each other. And do events with each other,” says Garcia.

The Downtown Joplin Alliance says it hopes to do another pop-up event like the Fall Kickoff in October and November.