Heart of Eureka: Flags alert tourists which downtown businesses are open

Thursday, May 16, 2019
The Palace Bathhouse features the Heart of Eureka flag, signaling it is open for business.
Submitted photo

When you're in downtown Eureka Springs wondering which shops are open, just look for a red flag.

Heart of Eureka, a group of merchants, has distributed the flags to all interested business owners downtown. Laci Moffitt, a member of the group, said the idea came about when merchants were talking about how to unite local businesses. One of the group's first projects, Moffitt said, was to create a logo.

"So we made a logo and we all voted on the flag," Moffitt said. "We were talking about doing that in the winter when certain people are open certain days and you never know when anybody's open. Then people ask us and we're like, 'I don't know.' You're looking up the street. They're like, 'I don't want to walk all the way up there if they're not open.' "

Merchants can place the flags outside their business when they are open, Moffitt said, to clear up that confusion. The flags are also aesthetically appealing, Moffitt said.

"When we're all open during the season, it's eye-catching for the tourists to look down the street and see the red flags," she said. "It spices up downtown. It colors up downtown. It shows unity downtown. "

Business owners who have not purchased a flag yet are welcome to do so, Moffitt said. She said the flags are being sold at cost.

"We're getting ready to order more, because more people are wanting them," she said. "It's so easy for tourists to identify what businesses are open, and it just looks cool during the season to have all these flags out."

It's important for business owners to work together on projects like this, Moffitt said.

"You're adding a sense of unity to the stores. We've all craved to be part of a group of store owners," she said.

When the group started in January, Moffitt said, it was a place where business owners could enjoy a meal and get to know each other better. She moved to Eureka Springs two years ago, Moffitt said, and didn't know some of the people in the group.

"We all needed to join together once a month to network," Moffitt said. "There's a lot of businesses that have been here over 30 years. They have a lot of wisdom about Eureka. Together, all of us can do a lot more."

She continued, "We can all learn from each other. It's just a great thing to not be in competition with each other. We're all in the same boat. We all want Eureka Springs to do well. We all want our businesses to do well. If we're helping each other and not in competition, then everyone succeeds."

There's no leader of the group, Moffitt said, and that's on purpose. She said the group votes on everything, saying no decision is made without taking a vote first.

"No one wants to be told what to do," she said. "No one wants to be told what to do with their own business particularly."

The group has created a public group on Facebook called Heart of Eureka-- Interact with Downtown Eureka Springs Businesses. That page is open for anyone to join, Moffitt said.

"It's a group tourists have been joining," she said. "We're promoting everybody's events. It's a great page for people to come and see what's going on and what individual stores are doing as well."

For more information, check out the page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/heartofeureka/.

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