AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - A new campaign started by businesses aims to bring attention to everything downtown Augusta has to offer.
Coco Rubio is the owner of Sky City and Soul Bar, and said the idea for the "We Are Downtown Augusta" campaign started after a family trip to Asheville, N.C.
"I noticed a billboard going to downtown Asheville that was promoting the arts district. And the billboard had a bunch of the businesses in downtown Asheville," Rubio said. "I thought that was a pretty cool way to promote your businesses downtown, and so I thought that would be something that we could do here in Augusta."
He got more than 56 businesses together, and in early September, a billboard saying "We Are Downtown Augusta" popped up on the Calhoun Expressway.
"I think downtown Augusta has always been the heart of the city, and the soul of the city in a way," Rubio said.
Brenda Durant, executive director for the Greater Augusta Arts Council, said this factor was what brought the businesses together.
"Really, all of Augusta is downtown. Anyone who works downtown, shops downtown and wants Augusta to succeed is a part of the campaign to bring downtown back,"Durant said. "It's just been exciting for me to know that we were part of a bigger plan."
The grassroots movement wasn't even on local politicians' radars, but they're glad the campaign has taken off.
"The government is here to help. The sheriff's department is here to help, but to see the business community and downtown businesses band together to do this - I think is a great thing for downtown," said Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver. "I think this is the shape of things to come for downtown and I'm excited."
"It just seems to me that it's important to have a thriving downtown in the city because then it has the ripple effect that it goes all the way throughout the community," Rubio said.
A website is in the works to show the entire vendor list, and there is a Facebook page up right now to support the "We Are Downtown Augusta" campaign.