Florence Main Street Announces Nominated Charities for Florence Restaurant Week 2016

image-7For the last four weeks Florence Main Street has been collecting on-line and mail-in nominations from the community for their favorite charity to be on the Restaurant Week ballot.  After sorting over 750 nominations submitted between September 15-October 13, Florence Main Street finally has the top three most nominated charities and the two wild-card picks who will compete for the coveted $5,000 from our Presenting Sponsor, McDaniel Window & Door.

Last year, Presenting Sponsor Mike McDaniel awarded the $5,000 check to winning charity Shoals Sav-A-Life, and this year he is looking forward to making another charity very happy.

This year, we are thrilled to announce a second sponsor – Alabama Outdoors! During restaurant week be sure to go and visit Alabama Outdoors to see their fall inventory and cool specials. When you make a purchase show them your receipt from a participating downtown restaurant and they will donate 10 percent of your Alabama Outdoors purchase toward a check for the second place charity!  

In no particular order, the five charity finalists are: Room In The Inn, Salvation Army, Heart of Alabama Save Rescue Adopt, Meals on Wheels and Sidney’s Safe Foundation.  All five charities will be competing for the communities’ vote during Florence Restaurant Week, October 21st – October 30th. Whether you buy a cup of coffee from Rivertown or have dinner at Odette, every purchase will come with a ballot for the opportunity to vote for the charity of your choice.

Join Florence Main Street for our preview of Florence Restaurant Week during the Taste of Downtown event on Tuesday, Oct. 18th at Singin’ River Brewing Company! Get to know the nominated charities you will be voting for from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, while tasting samples of dishes prepared by all participating restaurants. Admission: $10 in advance and $15 at the door (while supplies last). Tickets can be purchased online at and or at the Florence Main Street Office ~ 301 N Pine Street.

FLORENCE RESTAURANT WEEK IS OCTOBER 21st-30th. Please help us do good where it counts by voting for one of the five charities by dining at any of the participating downtown restaurants and shopping at Alabama Outdoors!

Participating Restaurants: On the Rocks, Pie Factory, Woodpecker Café, Wildwood Tavern, Rivertown Coffee, FloBama, 306 BBQ, Odette, Legends, Ricatoni’s Italian Grill, City Hardware, Singin River Brewing Co., and Rosie’s Mexican Cantina.
Florence Main Street is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to working with business owners, community leaders, and residents toward the common goal of revitalizing Downtown Florence, culturally and economically. For more information about us or any of these efforts, please contact Florence Main Street at 256-760-9648 or

Taste of Downtown


Florence Main Street is kicking off Florence Restaurant Week with the Taste of Downtown on Tuesday, October 18th from 6:00pm until 8:00pm at Singin’ River Brewery, 526 E College Street, Florence AL.

The Taste of Downtown is a fun event showcasing participating downtown restaurants, sponsors of Restaurant Week, our judges, and volunteers. In addition, we will unveil the five local charities that make it to the coveted charity ballot. This is the community’s opportunity to sample fabulous food from our downtown restaurants while meeting some of our local charities in person to ask questions and understand how they impact the Shoals.

Participating restaurants include: Odette, Rivertown Coffee Company, The Pie Factory, 306 BBQ, City Hardware, Woodpecker Cafe, Rosie’s Mexican Cantina, FloBama Music Hall, Wildwood Tavern, On the Rocks, Legends Steakhouse, Ricatoni’s Italian Grill, Renaissance Olive Oil Company and Singin’ River Brewing Company.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the Florence Main Street Office located at 301 N. Pine Street.

For additional information about Florence Restaurant Week please visit

2016 Florence Restaurant Week Charity Nomination


Florence Main Street is asking you to nominate your favorite local charity to have a chance to win $5,000 from our Presenting Sponsor ~ McDaniel Window & Door. The charity nominated must be a  registered 501(c)3 organization and must have a Shoals Area office. The top three most nominated charities and two wild-card charities (to be selected by the FRW committe and sponsors) will be placed on the Florence Restaurant Week Charity Ballot. The five charities will compete against each other for the most votes throughout a week of dining in downtown Florence for the $5,000 Grand Prize.

*Shoals Sav-A-Life is excluded from the nomination phase as they were the 2015 Florence Restaurant Week winning charity.

For more information about Florence Restaurant Week visit

Nominate through the link below:

2016 Florence Restaurant Week Charity Nomination


Florence Restaurant Week 2016 Charity Nomination Phase


Contact: Molly Austin or Teryl Shields FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tel. 256-760-9648


Florence Main Street

Florence, AL – September 14th – Between Sept 15th and October 13th, Florence Main Street wants you to nominate your favorite charity for the opportunity to win a $5,000 check. Last year during Florence Restaurant Week, Presenting Sponsor McDaniel Window & Door owner Mike McDaniel presented the $5000 winning charity check to Shoals Sav-A-Life and he’s looking forward to making another charity very happy this year.  

“Presenting the $5000 check to Shoals Sav-A-Life was not only an honor, but a privilege for myself and staff. It was exciting to see our local businesses thriving, while our community came together to raise awareness for so many wonderful charities. McDaniel Window & Door is excited to be the Presenting Sponsor again for 2016 Florence Restaurant Week, and I personally challenge all our local businesses to get involved and support this great event,” said owner, Mike McDaniel.  

Selected from the community’s nominations, five charities will be placed on a ballot for guests dining at participating restaurants to vote on during Florence Restaurant Week in October. Thursday, Sept 15th through Thursday, October 13th, nominate your favorite charity and tell us why they deserve this prize.  (To be considered, a charity must be a designated 501c(3) organization and have an office in the Shoals.) The three most nominated charities will automatically be included on the ballot, and Florence Main Street will choose two wild-card charities based on input from our Presenting Sponsor, number of nominations, impact on our community, and other factors. Shoals Sav-A-Life will be excluded from this years’ nomination phase because they were the winners of Florence Restaurant Week 2015.

You can nominate your favorite charity four ways. Florence Main Street will have a poll on our Facebook page, on McDaniel Window & Door’s Facebook page, and on our website ( or you can mail in your nomination. If you choose to mail in a nomination please include these items:

Your First and Last Name

Your Email address

Name of Charity
Why you are nominating the charity?

Name of Executive Director at the charity.

Contact info for the charity. (Address & Phone Number)

Then, from October 21st – 30th, Florence Main Street will host Florence Restaurant Week 2016. Ballots will be available at participating restaurants.  Every time you eat at a participating restaurant during Florence Restaurant Week, you will have the opportunity to vote for one of our five local charities. Every time you eat, you get to vote! Florence Restaurant Week is not only a showcase of our best local eateries, but it will also help to shine the light on some of our best local charities. The charity with the most votes at the end of the week will walk away with a check for $5,000 that will be used to do good work right here in the Shoals.  

Mark your calendars now for FLORENCE RESTAURANT WEEKOctober 21st – 30th, 2016! And please, help us do good where it counts by nominating YOUR favorite charity today!

Florence Main Street is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization dedicated to working with business owners, community leaders, and residents toward the common goal of revitalizing Downtown Florence, culturally and economically. For more information about us or any of these efforts, please contact Florence Main Street at 256-760-9648 or


2016 Bacon Crawl Tickets and T-Shirts Now On Sale!

Bacon and Logo
Calling All Bacon Lovers!

Florence Main Street invites you to the 2nd Annual Downtown Bacon Crawl, Saturday, September 10th from 10am until 3pm.  Everyone is invited to purchase a ticket (or two or more)! Since tickets are limited, this event will sell out quickly, so you’ll want to get your tickets as soon as possible, online (click the 2016 Bacon Crawl button on side of page) or purchase at the Main Street office, 301 North Pine Street, Monday – Friday, 8am until 5pm.   Tickets are $16 online and $15 at the office.

Maple Candied Bacon 800 0276How does the Downtown Bacon Crawl work? Participating businesses will be marked with balloons so everyone will know where they can find delicious bacon related food samples (for ticket holders only, while supplies last).  “The Downtown Bacon Crawl was so much fun and such a huge success this past year. We are very excited to be doing it again!  We heard from so many attendees that it was a great opportunity to visit with downtown businesses and see how alive downtown Florence really is. Giving visitors and locals a fun and unique experience by tasting delicious treats and shopping along the way is the goal.” said Molly Austin, Event Coordinator for Florence Main Street.
Check-in for the Bacon Crawl will begin at 9:30am on the corner of Court and Tennessee Streets (look for the red tents) and ‘Crawlers’ are encouraged to park in the nearby parking garage (located on Tennessee Street). At check-in, ticket holders will be given a Bacon Crawl wristband, map of participating businesses, to-go boxes and bags, and Shop Downtown cards to fill out for a chance to WIN Downtown Dollars.

Bacon Wrapped Cheddar“Fall is around the corner and the downtown businesses are excited to show off their Fall fashions, share new things they’ve picked up over the summer and celebrate the changing of the seasons with you.  We’re hoping that Fall won’t just mean folks getting excited about school and football but also the 2nd Annual Bacon Crawl in downtown Florence” said Teryl Shields, Executive Director of Florence Main Street.


We are pleased to announce that the winner of our 2016 Downtown Bacon Crawl T-Shirt contest is JP Jones.
T-shirts will be available for purchase through our website or at our office, located at 301 North Pine Street, beginning at 1:00pm today, August 1st, 2016.
BaconCrawlT2JPJones2016 Revised

Vote For Your Favorite 2016 Bacon Crawl T-Shirt Design

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The top 5 designs have been selected by our panel of judges and now it is time for you to vote for your favorite! Voting ends July 30th, 2016 and the winning design will be announced on July 31st.
To place your vote click here.




Bacon Crawl T-Shirt Design Challenge

Florence Main Street is looking for ‘creatives’…designers, artists, or even doodlers… to submit original artwork, designs, or drawings for our official 2016 Bacon Crawl t-shirt.  There’s even a $500 cash award for the selected design.  As this is the second year this event has happened, Main Street is hoping for an image that illustrates how much fun and how tasty the Bacon Crawl will be this September in downtown Florence.  Below are the details and requirements which must be followed.

Design Requirements:
The following information must be included within the design
1.   Event details –
            a) Title: Downtown Bacon Crawl presented by Florence Main Street
            b) Date: September 10, 2016
c) Location: Downtown Florence
d) Website:
2.  Size cannot exceed 10.5 inches in width and 15 inches in length (best size to fit on back of t-shirt).
3.  Up to 2 colors may be used in the design.
4.  Select the color of the t-shirt that best fits your design. T-shirt colors are listed below and will be posted at in a blog post about the t-shirt design contest.  
5.  OPTIONAL Referenced Themes: Bacon, Pork, Pigs, Downtown Florence, Shopping and/or dining.

6.  Additional information – shirts will be screen printed locally, therefore please submit designs that, in your opinion will screen print well.

Eligibility & Age Requirements

This contest is open to all artists, professional, amateur, and student alike. If you are under the age of 18, you must ask your parent or guardian permission before entering this contest. The contest is open to any student (K-12).

Terms & Qualifications

A limit of two submissions per person ONLY.
Submit only original work. All designs must not contain copyrighted material and they cannot have previously won any awards.
The winning design will become property of Florence Main Street and may be used for other marketing purposes.
By participating, you agree to release, discharge and hold harmless Florence Main Street from any and all liability, loss, damage or injury resulting from participation in this contest.

How to Enter:
*All emails should have the subject line “Bacon Crawl T-shirt Contest – First and Last Name.”
a. T-shirt design

b. Registration Form (Click here for the form)

Email design submission to in JPEG, PDF, or GIF format in high resolution (300dpi) not to exceed 8MB in size.  Be prepared to submit the original drawing, Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop (vector art) files if your design is chosen.

Molly Austin, Event Coordinator

Deadline for submissions: Friday, July 22nd, 12pm (noon).  NO EXCEPTIONS! 
Evaluation of Design Submissions:
A panel of judges will select the top 5 designs and those designs will be put out to the community via a Facebook Poll to vote on their favorite from July 23rd – 29th.  The winning design will be announced on July 30th on our website and social media outlets.  A prize of $500 cash prize will be paid to the winner on the receipt of print-ready artwork.
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Prize for the Best Design: $500 CASH PRIZE

Selections of t-shirt colors that will best fit the artist’s design.

Our goal with this project is to give all creativity to the artist and we hope everyone has fun with the contest.

Keep in mind the artist may submit up to 2 designs per person for the contest. You may pick 1 or 2 colors of t-shirts that will make the graphic stand out the most.

Good luck to everyone!

Dixie Garage

Lucas Wassner is the owner of Dixie Garage, a men’s supply shop, located in downtown Florence on Mobile Street. He grew up in Muscle Shoals and got a degree in outdoor recreation at the University of North Alabama. He then worked as a park ranger in South Dakota at Wind Cave National Park for three seasons. After he and his wife spent a month on the road and two months in Florida, they decided to come back to Florence. For a year and a half Lucas was the manager at Alabama Outdoors then he left to open Dixie Garage August 2015. For the first six months he shared a space on College Street with another business. That space is actually where he got the name for his business; Dixie Garage is what his friend called the space prior to him moving in. February 2016, Lucas moved Dixie Garage to 110 East Mobile Street. I asked him why he chose downtown Florence and he said, “because I love downtown Florence, I love the people and the events. It is the place to be.”


Dixie Garage is such a unique store, I was very curious as to what inspired Lucas to start his business. He told me that he was seeing a new store for women opening up every other week. There was a need in the community for a men’s store. There are many boutiques in the area for women, so why not for men? He wanted to open a store where men could find original products that couldn’t just be found in department stores. He was tired of getting the same basic stuff.


Just like most new businesses, Lucas faced challenges when starting his business. He said one of the hardest things was getting exposure. To get a jump on getting their name out, the Dixie Garage Instagram account was started a month before they opened their doors. They also set up booths at First Fridays downtown. Another challenge he mentioned is that starting and managing your own business takes a lot of time and effort. Lucas and his wife, Chelsea, are the only ones working at Dixie Garage. With a one year old daughter and a baby boy on the way, time and effort will be an ongoing challenge.

When it comes to the future, Lucas does not really want to open multiple locations. He would rather make the one location a destination, a place where people come from out of town to shop. He would like to grow his inventory, have a wider variety of products, and get more people in the door.

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Lucas is a few months shy of the one year anniversary of Dixie Garage’s opening. It is always best to take advice from someone that has been in the same situation, so I asked him what advice he would give to someone wanting to start their own business. He simply replied, “Quit talking about it and do it.”

We talked about the difficult parts of owning a business but what are the rewards? Lucas said his inventory is made up mostly of makers products, products that are locally made. He said they get just as excited when he makes sells. He is glad to help them by doing this.

My final question for Lucas was how did he want to impact the community. He told me he wants to be new and fresh always and he wants to bring in lots of traffic from other places. One way he is doing this is by Bingo Night. Monday April 18 was the first Bingo Night hosted by Dixie Garage at 116 on Mobile Street. Lucas said it was a great turn out and he hopes to make it a monthly event.


We are just as excited to see how Lucas and Dixie Garage will change and grow the community! They are open Monday 11-5 and Tuesday-Saturday 11-7. Stop in and check out all the cool products they have!