About the Downtown Garner Association

Board of Directors

Formed in 2005, the Downtown Garner Association (DGA) fosters downtown revitalization through the administration of Garner’s Main Street program in a public-private partnership with the Town of Garner. The organization received 501(c)3 status in 2007. This 5-9 member Board of Directors works with the town’s Downtown Development Manager to set strategic priorities for downtown economic development within a context of historic preservation. DGA’s Board of Directors meets on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 4:30 pm at 120 E. Main Street in Downtown Garner.

DGA develops a Plan of Work each fall during the board’s annual retreat to set priorities for the coming year. In addition, the Historic Downtown Garner Plan (2009) and the North Garner Plan (2003), developed with input from the community and adopted by the Town of Garner, continue to provide a long-term vision for this area.

Board of Directors

Jihan Hodges

Demian Dellinger

Tim Snover

Charolette Whitaker

Meg Hunter

Rachel Tourdot

Jihan Hodges

2020 DGA Chair

My first impression of Downtown Garner was that it was quaint but underdeveloped and underused.  I would love to see Downtown Garner become a gathering place for the community and the heart of Garner. Somewhere people could grab a bite to eat with family and friends, before heading over to the local watering hole. A place to watch an outdoor movie, a play, or visit an art exhibit. A place people could meet up for coffee, go shopping at a local artisans market, or pick up fresh produce from the farmer’s market.

I joined the DGA Board of Directors so I can be a part of making our vision for Downtown Garner a reality.

Mari Howe

Downtown Development Manager

As the Downtown Development Manager since 2015, I’ve acted as a liaison between the Downtown Garner Association and the Town of Garner.  I’m responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the non-profit, running the town’s Main Street program, and supporting downtown businesses, property owners, and residents.

I’m the point of contact for downtown events including the Pop Up Market, Outdoor Movies at GPAC, and the April Foods Day and Trick or Eat food truck rodeos.  I can assist with business and property inquiries – please contact me at 919-773-4402 or mhowe@garnernc.gov if you’d like to discuss opening a business or developing property in Downtown Garner.  My office is located at 120 E. Main Street in the Gearworks building.

Main Street Program

Garner is a nationally accredited Main Street community and the Downtown Garner Association has been leading downtown economic revitalization since 2009 with the help of the Main Street Four Point Approach.  The Main Street Approach™ offers community-based revitalization initiatives with a practical, adaptable framework for downtown transformation that is easily tailored to local conditions.  The Main Street Approach is implemented through comprehensive work in four broad areas, known as the Four Points – ORGANIZATION, PROMOTION, DESIGN, & ECONOMIC VITALITY. 

The Downtown Garner Association has four standing volunteer work committees that are responsible for implementing DGA’s annual work plan.  Each committee focuses on one of the Four Points, and together, DGA’s committees form a comprehensive, practical, and effective organization for leading downtown economic revitalization.

Community Engagement

The Community Engagement committee  builds on the DGA’s role as the downtown advocacy ORGANIZATION to create a strong foundation for a sustainable revitalization effort, including cultivating partnerships, community involvement, and resources for the district.


The Event Planning committee  uses the principles of PROMOTION to position Garner’s downtown district as the center of the community and hub of economic activity, while creating a positive image that showcases the community’s unique characteristics. 

Design &
Public Art

The DESIGN & Public Art committee supports Downtown Garner’s transformation by enhancing the physical and visual assets that set the commercial district apart. 

Downtown Development

The Downtown Development committee is modeled on ECONOMIC VITALITY, which focuses on economic and financial tools to assist new and existing businesses, catalyze property development, and create a supportive environment for entrepreneurs and innovators that drive the local economy.