(Hattiesburg, Miss) – For the fifth year in a row, the Downtown Hattiesburg Association will feature another nationally-recognized Main Street expert at its annual meeting set for Thursday, February 9, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Historic Train Depot. Storyville’s Phil Eich will headline the event with “Your Story is Written in Dust.” Tickets are available to purchase, and the public is invited to attend.

Eich is the founder of Storyville, an organization dedicated to telling the stories of cities to cultivate community pride, support small businesses, attract and retain talent, and spur private-sector investment. Storyville’s human-centered approach to civic marketing shines a light on the greatest strength of American cities, which is its people.

“Storytelling creates pride, ownership, trust, empathy, understanding, and deep relationships: all prerequisites to igniting and accelerating the growth, development, and vibrancy we want to see happen in the places we live,” said Eich.

Downtown Hattiesburg Association Executive Director Andrea Saffle believes sharing national perspectives and success models is critical to the continued advancement of Hattiesburg’s downtown. This includes a multi-year commitment to securing highly reputable Main Street speakers known for their expertise to share their insights with members and the community at the association’s annual meeting.

“We’ve been on a strategic mission for the last four years, and we are reaping the rewards of those collective efforts. Through our community’s engaged leaders, DHA members, and downtown merchants, we have achieved significant success in both expanding our business core and enhancing our overall attractiveness in the heart of our city,” said Saffle. “Phil’s storytelling platform comes at the perfect time for us in Hattiesburg. Learning how to effectively record and share our story with others will be a big part of keeping our momentum going.”

Michael Marks, a principal of Stage, Style, and Study, LLC, is serving as the 2022 President of the Downtown Hattiesburg Association. With numerous new projects and several quarters of economic growth downtown, Marks believes the strategic focus on revitalization and recovery has paid off in a significant way.

“Looking back at 2022, we are immensely grateful to enjoy such a prosperous year of economic growth and new milestones,” said Marks. “Together, we have witnessed the establishment of many new businesses, record private sector investment, and tourism growth. Hattiesburg has a tremendous story, and we welcome the public to join us for this event to become a part of how we share it with others.”

During the 2023 annual meeting, Downtown Hattiesburg will also share the 2022 economic impact of the downtown area and present its local Main Street awards. Tickets are $30 for association members and $35 for non-members. Lunch is included in the ticket price.

Tickets are available for purchase on Downtown Hattiesburg’s Facebook page and Eventbrite. Advance ticket purchases are encouraged. For organizations wishing to purchase full tables or to request an invoice, please email Andrea Saffle at andrea@downtownhattiesburg.com.



Andrea Saffle and Allison Neville