One of downtown Corbin’s most recognizable and time-tested businesses is receiving a facelift this week, all thanks to grant money procured by the Corbin Main Street Program.
Corbin Main Street Manager Sharae Myers said work being completed to improve the fa?ade at Cottongim Drug Company is the latest in a series of projects to improve the appearance of downtown thanks to $50,000 in grant money from Tour Southern and Eastern Kentucky (SEKY) – a non-profit organization created in 1987 to promote, expand, develop and market the existing and potential tourism industry.
"It’s really more than just a facelift. It is a total overhaul. This is really a transformation," Meyers said of the work to the store. "We are so lucky to have a great corner drug store that is nostalgic. It’s something worth preserving."
Cottongim’s has been doing business at its location at the corner of Main and Third Streets since 1933. Current owner Donald Rollins bought into the company in 1959 when he moved to the area, then purchased the store from J.C. Cottongim in 1961 and has owned it ever since.
"I’m committed to downtown Corbin," Rollins said. "Sometimes you dream of having a place with a big parking lot or whatever, but we have a lot of loyal customers that like us where we are, so we want to be good to them."
Rollins said he and his wife, Geneva, both approve of all the aesthetic choices the Main Street Program’s Design Committee made for the building. Design Committee members Shea Hensley, Jason Matthews, Charlene Blair and Rose Estill had the most input on the project.
Cottongim’s is being painted, is receiving new awnings and will get a new sign. Stonework has also been added to the front of the building for visual effect. Myers said the grant money could be used to buy supplies, but won’t pay for labor.
That’s where the city of Corbin’s Public Works Department has been crucial. Work release inmates from the Whitley County Detention Center are completing upgrades to the building.
The Cottongim’s project will cost about $2,500.
"To say the least, I am very pleased by all of this," Rollins said. "I think downtown, right now, looks the best it has looked since I came here in 1959. You have people in place that are interested in bringing people here and it shows."
The improvements to Cottongim’s are the most significant undertaken so far for any downtown business by the Main Street Program. Money has also been used for facade improvements at the Downtown Barber Shop, S&J Designs, the old Countours Fitness Center, Purrfect Pets and others.