Nightly News | February 26, 2011
>>> for all the talk of technology and innovation leading us into the future. there may be something to learn from the experience of a small town in georgia. nbc 's roger o'neal shows us how it is getting through these tough economic times .
>> reporter: in a town where folks believe their past is the future, a blend of ideas and southern hospitality has the scent of success.
>> downtown is a star among struggling small towns. there are no for-rent, for-sale or other signs here.
>> downtown has 40 retails shops how many closed?
>> we had one close.
>> 15 restaurants downtown, karen smith says only one closed. it is her job to keep main street vibrant.
>> we concentrate on downtown development within the context of historic preservation .
>> we believe this is the heart of the community.
>> from old fashioned face-to-face chats to a city installed and run fiber optic networks so moms and pops can stay connected. new condo projects, and it center. projects brought 219 workers to main street who eat and shop here. it vitalizes the community and makes it alive.
>> several festivals bring in tourists. the city will take your picture and post it on the internet. quirky, but it works. when it comes to making improvements downtown, the bricks of yesterday offer more charm than a new layer of asphalt. instead of widening the street, widen the sidewalk it is easier for people to shop or just to sit. and parking? park as long as you want, it is free.
>> new young shop keepers are buying into the old feel of the city.
>> people are getting unchained from the big chain stores .
>> a downtown full of life where yesterday is tomorrow. roger o'neal, nbc news, thomasville, georgia. that is " nbc nightly news" for