Advertise With Us

New Lawrenceville Power of local community

Never underestimate the power of a local community - and the small American Business owner
By Rodney Camren

“It was President Harry Truman who said if you don’t know where you have been, then you don’t know where you are going”. Mary Frazier Long has many quotes on the New Lawrenceville Trolley Tours and many stories about the City of Lawrenceville’s past. Our community trolley tours started six years ago. In our groups efforts of “Bringing Community Together” we wanted to do more than just be a networking group.

The New Lawrenceville Spring Green Festival raised $10,000, which was donated to  Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation toward the purchase of a dedicated NICU Ambulance on April 8, 2014.

Sharing business cards and supporting each other’s business efforts is one thing but if you don’t have community exposure and support a business will not survive. The local relationships between business owners, residents and visitors must be developed, built upon and nurtured in order for a thriving community.
{gallery}2014rapidgalleries/rg0514/NL0514{/gallery}Thank you to May 2014 New Lawrenceville media sponsors – 

The real estate market bubble had unexpectedly burst and with that burst, taking everyone and their businesses with them down the drain. A lot of business closed their doors, homes were being foreclosed, cars were being repossessed and credits declined in every part of our country. You see the real estate market has always been the economic indicator of weather the nation has a healthy bank account. Many of the local shop owners on the square had started meeting once a week for networking, creating now what is New Lawrenceville Business Networking. While sitting in a meeting one night it was mentioned how the Lawrenceville Square on Sunday’s was a ghost town. We all ponder on what we could do to help bring about business. Initially the idea was presented to rent the local trolleys and carry people around to Realtor open houses. We would pick up and drop off on the square encouraging them to visit our stores and restaurant’s. However, as we were developing this idea, we came across a video that real estate developer (and really the reason Lawrenceville’s new growth and redevelopment began) Emory Morsberger created about the City of Lawrenceville’s history. There was this beautiful woman who was telling the history on the video. She knew so much about the community and even written a book “About Lawrenceville”. Mary has lived in the Lawrenceville community all of her life. She claims that she has been run out of town several times but keeps turning up in Lawrenceville, like a bad penny. The light bulb went off; we had to have her story telling and humor on the trolley tours. After tracking her down and presenting the idea, Mary Frazier Long agreed and the New Lawrenceville Trolley Tours was created. Mary, along with Business owners and the trolley driver mapped out a route of famous local buildings, businesses, street names and even our historical cemetery. The tour lasts for about an hour and is FREE to all the riders. New Lawrenceville takes the expense of what it costs to make the trolley tours happen, and then we divide that up among the networking members and local businesses that see it’s good to be involved in community and our history. We keep the costs very low so it is more affordable for small business owners to advertise and participate in local community events. As in tradition of New Lawrenceville we don’t use the taxpayer’s money to promote our community. We split the cost of our projects equally and every bit of man power is from volunteers. You either love Lawrenceville or you don’t. If you do then roll up your sleeves and let’s get to work, together. There is strength in numbers, even the Bible tells us this in Ecclesiastes 4:12. But it is probably best remembered by John Heywood, English playwright and poet who wrote this proverb, “Many hands make light work.” The business owner’s logos are placed on the banners that hang on both sides of the Trolley so riders can see who brought them this free tour. Along the tour the riders also have an opportunity to win door prizes that have been donated to the tours by the local businesses as well. There are Theatre Tickets from the Aurora Theatre, gift cards from restaurants, and many other door prizes & discounts from local businesses. All of the riders receive a goody bag with items from the local business owners when the ride is finished. The pick-up point is at the water fountain on the Historic Square in downtown Lawrenceville, Georgia directly across the street from the Historic Gwinnett County Courthouse at 185 Crogan Street.

The stories include who the City of Lawrenceville was named after and the great detail of who this man was in his period of history. There are stories of Creek Indians and the trail of tears near Rhodes Jordan Park, which we go through as well only to stop at the Historic Lawrenceville Cemetery where many founding fathers & mothers are buried and helped establish and name the Crepe Myrtle City. The mule and horse trading of Honest Alley may have more than that going on in their time and may not have been so honest. We ride through the Gwinnett Justice Administrative Center to see the beautiful memorial dedicated to those Lawrenceville & Gwinnett soldiers in every war fought, who gave the ultimate sacrifice, their life for the country they loved. The fence around the Historic Gwinnett County courthouse wasn’t always there and Ms. Mary will tell you how it came about in her tale, along with the buildings on each corner of the courthouse grounds. When driving through Lawrenceville you probably didn’t know it but our city’s street names have great meaning to the time that Lawrenceville was established. Most people who come to ride the trolley never knew there was so much to learn about Lawrenceville. Once you learn the stories you will find a deeper commitment to this town.

Local business owner and New Lawrenceville Trolley Tour Sponsors Mike & Mary Blair of The Artisan Gathering Salon on Culver Street say’s this about his participation of the Trolley tours. “We have supported the Trolley Tours every year for the 6 years they have run because the Tour is a great way to introduce people to the livability of Lawrenceville and the businesses that are available near their homes so that they won’t have to travel very far to shop or find the services that they need.” There have been many media outlets who have shared our story as it resonates with many small towns and communities across Georgia and the United States. The Gwinnett Citizen was one of the 1st to pick up the story and share it 6 years ago. Since then many other news stories have done articles including 11 Alive, Gwinnett Daily Post, The Lawrenceville Patch, New Lawrenceville Magazine. Recognition of the story of the trolley tours doesn’t stop there; Mary Frazier Long herself has been recognized for her hard work in her role receiving a proclamation from former Mayor Rex Millsaps making her the Honorary Historian of Lawrenceville, Georgia. On September 4th, 2013 Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson presented Mary Frazier Long with a proclamation of September 4th being “Mary Long Day” for all of her hard work and dedication in preserving the history of our community. The New Lawrenceville Trolley Tours can be found on Facebook, Twitter, & You Tube, along with all the small business in our community.

We hope you will take a Saturday in May 2014 and come to the Historic Lawrenceville Square riding the trolley tours. You will get to hear our rich stories, meet business owners and see a spirit of kindred people who truly care about this town. Many communities from other neighboring cities, neighboring counties and emails from other states come in asking about New Lawrenceville and the efforts of what we do as a group and a community. The story never gets old and the future for all of us in New Lawrenceville has never been brighter. When you read this article, take note of the small businesses surrounding this story that support each other and New Lawrenceville. We ask that before you buy something “Made in China” that you look first to local Lawrenceville stores & shops and Georgia manufactured products supporting the local and small business owner striving to make your community a better place to live, work and play.

Thank you to May 2014 New Lawrenceville media sponsors – SHOP LOCAL!


 This article is sponsored by New Lawrenceville. New Lawrenceville is a FREE networking organization of businesses and volunteers that are working to bring community together.

Author Rodney Camren helps to lead New Lawrenceville in an effort to promote buying locally, educate the community on issues that affect our community. Rodney Camren is a Real Estate Agent with Keller Wiliams.