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Contact: Mark Ard
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Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee Congratulates Ocala Main Street’s Recent National Award


Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee is pleased to congratulate Ocala Main Street for placing third in the Shop Small Order In, Help Out Innovation Challenge, presented in partnership by American Express and Main Street America at the recent National Main Street Now Conference.


Ocala Main Street has worked hard with their business owners to think of innovative ways to revitalize Ocala’s historic downtown and this award signifies their hard work has been noticed on a national level,” said Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee. “Florida’s Main Streets continue to promote economic development and encourage the resiliency of historic resources in downtown commercial districts in communities throughout the state.”


Photograph courtesy of Ocala Main Street


The America Express Shop Small Order In, Help Out Innovation Challenge was launched in February 2021 to encourage communities to rally together and support their local restaurants during this unprecedented time. Ocala Main Street’s Downtown Burger Tour was chosen as one of seven award winners at the National Main Street Now Conference and the organization will receive $1,000 for their efforts.


The Downtown Burger Tour was a 13-week promotional food campaign that highlighted restaurants in Ocala’s historic downtown. The campaign was a collaboration between Ocala Main Street, a local photography and video company, an online lifestyle website, 13 local restaurants, and campaign sponsors. At each restaurant, the partners filmed a short promotional video with the chef or owner, took professional photographs of each burger, wrote a food review, and heavily promoted each burger on social media. The campaign was so successful that Ocala Main Street plans to host similar events throughout the year to continue to encourage support for their downtown district’s local restaurants and bars.


“The Downtown Burger Tour allowed us to highlight the best burgers and tell the stories of our restaurants and the unique dining experience at each one,” said Leighton Okus, Executive Director of Ocala Main Street. “Through this promotional campaign, we were able to support our restaurants in their recovery, expand our social media footprint, build lasting relationships and engage our community. We loved every minute of it!”


For more information about Ocala Main Street, visit or For more information about the Florida Main Street program, visit or To view a list of this year’s Order In, Help Out Innovation Challenge winners, visit Main Street America’s Community Spotlight Blog.




About Florida Main Street

Florida Main Street is a program administered by the Division of Historical Resources under the Florida Department of State, which currently oversees 49 communities throughout the state. By implementing the National Main Street Center’s Four-Point Approach, Florida Main Street encourages economic development within the context of historic preservation through the revitalization of Florida’s downtowns – the community’s heart and soul.