Sanford native Kelli Parrish Laudate has been named the next full time director of Downtown Sanford Inc.

According to a press release from the organization, which was formed in 1984 to carry out the Main Street program on behalf of the city of Sanford, Laudate previously was the organization’s promotions coordinator and has served as interim director since the June departure of former Director Jennifer St. Clair.

“I am honored to accept the position of DSI’s executive director,” Laudate said in the press release. “I look forward to building upon the great work of my predecessors while continuing the beautification, economic growth and vitality of our downtown. With the support of our DSI board, city staff, elected officials, and downtown business and property owners, we will brand Downtown Sanford as a destination — not only for our citizens but for all visitors to our community. I am thrilled to roll up my sleeves and get to work.”

She has a bachelor of science in business administration and marketing from Meredith College and worked as a teacher and with a private professional development company prior to joining DSI in 2018. She lives in Sanford with her husband Jamey and three children.

DSI Chairwoman Sharon Spence served on the search committee and said the organization received applications from professionals across the country and interviewed several candidates with experience developing downtown business districts.

“Kelli stood out to the search committee as a great fit for the organization,” Spence said. “Not only has Kelli served our downtown well in her roles as promotions coordinator and interim director, but she brings a real passion and enthusiasm for downtown Sanford that is hard to beat. Under Kelli’s leadership, we look forward to continuing the great progress downtown has experienced over the past several years.”

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