KINSTON -

The city of Kinston is stepping up its effort to attract business to the area.

Kinston’s downtown coalition launched a campaign last fall to advertise its downtown area through billboards. The campaign started off with two billboards, but added 14 more this week through sponsors. The sponsors include the Farmers Market, Mother Earth Brewing Company, and H. Stadiem Department Store.

The campaign is part of an effort to revitalize the downtown area.

“Basically it's a circling  tactic to encourage passerby’s to come downtown to eat, dine and enjoy themselves,” Adrian  King, Director of Pride of Kinston, said.

King said the hope is that the sponsored, more popular ads bring people into the area, and that business will trickle down to other local places.

Matt Maroules, Co-owner of Christopher’s Café in Kinston, said the billboards seem to be helping business.

“I’ve seen a lot of new faces. The numbers are about the same. It's slowly picking up,” Maroules said.

The billboard campaign will continue until December 2013. The coalition will then look at how successful the billboards have been, and decide whether or not to continue the effort.