10 to Watch 2022: Sada Stewart Troutman

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 2, 2022

SALISBURY — The life of a city is captured in its downtown, says Sada Stewart Troutman.

The new director of Downtown Salisbury, Inc., Stewart Troutman says the area captures everything the city of Salisbury and Rowan County is and can do. Some people exit Interstate 85 and only stop at fast food restaurants or gas stations, but Stewart Troutman says there’s much more to see in downtown Salisbury — the cultural, business, technology and arts center for the community.

“It all happens in downtown,” she said.

Stewart Troutman, 27, is one of the Salisbury Post’s 10 to Watch for 2022.

Before taking on her new role, Stewart Troutman was director of the Historic Salisbury Foundation — a job she applied for in part because her husband, Preston, is from the area. She interviewed for the job the weekend of the Cheerwine festival and left thinking, “Salisbury is the best.”

In Salisbury, Stewart Troutman and her husband looked for and found a family friendly, small-town atmosphere to settle down.

In 2022, she’ll settle into her new director position, with her sights on moving the Empire Hotel redevelopment closer to completion, getting to know downtown merchants and their needs, expanding events by helping merchants host their own pop-up gatherings, working to fill storefront occupancy gaps and participating in a conversation about downtown parking.

Stewart Troutman also is thinking about creating an entrepreneurial or business mentorship program in downtown. Part of long-term business success is cultivating more homegrown success stories, she said. She views the selection of Charlotte-based developer Brett Krueger as bringing potential for an expanded developer base for Salisbury projects.

Stewart Troutman earned a master’s degree in historic preservation through a joint program between Clemson University and the College of Charleston. She is also a cum laude graduate of Princeton University and a published journal author. She lives on North Main Street and says she looks forward to people stopping her on the street when she’s walking around.

Who would play you in a movie?

Emma Watson or Gal Gadot, and in no way because of appearances. I really just admire them as hardworking actresses and positively influential role models.

What would you want for your last meal?

That is an easy one, chicken marsala.

Biggest personal challenge in 2022?

My biggest challenge for myself is to read at least 24 books, of different genres and styles.

Biggest personal hope for 2022?

My biggest personal hope for 2022 is that I will be able to quickly adjust into my role with DSI and get to know each and every business and property owner so we can start working on making our downtown more and more vibrant.

Who will you be watching in 2022?

I will be watching a number of people, but top of that list is actually someone local, Hannah Jacobson, the planning director for the city. She has made a really positive impact since she started working for the city, and has been an amazing resource for me as I moved to Salisbury — first with HSF and now with DSI. Hannah works hard to re-imagine Salisbury in creative ways, and I enjoy watching her and working with her to do the same.

What would you do if you won $10 million?

If I won $10 million, I would try to do a few things: I would finish all of the many projects in our historic house (though projects never really end in historic houses), I would put some away to save and invest for my family and I would use a last portion to invest in our downtown with our up-and-coming entrepreneurs and property owners.

What’s your reaction to being named as one of the 10 to Watch?

Honestly, I am shocked, honored and humbled. I truly love Salisbury and think our community is special in so many ways, so to be thought of as a person to watch within the community is exciting and drives me to continue to work hard to make Salisbury an even better place to live, work and play!