Annual Awards

2018 MMSA Award Winners



2018 MMSA Award Winners

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(1 of 10) Main Street Hero– This award recognizes one outstanding community leader or public figure who has displayed an involved commitment to downtown and his or her Main Street program.


Winner: Michelle Jones (nominated by Starkville Main Street)

Director: Jennifer Prather

Accepting: Michelle Jones

Through her  professional role  with  the  MS  Department of  Archives  and History and her commitment  to serve her  hometown of Starkville, Michelle Jones has  served  in many  leadership  capacities in  the  Starkville community.  As Past Chairman  of the  Starkville  Convention and  Visitors  Bureau, Michelle  was  instrumental in  her  role to  partner  with Mississippi  Main  Street to  provide  Starkville with  a path  for transformation  of  the Downtown  area.  Following Starkville’s  designation  as a  certified  MS Main Street  Community in 2010,  Michelle joined  the  Executive Board,  later  serving two  terms  as Chairman,  a  seat she  currently  holds today.  


Michelle  also serves  as  a member  of  the Mississippi  Main  Street Board  of  Directors and  can  be found  across  the state  working  with communities  to  preserve their  rich  history. For  more than  10 years,  Michelle  has advocated  to  keep Starkville’s  history  intact while  continually  striving to  take  the steps  to  move the  community  forward.  


Main Street Hero (2 of 10)

Winner: Mayor George Flaggs (nominated by Vicksburg Main Street)

Director: Kim Hopkins

Accepting: Mayor Flaggs

One  of downtown  Vicksburg’s  advocates and  one  of  its  strongest ties  to  the city’s  business  community is  Mayor  George Flaggs,  Jr.  Mayor Flaggs  works hard  to  encourage the revitalization  of  downtown and  its  retail heart.  He also works to  enhance the  city’s  focus on  our  majestic neighbor,  the  Mississippi River,  while  ensuring that  it  is managed  with sustainability. Mayor  Flaggs has  dedicated  much of  his  time to  advocating  for the  interests  of downtown  businesses,  residents, nonprofits  and  government agencies.  


He  understands  that a  vibrant  downtown is  a  critical part  of  a healthy  city.  During his  time  as mayor,  Mayor Flaggs  has worked  to  continue the revitalization  of  Vicksburg’s historic  downtown and  increase  citizenship along  with  creating new  jobs  and more  opportunities  for our  entire community.  




Premier Partner– recognizes creative joint ventures between the Main Street organization and another local, community entity or entities (public or private).  

Winner: Senatobia Main Street – Northwest Community College

Director: Jamie Sowell

Accepting: Karla Merritt

The  number  one economic  development  tool in  Senatobia, MS  is Northwest  Community  College. One  of  the county’s  largest  employers, the  largest  tax revenue  generator,  and home  to  over 2,500  students,  Northwest has  plenty  to offer  the  community, but  for  years, Senatobia  has  struggled to  bridge  the gap  between  the college  students,  faculty and  the  community. This  year,  Senatobia Main  Street  reached out  to  Northwest for  help  in several  areas  and was  blown  away  with their  enthusiasm.  The Career Tech  Graphic  Art Department  recently  helped with  a  complete festival  rebrand.  The students  received  real life  learning  experience by  dealing  with  sponsors  and building  a  brand as  well  as being  able  to showcase  their  artistic talents.  This  was a  win-win  situation for  both  Northwest and  Senatobia  Main Street.  The  art for  the  festival has  never  looked better  or  had  a  more consistent  brand  image and  the students  received real  life  experience.  The invaluable new partnership has strengthened the Senatobia community as a whole.


Outstanding Creative Fundraiser– This award is granted to the downtown organization that has displayed the most creativity and success in securing funds for its downtown program or specific project.

Winner: Team Cleveland Main Street – Cleveland Bites Food Festival

Director: Aimee Taylor

Accepting: Tasha Huerta

Cleveland  Bites Food  Festival  is an  annual  event that  was  created in  2014.    This event  was  created as  a  partnership between  Team  Cleveland and  Keep  Cleveland Boring  as  a way  to  bring together  all  of  the  area restaurants  so  that they  could  showcase their  menu  items to  participants.    Cleveland Bites  allows  area restaurants  to  hand out  sample  size portions  of  their most  popular  or newest  menu  items to  participants.    This event  has  been held  in  the alley  next  to Mosquito  Burrito  and at  the  Delta Arts  Alliance  Annex Building.  Every  year  more than 25  restaurants  are featured  as  well as  live  music from  local  artists. More than  200  people attend  this  event. Team Cleveland Main Street charges $15  per person  and  all proceeds  go  toward Team  Cleveland’s  façade grant  program.  In the  last  4 years  this  event has  provided  10 façade  grants  of $500  each to  Team Cleveland  Main Street Members.


Outstanding Marketing– This award recognizes excellence in overall marketing by a downtown organization through its integrated communications efforts, including traditional and digital marketing.


Winner: Greenwood Main Street – Que on the Yazoo Marketing Campaign 

Director: Brantley Snipes 

Accepting: Megan Slaughter and Brantley Snipes

A  great Main  Street  event or  festival  is nothing  without  a strong  marketing  campaign to  help  promote it.  After  5 years  of  building the  Que  on  the  Yazoo event,  2017  was our  year  to put  a  strong focus  on  integrating and  boosting  our marketing  game  plan. With  the  help of  Hammons  and Associates,  Main  Street Greenwood  was  able to  develop  a  marketing  plan that  included  Facebook, Instagram,  Twitter,  radio, a modified  website,  an e-newsletter  and  television ads.  Innovative  taglines, posts,  and  clever hashtags  such  as “Swooning  over  Swine”, “Que  up  the Tunes”,  and  #howdoyouque combined  with  images from  the  event, streamlined  our  marketing approach  into  a cohesive  brand  that was  promoted  over all  platforms.  The results  of  our  efforts  were crystal  clear. 2017  was the  best-attended  event yet  and  the media  analytics  were then  used  for 2018  to  obtain the  most  sponsorship money  for  any Main  Street  event to  date.   


Outstanding Community Education Campaign (1 of 2)– This award recognizes excellence in a targeted campaign that educates the community about a streamlined effort to raise awareness on a particular aspect of a Main Street program.

Winner: Vicksburg Main Street – Vicksburg Heritage Walking Trails

Director and Accepting: Kim Hopkins

Walk  into history  and  immerse yourself  in  the  ever-evolving  life of  downtown  Vicksburg by  touring  Vicksburg’s newest outdoor  “museum”,  the Vicksburg  Heritage  Walking Trails.  The  Vicksburg Heritage  Walking  Trails allows  visitors  to immerse  themselves  in the  history  of Vicksburg  by  strolling five  different  routes featuring  35  markers placed  throughout  the downtown  and  historic districts.  The National  Park Service’s Lower  Delta  Initiative Grant and the City  of  Vicksburg fund the Vicksburg  Heritage Trails  Network  Project. The  project  was implemented  by  the City  of  Vicksburg, Vicksburg  National  Military Park,  Vicksburg  Convention and  Visitors  Bureau, Vicksburg  Main  Street, Old  Court  House Museum,  Gordon  Cotton, David  Maggio,  Morgan Gates- Principal  Tours  and the  Vicksburg-Warren  County Chamber  of  Commerce Community  Fund.   There is  no  way to  replicate  the beautiful  heritage,  history and  culture  of Vicksburg.  Visitors  and locals  alike  are able  to  learn the  important  attributes that  Vicksburg  has  to  the history  of  the Civil  War  and also  learn  that our  story  goes  far beyond  that.


Outstanding Community Education Campaign (2 of 2)        

Winner: Greenwood Main Street – How Downtown

Director and Accepting: Brantley Snipes

Plans  of work  and  creative juices  run  dry after  a  few years  on  any job  and  our project  organization  at Main  Street  Greenwood was  no  exception! In  the  summer of  2017,  it became  clear  we needed  to  re-organize our  plan  of work  and  ensure we  were  aligning projects  with  the visions  of  our community.  
With  no real  precedent  on  how  to achieve  this,  we created  the  How Downtown  Visioning  Process. A  survey  link was  shared  with community  members  with 5  questions  allowing them  to  express their  concerns  or issues  with  downtown. The  results  were tallied  and  organized into  talking  points on  HOW  we could  achieve  change in  downtown  and  then  discussed during  the  How Downtown  Community  meeting. The  process  was so  well  received that  over  50 community  members  attended and  provided  real, tangible  ideas,  goals and  objectives  for Main  Street  to pursue  over  the  course of  the  next 5  years.    


Main Street Hero (3 of 10)

Winner: Jim Luke (nominated by Picayune Main Street)

Director: Reba Beebe

Accepting: Jim Luke

Former  Chief of  Police  and now  City  Manager since  2011,  Jim Luke  believes  forming  Partnerships  with  groups such  as  Picayune Main  Street,  the Chamber  of  Commerce,  Foundations,  Churches,  Scouts, and  local  civic organizations  is  essential to  city  growth and  development  which is  evident  in the  City  of Picayune,  MS. Jim’s  unique vision  and  ability have  led  him to  directly  spearhead and/or  support  city workers,  local  and government  agencies  and local  organizations  in activities  and  programs leading  to specific  accomplishments  like the  New  City Hall  Complex,  beautification  projects, infrastructure  and  safety improvements  in  roads, sidewalks,  city  lighting and  signage,  and the  restoration  of city  parks  and substantial  funding  through grants  and  donations. Jim  is  dedicated to  preserving  Picayune’s history  but  he always  has  an eye  toward  the future. His  vision,  partnership building, “ can  do”  attitude and  care  for citizens  make  Jim Luke  a  true   standout  among all  the  Heroes of  Picayune. 


Main Street Hero (4 of 10)

Winner: Mallorie Rasberry (nominated by Laurel Main Street)

Director: Judi Holifield

Accepting: Mallorie Rasberry

There  are  people who  are  dedicated volunteers  and  passionate advocates  for  their towns.  They  are at  almost  every event  and  are valued.  You  give them  awards  to show  your  appreciation and  thank  them constantly  for  their service.  Then,  there are  people  who have  been  there since  the  beginning, are  at  every event,  and  you never  get  the  opportunity  to thank  them  because, if  you  did, you  would never  be able  to  stop. There  are  people without  whom  the success  of  the organization  is  immediately called  into  question. That,  ladies  and gentlemen,  is  Mallorie Rasberry –Wife,  mother,  accountant, and  fierce  advocate for  Downtown  Laurel, Mississippi.  When  it comes  to  service with  Laurel  Main Street,  Mallorie  has done  it  all, including  the  early mornings  and  late nights.  When  thinking  about her  hard  work, what  else  can we  call  her besides  Laurel Main Street’s Hero?




Outstanding Creative Event (1 of 2)– This award recognizes the downtown organization that has created a quality creative event, generating traffic for the downtown.

Winner: Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association - Mini Wine Downtown and Shopping Tournament

Director: Debbie Brangenberg

Accepting: Craig Helmuth

In  2017, Tupelo  Main  Street partnered  with  the Tupelo  Convention  and  Visitors’  Bureau to  turn  its annual  Wine  Downtown event  into  a sustainable,  marketable  event that  could  be offered for  incoming  conferences in  order  to enhance  the  visitor experience.  By  scaling down  operations  and adding  a  shopping tournament  to  further economic  impact,  the partner organizations’  created the  Mini  Wine Downtown  and  Shopping Tournament.  Tupelo Main Street has  been able  to  use this  event  twice since  then,  and from  a  combined 4  hours  of shopping  time  we have  seen  an economic  impact  of over  $6,500  back into  downtown,  as well  as  fantastic merchant  feedback  and excitement  about  this event  in  the future.  For  a Main  Street  Community, this  contribution  is truly  immeasurable. 


Outstanding Creative Event (2 of 2)

Winner: Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association - Hattiesburlesque

Director: Andrea Saffle

Accepting: Abigail Lenz-Allen and Rebecca Chandler

Twice  a  year, Hattiesburlesque  puts  on a  new  show with  a  live band  at  the  Thirsty  Hippo in  downtown  Hattiesburg.    Each show  has  grown bigger  than  the one  before  it, selling  out  earlier and  earlier.    This must-see,  can’t-miss  event brings  together  the arts  community  in a  giant  celebration of  everything  that makes  Hattiesburg  beautiful and  unique.    From original  costumes  and set  design,  to the  live  band, to  the  incorporation of  all  forms of  dance,  to comedy,  to  on-site art  creation,  Hattiesburlesque  incorporates it  all  in  the  spirit of  “art  makes art  makes  art.” While it  is  an eclectic  display  of the  Hattiesburg  arts community,  it  is also  an  empowering celebration  of  the women  of  Hattiesburg. 


Outstanding Retail Promotion– This award honors the downtown organization that has developed an effective retail promotion(s) in conjunction with downtown merchants. 

Winner: Main Street Greenwood – Sit, Stay, Play, Greenwood

Director and Accepting: Brantley Snipes

When  a four-legged  vagabond  becomes downtown  Greenwood’s  icon,  one  Main Street  organization  couldn’t help  but  create a  retail  promotion around  his  reputation. Sit, Stay, Play  Greenwood  was based  upon  #HowardStreetHoward,  a  dachshund  mix who  evaded  capture for  6  months and  stole  the heart  of  every Greenwood  resident.  After finally  finding  a home  with  Greenwood’s CVB  director, Howard  became the  face of  Greenwood Main Street’s  retail event  in  August, which  is  a slow  time  for downtown  Greenwood  retailers. Downtown  shoppers who  made  a purchase  during  the month  of  August were  given  an entry  into  the Sit,  Stay,  Play Sweepstakes,  which  included a  night  at The  Alluvian  and a  Viking  Cooking School class.  At  the end  of  the  event,  Main Street  Greenwood  entered 200  new  contacts into  our  database for  future  promotional events,  reached  over 2000  per  social media  post,  boosted August  sales  tax, and  utilized  profits made  off  Sit, Stay,  Play  t-shirts. 


Outstanding Image Promotion (1 of 2)– This award recognizes the downtown organization or business that has developed an effective public relations piece or specific promotional campaign.

Winner: Main Street Clinton – Meet Me on Main Street

Director: Tara Lytal

Accepting: Jonathan Nutt

“We are  the  entrepreneurs,  the architects,  the  chefs, and  attorneys  that  work  in your  downtown.    We’re the  artists,  bankers, engineers,  and  realtors -  the  faces of  your  Main Street.    We’re  the baristas,  City  employees, mechanics,  and  volunteers who invest  in  our community  every  day. Each  of  us has  a  story...Meet us  on  Main Street  and  become part  of  the story.”  Thus began  a promotional  campaign  to feature  the  faces  of  Main Street  Clinton.  An ongoing campaign,  Meet  Me on  Main  Street seeks  to  grow engagement  by  highlighting the  individuals  who invest  in  the Clinton community.  The campaign  began with  a  large group  photo,  representing the  vital  partnership among  those  whose shared  ambition  is to  provide  the best  possible  community experience.  Subsequent ads  showcase one  individual  –  a  business owner  or  volunteer or  City  employee with  a  short bio.  Ads appear  in The  Clinton  Courier and  on  social media.


Outstanding Image Promotion (2 of 2)

Winner: Main Street Greenwood - Downtown Greenwood Promo Video

Director: Brantley Snipes

Accepting: Matthew Moore and Brantley Snipes

Not a  day  goes by  that  we do  not  watch or  experience  some form  of  video or  video  promotion in  our  day-to-day activities,  especially  on our  social  media accounts.  As  part  of  downtown Greenwood’s  visioning  process, How  Downtown,  local community  members  expressed the  need  of having  a  downtown promotional  video.  Main Street  Greenwood  jumped on  this  idea and  began  working with  local  film producer,  Matthew  Moore. The  goal  of the  video  was to  showcase  all the  culinary,  retail and  residential  amenities we  currently  have, how  far  we have  come  in terms  of  preservation and  the  direction we  are  going in  terms  of  continued  downtown re-development.  To  fund the  video,  local companies  committed  $100 to  the  project and  have  their company  featured  in the  credit  reel at  the  end. The  video  was a  6-month  process but  managed  to capture  the  true essence  of  downtown Greenwood.    


Main Street Hero (5 of 10)

Winner: Penny Frazier (nominated by Senatobia Main Street)

This award  will  solidify what  we  already know,  Penny  Hawks Frazier  IS  Senatobia Main  Street’s  Hero. Penny  has  served the  Senatobia  community tirelessly  in  multiple capacities.  She  served as  a  Senatobia alderwoman  for  six years  and  served on  the  Tate County  Economic  Development Foundation  board  of Directors  from  2010-2017.   She  was  one of  the  driving forces  behind  the rebirth  of  the Senatobia  Main  Street program  in  2013, serving  on  the Senatobia  Main  Street board  from  2013-2017, with  two  terms as  its  president. Penny,  a  downtown property  and  business owner,  has  been an  unwavering  supporter of  Senatobia’s  downtown revitalization  and  was instrumental  in  the hiring  of  the first  Main  Street director.    She  was chairman  of  the inaugural  Five  Star City  Fest  in 2014,  establishing  a blueprint  for  the successful  festivals  that followed.    Penny  Frazier not  only  talks the  Senatobia  Main Street  talk,  she walks  the  Senatobia Main  Street  walk with  the  best of  them.


Main Street Hero (6 of 10)

Winner: Dawn Edwards (nominated by Hernando Main Street Chamber)

Director: Jesse Dement

Accepting: Dawn Edwards

The Hernando  Main  Street Chamber  of  Commerce is  very  grateful to  have  Dawn Edwards  involved  in  the Hernando  community.  Dawn has  lived  in the  Historic  District for  28  years and  has  been involved  with  Hernando Main  Street  for the  past  16 years.  Dawn  has served  as  a Board  member  for Hernando  Main  Street from  2002  to 2006  and  from 2013  to  2018. She  served  as President  in  2017 and  is  currently serving  as  Past-President.    In 2017, Dawn  went  above and  beyond  her duties  as  a Board  President.  In 2017  alone,  she volunteered  a  minimum of  75  hours at  Hernando  Main  Street  sponsored events.  For  the annual  Water  Tower Festival,  Dawn  was found  volunteering  at 7:00am  with  Arts &  Crafts  check-in and  didn’t  leave until  12:00am  when the  last  band finished  packing  up. Dawn  has  also been  the  Silent Auction  Chair  for Taste  of  Hernando for  six  years, and she is  known  for decorating  Hernando  for Christmas  for  the past  10  years.




Outstanding Rehabilitation Project– This award is granted to an individual or business that has completed an outstanding historic rehabilitation project that continues the use of the building.

Winner: Starkville Main Street - Starkville Police Department

Director: Jennifer Prather
Accepting: Chief Frank Nichols

The 1940  Art  Moderne Starkville  Armory  was built  for  the local  unit  that was called  to  active duty  before  building completion.  It  was adapted  for  City Hall,  Municipal  Court and  the  Police Department.  Over  60 years, these  functions  outgrew the  building,  as the  interior  was remodeled,  reacting  to current,  pressing  needs. In  2015,  the City focused  on  the Police  Department needs and  made the significant choice to  rehabilitate  this local  historic landmark rather than build a new building outside the downtown area. The  Armory rehabilitation  restored  the original  proscenium  and stage.  Original  house lights  were  rehung, and doors  and  windows were  restored.  

The barrel-vault  roof  structure was  uncovered  and heavy  timber  construction exposed  and  restored. The  City  of Starkville  re-investment  in the  Armory  was $4,478,000.  The  dedication of  the  City of  Starkville,  Starkville Police  Department  and their  design  team Shafer,  Zahner  and Zahner  to  restore this  building  as a  landmark  with modern  functionality and  provides public  use  for another  generation.


Outstanding Public Improvement Project (1 of 2)– This award is given to the municipality or Main Street program that has designed and implemented attractive and sympathetic improvements for its district.

Winner: Picayune Main Street – Crosby Commons

Director: Reba Beebe

Accepting: Jim Luke

The  Crosby Commons  Project  was nearly  5  years in  the  making, involving  a  host of  partnerships  including City  Officials,  local organizations,  regional  foundations, and  many  others. It is  a  5-acre, fenced-in  community  green space located  on  Goodyear Boulevard  in  Historic Downtown  Picayune. A  1/3-mile paved  walking  track, benches  and  tables, historic  markers,  flowerbeds, trees  and  shrubbery, a  2,430  sq.  ft.  amphitheater (with  restrooms  and changing  rooms),  sound systems  and  speakers throughout  the  park, and  lighting  around the  track  for nighttime  use and utility  hook-ups for  mobile  vendors are  featured  amenities. Citizens  and visitors  enjoy  the park  for  exercise and  relaxation  and the  park  has been  used  by  hundreds  for larger  venues. Funding  came mainly  through  donations, foundation  grants  and donated  labor.  The park  offers  local citizens  and  visitors expanded  opportunities  for fitness,  healthy  recreation and  a  safe, secure  area  for community  building.


Outstanding Public Improvement (2 of 2)

Winner: Starkville Main Street - Russell Street Corridor - Entrance to Downtown Starkville

Director: Jennifer Prather

Accepting: Michelle Jones 

A  2011 ARC-MMSA  Charrette  for Starkville  Main  Street encouraged  growth  of the  Downtown  District toward  the  Cotton District  and  MSU, recommending  infrastructure  improvements, creating  connections  and establishing  a  strong Downtown  entrance.  The City  of  Starkville embraced  the  Russell  Street Plan  and  Neel Schaffer  developed  incremental plans  to  transform the  corridor.    In 2015,  MSU  received MDOT  funding  using FHWA’s  Transportation  Alternatives Program  to  improve the  Plan  with bike  paths  and enhanced  pedestrian  connectivity. MDOT  addressed  safety issues  at  Russell Street  and  Highway 12  including  connectivity to  a  pedestrian bridge  on  University Drive  that  created an  entrance  to Downtown  and  connected the  District  and MSU.  The  Russell Street  Boulevard  opened the  2017  MSU Football  season,  enticing townspeople  to  walk toward  the  campus and  alumni  and visitors  to  walk downtown.  This  Plan involved  federal,  state, and  local  partners contributing  $2.7  million, encouraging  private  investment of  $69  million, and embodies  what making  connections  within a  Downtown  can mean.


Outstanding Visual Merchandising– This award recognizes excellence in visual merchandising in a retail business in a Main Street district.

Winner: Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association – The Lucky Rabbit

Director: Andrea Saffle

Accepting: Abbey & Brandon Thaxton

The Lucky  Rabbit  is a  once-a-month  variety shop,  specializing  in vintage  items,  upcycled and  handmade  goods, gifts,  home  decor and  Hattiesburg  related merchandise.  By  having a  once-a-month  strategy on  an  otherwise low  traffic  street in  the  downtown area,  the  Lucky Rabbit  is  able to  bring  close to  10,000  people to  Hattiesburg  in four  days.  Abby and  Brandon  Thaxton strive  each month  to  bring a  new  visual and  interactive  experience. They  focus  on a  different  visual theme,  where  the front  window  display, front  main  display, online  promotion,  booth themes,  and  t-shirt designs  all  correspond. 

Each theme  is  carried out  down  to the  last  detail, but  the  store  seems  to reinvent  itself  again the  next  month. The  displays  have featured  sand,  dirt, 20'  Christmas  trees, bikes  and  umbrellas hanging  from  the rafters,  old  trucks, and  anything  else imaginable  to  make The  Lucky  Rabbit not  just  a store,  but  a retail shopping destination and  experience. 


Outstanding New Development- Granted to an individual or business that has undertaken a new development project within a downtown district.  
Winner: Pascagoula Main Street - Brady's Steak and Seafood

Director: Rebecca Davis

Accepting: Steven Brady & Chad Brady

Brothers  Steven and  Chad  Brady have  a  thriving Lenny’s  sub  shop in  Pascagoula  but have  now  ventured into  the  full-scale restaurant  market.  Brady’s Steak  and  Seafood has  opened  its doors,  nestled  into a  part  of the  City  that is  near  Round Island  Lighthouse  and Lighthouse  Park,  along the  banks  of the  Pascagoula  River and only walking distance from the downtown district.  The  restaurant is  built  12 feet  off  the ground  with  a spectacular  view.  Brady’s is  accessible  by boat,  kayak,  and vehicle  and  serves grilled  and  fried seafood  and  the best  Pascagoula  Prime Steak  you  can find.  The  restaurant has  a  meeting room  that  seats up  to  20 people,  a  bar area,  outside  seating, and  an  amazing river  view  experience. The  Brady  brothers’ total  investment  in  the  restaurant is  $1.7  million and  employs  more than  30  people. Pascagoula  is  fortunate to  have  the Brady’s  invest  their money,  time,  and talent  into  the community.


Main Street Hero (7 of 10)

Winner: Becky Nowell (nominated by Team Cleveland Main Street)

Director: Aimee Taylor

Accepting: Becky Nowell

When  it comes  to  service to  Cleveland,  Becky Nowell  has  made her  mark!    In addition  to  serving as  Cleveland’s  first lady,  Becky  serves on  many  boards including:  Team  Cleveland, Chamber,  GRAMMY  Museum MS  President,  Crosstie Arts  Council,  and many  more.    In 2017  Becky’s  best friend  Lucy  Janoush passed  away.  As a  tribute  to Lucy’s  love  of Christmas,  Becky  put together  a  committee and  set  out to  raise  money to  purchase  holiday decorations  to  display downtown.  In  a few  months,  Becky raised  over  $250,000. In  fact,  not a  single  business told  Becky  no! Becky’s  idea  for adding  new  lights to  downtown  Cleveland blossomed  into  an event  called  50 Nights  of  Lights. As  a  result of  Becky’s  hard work,  thousands  of visitors  streamed  into Cleveland  over  the holidays,  providing  a huge  economic  boost for  our  local merchants.  


Main Street Hero (8 of 10)

Winner: Bob Luke (nominated by Meridian Main Street)

Director: Debby Delshad

Accepting: Bob Luke

Bob  Luke is  impressive  in mind,  body  and  spirit. An accomplished architect and community leader, Bob Luke has over 30 years of professional experience. A native of Philadelphia, Mississippi, Bob has operated his practice in Meridian, Mississippi, since 1987. He is currently the managing principal of the Meridian office, with offices in Columbus, Mississippi, and Topeka, Kansas. As a principal of the firm, he is responsible for project management and execution of major projects.

 His  architectural talents  are  not limited  to  Meridian but  have  been demonstrated  throughout  the state  and  beyond.   Any  project  that he  decides  to support  will  be a  successful  project because  he  fully engages,  commits  and sacrifices  to  ensure everything  is  finished with  complete  satisfaction for  all  involved. Bob’s  talent  is undeniable.    His  community leadership  cannot  be matched.    He’s  an architect  by  choice but  to  Meridian Main  Street,  Mississippi Main  Street  and anyone  lucky  enough to  know  him, he’s  the  definition of  a  hero.   




Outstanding Adaptive Reuse Project– This award is granted to the best adaptive reuse of a building that has outlived its former use.

Winner: Laurel Main Street – The Burton's Building

Director: Judi Holifield

Accepting: Josh Nowell

Laurel Main  Street  Executive Director,  Judi  Holifield, used  to  say that  rehabilitating  the Burton’s  building  would be  the  ultimate domino  effect;  all of  the  other buildings  along  Magnolia  Street would  be  sold if  only  that one  could  be. Josh  Nowell  bought the  building  and breathed  new  life into  it.  The historic  character  of the  building  was preserved,  including  the vintage  sign,  while new  businesses  were  allowed to  make  their own  mark  on it.  It  is currently  full  with two  retail  stores, a  coworking  space, and the offices  for  an engineering  firm,  and a  restaurant.  The best  part  is that  Judi  Holifield was  right,  and  Magnolia Street  is  now filled  with  businesses. 


Outstanding Economic Impact– granted to an individual, business or municipality (or partnership of entities) that has undertaken a new development project within a downtown district.

Winner: Vicksburg Main Street - Cottonwood Public House

Director: Kim Hopkins

Accepting: Tim Cantwell

One  of  downtown Vicksburg’s  newest  additions to  the  growing restaurant  and  bar scene  is Cottonwood  Public House.  This  brewpub located  in  the heart  of  downtown Vicksburg  serves  craft ingredients  to  customers in  a  casual environment.  Cottonwood Public House serves  up  a mixture  of  locally brewed  beer,  craft pizza,  and  casual dining  while  also providing  residents  of downtown  a  place to  feel  a sense  of  community. 
The  name “Public  House”  was included  in  the name  because  that is  what  owner Tim  Cantwell  intends this  place  to be.    
Both  tourists  and locals  are making  their way  to  this local  spot, and this  business has  created  15 full  time  jobs. The  sense  of  community and local  atmosphere  has made this place  easily  become a favorite “go to” for  locals  and tourists  alike.  This is  exactly  what Cottonwood  Public House  was  intended and  designed  to provide.

Outstanding New Business– granted to a new business in a downtown district that contributes to excellence in downtown revitalization. 

Winner: Columbus Main Street - The Steel Forest Furniture Company

Director: Barbara Bigelow

Accepting: Chip and Maureen Gerber

The  Steel  Forest Furniture  Company,  owned by  Chip  & Maureen  Gerber,  made its  home  in historic  downtown  Columbus in  September  of 2016,  joining  Columbus Main  Street  even before  its  opening date.    Their  new and  extended  location, on  5th  Street South,  opened  just in  time  for Wassail  Fest  in December  of  2017. With  over  triple the  amount  of display  space,  it immediately  became  quite a  showplace.  Chip has  also  been very  community-friendly,  donating two  fabulous  custom steel  benches  in downtown  Columbus,  each boasting  the  Columbus Main  Street  logo. Steel  Forest  Furniture Co.  was  featured in  Log  Home Living  Magazine  in March  of  2018, bringing  further  recognition to  the  downtown Columbus  area.  When the  Columbus  Police Department  needed  a donation  for  a statewide  gathering,  Steel Forest  was  quick to  provide  a beautiful  steel  flag with  a  blue line,  signifying  a commitment  to  protect. This outstanding new business is always  ready  to assist  the Columbus  community!


Outstanding Community Transformation (1 of 2)– This is an overall award that goes to a Main Street program that has achieved a successful, preservation-based downtown revival.

Winner (Medium Size town): Laurel Main Street

Director: Judi Holifield

Accepting: Lew Yoder

How  do you  bring  a town  back?  It’s a  question  that has  no  easy answers,  and  the  answers  that are  given  usually require  years  and more  work  than one  might  ever imagine.  However,  for Downtown  Laurel,  there is  no  question that  the  town has  been  revived in  a  powerful way.  A  stream of  dedicated  volunteers has  made  possible a  vibrant  town full  of  creative and  passionate  people. Over  a  dozen new  businesses  have opened  in  the past  two  years, and  more  are on  the  way; vacant  buildings  are now  the  exception rather  than  the rule.  LMS  is at  the  center of  a  web of  transformation,  where local  business  doesn’t just  survive;  it thrives.   


Outstanding Community Transformation (2 of 2)

Winner (Small Town): Water Valley Main Street Association

Director: Mickey Howley

Accepting: Jeff Bynum

Water Valley’s cumulative economic numbers for the last decade as a Main Street program are strong. For a town of 3,500 ….90 new jobs, 27 new businesses, and 35 buildings renovated, along with $10 million in private investment.... have changed the trajectory of the town. The result is a dramatic positive transformation. And the effort has been noticed; The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, US News and World Report, Food&Wine, Die Zeit, Preservation Magazine, Oprah, Southern Living and others have all written about the comeback. This preservation-driven transformation is seen in the physical rehabilitation of Main Street’s structures. But more than the buildings being fixed, there are people back in them. Downtown is once again the center of economic and social life. The true transformation is in the attitude on Main Street. That this place matters again. That this small-town in Mississippi can once again be a good place to live in and not a place to leave behind. That is the Valley now. 


Main Street Hero (9 of 10)

Winner: Doug Pellum (nominated by Columbus Main Street)

Director: Barbara Bigelow

Accepting: Doug Pellum

It  is often  stated  that random  acts  of kindness  have  a way  of  changing the  world,  and the  staff  of Main  Street  Columbus have  been  privileged with  seeing  this change  first  hand.   Doug  Pellum of Zachary's  Restaurant and  his  staff in  downtown  Columbus are  a  perfect example  of  genuine support,  kindheartedness  and positivity. Every  facet  of Zachary's  presence  is based  on  building relationships and  giving  back  with  delicious  food, donations,  or  fundraisers.    Doug wanted  charity  and generosity  to  be a  major  component of  the  restaurant's culture.  His  fundraising efforts  have  drawn hundreds  of  people to  downtown  Columbus, and  he  is always  very  supportive of  every  Main Street  event.  Doug and  his  Zachary’s crew  are  willing to  step  up and  do  whatever is  needed  to ensure  that  the great  city  of Columbus  is  a better  place  for all  of  us to  live.


Main Street Hero (10 of 10)
Winner: Mayor Dane Maxwell (nominated by Pascagoula Main Street)

Director: Rebecca Davis

Accepting: Mayor Maxwell - Leadership  involves establishing  a  clear vision,  sharing  that vision  with  others so  they  willingly follow,  providing information,  knowledge,  and methods  to  realize that  vision,  coordinating, and balancing  the  conflicting interest  of  all members/stakeholders.  This  definition sums  up  Pascagoula’s Mayor,  Dane  Maxwell.  Leadership  is running  through his  veins.  He knows  what  a true  visionary  is, understands  the  big picture,  networks  easily, always  sells  the vision,  knows  people are  key,  listens to  advisers,  leads with  a common  sense approach,  and  people respond  with  remarkable results!  First  on Mayor Maxwell’s  agenda  was forming  a  partnership with  Main  Street to  move  Pascagoula forward.    Ask  him why and  he says,  “It’s simple;  you  guys already  have  the wheelhouse  and  the expertise  to  get the  job  done.  It’s  a no  brainer.”  Pascagoula Main Street  is blessed  to  have Mayor  Dane  Maxwell, a  passionate  leader, always  busy  making a  difference  ALL DAY, EVERYDAY  to  move Pascagoula  forward.


Main Street Trailblazer Award in memory of Paul Coggin
Due to the commitment, time and enthusiasm that Paul Coggin brought to the Mississippi Main Street Association, a special award was established in his honor, given to an outstanding local board member or volunteer who has been active in a downtown organization for a significant period of time, and who has contributed energy and dedication to downtown revitalization.

Winner: Dr. David L. Beckley (nominated by Holly Springs Main Street Chamber)

Director: Christy Owens

Accepting: Dr. Beckley

Dr.  David L.  Beckley  is the  current  President of  Rust  College in  Holly  Springs.   He  is  the longest  tenured  senior college  President  in Mississippi  and  is the  11th  President of  this  Historic Black  College.    He graduated  from  Rust College  in  1967 and holds  a  bachelor’s Degree, M.Ed.  and  Ph.D. in  Higher  Education from  the  University of  Mississippi. He is also a  2010 graduate  of  the FBI  Citizen’s  Academy.  In  2007,  under Dr. Beckley’s  direction,  Rust College  began  the process  of  bringing Main  Street  to Holly  Springs.    Rust College  was the  financial  contributing partner  for  Holly Spring Main Street’s first three  years.   Dr.  Beckley  saw the  benefits  of becoming  a  Main Street  Program  and has  served  on the  Board  of Directors,  including  2 terms  as  President, from 2010-2017.    

Dr.  Beckley has  given  of  his  time, including  the  use of  his  home for  Main  Street Chamber  events  and sponsoring   monthly  Board meeting  breakfasts during  his tenure  as  President. More  importantly,  he has brought community  leaders and  members  on board  through leading by example  and cultivating  the  relationships required  to  ensure the  success  of  Holly  Springs Main  Street.   Dr. Beckley’s  dedication,  enthusiasm and  commitment  to Main  Street  and Holly  Springs  for the  past  20 years  is  a true  representation  of  his  character and  makes  him an  excellent  recipient for  the  Main Street  Trailblazer  Award. 


Merchant of the YearThis award recognizes one outstanding local business owner who has a flourishing and innovative business and displayed an involved commitment to downtown and his or her Main Street program.

Winner: Lott Furniture Company (nominated by Laurel Main Street)

Director: Judi Holifield

Accepting: Rodney Rowell

Lott  Furniture Co.  is  Laurel’s oldest  business.  They have  over  a century  of  history in  our  small town  and  a plan  to  stick around  another  hundred years.  Rodney  Rowell and  his  wife Angie  believe  that their  business  is more  than  just a  means  to an  end;  they believe  that  it is  a  resource for  them  to put  down  roots and  live  in a  community  of people  united  toward a  common  goal. The  business  is most  certainly  a family  affair.  Rodney’s mother  worked  there for  over  50 years,  and  he and  Angie  met at  Lott  when she  started  working there  as  well. The  Lott  team has  taken  Mr. Lott’s  original  business model  and  adapted it  for  young people  who  are moving  to  Laurel, and  they  are dedicated  to  being tireless  advocates  for their  town.  Laurel Main Street  hopes we  never  have to  know  a Downtown  Laurel  without Lott  Furniture!


Outstanding Main Street Director of the Year & Charles Beasley Scholarship AwardCharlie Beasley was one of the founding members of MMSA and served on the Board and in various officer positions, including President. He was Board Member Emeritus at the time of his passing in 2007 and had served Main Street since its inception in 1989. This award is a $1,500 scholarship to attend the National Main Streets Conference, given to a Main Street Director who has shown outstanding service to his or her community and Main Street program. The scholarship is awarded annually, and the MMSA Staff and Board select the recipient.


2018 Winner: Kay Miller, Biloxi Main Street

Biloxi Main Street has been a MS Main Street community since 1991. Kay Miller has led the Biloxi Main Street organization for the past 15 years. Kay is the Downtown Services Manager and Main Street Director for the City of Biloxi. A seasoned Main Street Director, Kay has overseen Biloxi Main Street through the most challenging period of Biloxi's history - through Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, the economic downturn and the BP oil spill.  Some of Kay’s accomplishments include saving and restoring the 108-year-old Bond-Grant House; the implementation of the downtown façade and landscaping grant project; the incubation of Gallery 782 (a 40-artist co-op), the creation of Grillin’ On The Green festival, and the downtown Farmers Market Festival series. 


Kay is a 2014 recipient of an Excellence in Main Street Scholarship from the Mississippi Main Street Association. Kay has served as a Past Director’s Representative on the MMSA Board of Directors and is a frequent presenter at Main Street conferences where she helps teach and guide newer directors in successful practices in downtown revitalization and community events and projects. Kay was recently featured in Mississippi Magazine’s “Talk of the Town” for her work with Biloxi Main Street. Kay is dedicated to ensuring a prosperous Biloxi. Her role in economic development centers around building relationships within the community and through preserving, revitalizing and promoting growth within the downtown Biloxi area. This includes identifying and drawing in businesses that benefit the commercial needs of the community as well as attracting residents and tourists. From boutique clothing and specialty shops to signature restaurants and art galleries, Kay makes sure there is something to suit every taste.


One of Kay’s favorite events is Biloxi Main Street’s Volunteer Celebration that is hosted every year in April. It is a way for Kay to thank the many volunteers who serve each year with Biloxi Main Street. Kay has lived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast for nearly 30 years. She’s raised two children and dedicated much of her time to promoting Biloxi as a beautiful place to live, work and visit. Congratulations, Kay, on being named the Outstanding Main Street Director of the Year!






View photos of 2017 Annual Awards Meeting.



Outstanding Community Education Campaign – This award recognizes excellence in a targeted campaign that educates the community about a streamlined effort to raise awareness on a particular aspect of a Main Street program.

Winner: Pontotoc County Chamber Main Street – Bicycle Sculpture Project
Director: Ellen Russell   
Accepting: Dr. Lee Waltress

The Bicycle Sculpture Project began in July 2015 as a community campaign to produce sculptures of taste that related to our community and the growing awareness of being a healthy community by welcoming bicycles as a form of art. The newly formed Pontotoc Artist Guild set the plan in motion to create the whimsical, colorful, and interesting pieces.  Selling the acceptance of bicycles in our communities became a major task. The Artist Guild wanted to help promote a healthy climate in our communities as well as the use for the trail. Helping educate our citizens on the effects of being healthy and using the trail, as well as added an artistic flavor to our community has given a spark to the Main Street district.  The attractive art pieces have been a catalyst for other additions, including Mini Libraries on the Trail and bird watching spots. 


Outstanding Creative Fundraiser – This award is granted to the downtown organization that has displayed the most creativity and success in securing funds for its downtown program or specific project.

Winner: West Point Main Street – West Point Pickers
Director and Accepting: Lisa Klutts

One city's trash is another person's sentimental treasure. So, West Point Pickers was created. Instead of throwing away old street signs or infinitely storing retired Christmas decorations, West Point Main Street coordinated a fundraiser to sell the surplus items and raise money for future downtown projects. Residents and collectors bid on popular street signs, purchased old Prairie Arts Festival posters, and revived Christmas decorations that hung on street poles they remembered as a kid. A live auction entertained the buyers as well as motivated them to give more to their community. Partnering with local businesses to sample Mississippi craft beer and taste local fare, attendees left nostalgic of the past and excited about the future projects in downtown West Point.


Outstanding Marketing – This award recognizes excellence in overall marketing by a downtown organization through its integrated communications efforts, including traditional and digital marketing.

Winner: Ocean Springs Main Street
Director and Accepting: Cynthia Dobbs Sutton and Shawn Sutton

Ocean Springs Main Street brands itself as a creative community with a walkable downtown, numerous festivals, and hundreds of shops, restaurants and galleries that showcase the attributes of this coastal, artsy community. Through the organization’s marketing collateral, Ocean Springs Main Street, Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau tell the story of one of the oldest towns on the Gulf Coast. The collateral includes a comprehensive town tourism guide, downtown walking map, website and social media outlets - all proven successful to bring in nearly 500,000 visitors to the small town with a population of 17,500 and obtain numerous town awards and mentions including “One of the Top 10 Coolest Small Towns” by Budget Travel, “One of the South’s Best Small Towns” by Southern Living Magazine and “One of 7 Waterfront Towns Worth a Closer Look” by CNN.


Premier Partner – recognizes creative joint ventures between the Main Street organization and another local, community entity or entities (public or private). 

Winner: Team Cleveland Main Street – Wired for Sound
Director: Lisa Cooley
Accepting: Tricia Walker

When people come to the delta, they expect to hear live music. Unfortunately, regular live music is often hard to come by in Cleveland. On the flip side, the Delta Music Institute at Delta State University has an abundance of musical talent who are looking for venues in which to perform. In the fall of 2016, representatives from the DMI, Team Cleveland Main Street, and Keep Cleveland Boring came up with an idea to partner and kill two birds with one stone.

The group developed an initiative called Wired for Sound, which put DMI student musicians in local restaurants 2-3 nights a week for 10 weeks. Using money raised during their restaurant week promotion in January, Keep Cleveland Boring and Team Cleveland Main Street were able to pay for half the cost of live music. For only $25 a night, local restaurants were able to have weekly live music.


(1 of 2) Outstanding Creative Event – This award recognizes the downtown organization that has created a quality creative event, generating traffic for the downtown.

Winner: Main Street Clinton – Home Grown: A Farm to Table Dinner
Director: Tara Lytal

Accepting: Marsha Barham

Home Grown: A Farm to Table Dinner was held on the quaint brick streets of Olde Towne as a kickoff to the Fresh at Five Farmers Market season. Home Grown featured crops from local growers in delicious, creative dishes by Clinton chefs. The first-time event raised over $4,000 for the program and gave great exposure to local chefs and the farmers market. The menu was crafted to highlight the flavor and versatility of fresh produce and showcase each chef’s specialty. Home Grown was held underneath a tent strung with lights, an abundance of greenery and produce for décor, and a vintage truck for added flair. Live music continued through the night as attendees enjoyed this three-course meal in the heart of the community. Home Grown was sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi, a local partner with a commitment to supporting local growers and healthy eating habits.


(2 of 2) Outstanding Creative Event

Winner: Starkville Main Street – Night Market
Director and Accepting: Jennifer Prather

Under festive lights with local musicians providing a live soundtrack, the inaugural Starkville Night Market combined urban street vibes and county fair charm. The first 2016 New South Weekends event made the weekend complete for tourists and residents, featuring the best of Starkville’s creative economy in the heart of Main Street. Chefs offered culinary bites with specialty cocktails, and local artists, retailers and vendors offered an extensive range of art, fashion, décor, gifts and food. Night Market created an economic impact driving commerce to local merchants, resulting in increased sales tax collections and provided new artists and merchants a venue to introduce themselves. The event offered a glimpse into the Main Street nightlife, seeing attendees furthering their dining experience at nearby restaurants. New South Weekends celebrates the vibrant and thriving creative culture in Starkville. The Night Market was a perfect venue to showcase that culture to the world.


Outstanding Image Promotion – This award recognizes the downtown organization or business that has developed an effective public relations piece or specific promotional campaign.

Winner: Team Cleveland Main Street – Team Cleveland Branding
Director and Accepting: Lisa Cooley

Following the master planning charrette that was hosted by Mississippi Main Street, Team Cleveland Main Street began work on a branding campaign that encouraged shopping local. The plan included adding banners downtown and on streets that connect Hwy 61 and DSU to downtown. In total, 68 banners have been installed. Additionally, the Team Cleveland design committee and Cleveland Heritage Commission worked with MDOT for nearly 3 years to install a system of wayfinding and public parking signs in Cleveland. The signs direct passersby off the busy highways and toward our downtown area. Also, the Team Cleveland organization committee developed a ‘Shopping & Dining Guide’ that provides a description of every downtown retailer. More than 10,000 guides have been provided to visitors so far. In total, Team Cleveland has spent $63,440.45 in privately raised money on this project. Not $1 of City funding has been provided for this endeavor.


Outstanding Image Promotion – Honorable Mention

Winner: Main Street Columbus - Downtown Window Cling Promotion
Director and accepting: Barbara Bigelow

Downtown Columbus has a distinctive sense of historic character that displays the community’s rich heritage. Staying true to its history, Columbus

Main Street wanted to ensure that one did not forget about its cultural diversity as well. To unify history, diversity, and beautification, our design committee found a way to branch these three key foundations together that would brand Columbus Main Street and also provide eye-catching designs and details to our downtown businesses. Our design committee added customized window clings that would hang from the display windows of downtown buildings. The locals of Columbus believe that our cultural diversity is the strength and heartbeat of our small town and what keeps us grounded and close. Columbus’ diverse composition makes us the unique gems that we are, and the downtown window promotion puts that on display.


Outstanding Retail Promotion – This award honors the downtown organization that has developed an effective retail promotion(s) in conjunction with downtown merchants.

Winner: Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association – Shop Small Saturday
Director: Andrea Saffle
Accepting: Rosie Knop

In an effort to promote local holiday shopping among downtown merchants, Rosie Knop, owner of Playpen Kids & Maternity store, volunteered to be the American Express Neighborhood Champion in partnership with Hattiesburg Downtown Association, in order to organize and initiate the Shop Small Saturday holiday shopping weekend event.  Rosie Knop along with HHDA social media manager, Keenon Walker, ordered and distributed promotional materials to all merchants, including doormats, canvas shopping bags, stickers, balloons, pins, paper crowns, as well as other Shop Small logo items. Each merchant was also given a small tutorial on how to create free online ads for their websites and business Facebook pages. Keenon created a successful social media, print, and newsletter campaign to promote the event. Playpen Kids & Maternity created a map with each merchant that continues to be updated and given out to customers in various locations in downtown. Additionally, the merchants joined forces to do a downtown wide scavenger hunt.



Outstanding Rehabilitation Project – This award is granted to an individual or business that has completed an outstanding historic rehabilitation project that continues the use of the building.

Winner: Belinda Stewart Architects – Mantee Depot
Accepting: Belinda Stewart

The restoration and re-location of the Historic Mantee Depot has been a catalyst to boost development and restoration in this small town of less than 250 people. The depot was relocated close to its original location after sitting on private property for many years. The exterior non-original asbestos and Masonite siding was removed and the original board siding was restored. A new roof was installed along with new wood windows and original freight doors. The ticket area was rebuilt using new and old studs, the freight room was realigned, and ADA access was provided. The City has found new use for the Depot as a Community Room, City Hall offices and a Museum. Resurrecting the landmark, Mantee Depot has provided a platform for “new things to start happening” as the tiny little town of Mantee looks forward to tomorrow’s growth.


Outstanding Visual Merchandising – This award recognizes excellence in visual merchandising in a retail business in a Main Street district.

Winner: Team Cleveland Main Street – H Squared

Director: Lisa Cooley

Accepting: Eric Kelly

In 2012, Haley Kelly opened H Squared Ladies Wear in downtown Cleveland. At just 23, she opened her original 2,200 square foot location. Last November,

Haley moved into a historic 6,400 square foot building, which formerly housed Kamien’s department store. By moving into the larger space, Haley was able to once again provide a department store in Cleveland. The added room allowed her to triple the size of her inventory while also adding shoes, gifts, and cosmetics.

To make the much-needed improvements to her new building, Haley and her handy husband Eric worked with Mississippi Main Street for design services.

Eric and his crew renovated the building, which included a total overhaul due to termite and water damage. H Squared now features whitewashed hardwood floors, chandeliers everywhere, marble countertops, and unique furnishings to provide a big city feel in downtown Cleveland. H Squared also features a pink MG convertible that helps to display merchandise.


Outstanding Public Improvement Project – This award is given to the municipality or Main Street program that has designed and implemented attractive and sympathetic improvements for its district.

Winner: Pontotoc County Chamber/Main Street– 1st Choice Bank Gateway on the Trail
Director: Ellen Russell
Accepting: Mayor Jeff Stafford

In order to develop the Gateway project, a partnership of public and private funds was very necessary.  The City owns 10 acres of land connected to the Tanglefoot Trail that goes through the downtown area. Mayor Stafford took the plans to establish a gateway on the trail that would serve as an attractive place to rest, start exercising, and functional stopping area. Working in conjunction with the administration of the Trail, local architect, and private donors, the plans were set in motion. 

In February of 2016, local investors: 1st Choice Bank, Southern Motion, Archives and History, a private donor, and city employees broke ground on the project.  Six months later a grand opening was planned for the 1st Choice Bank Gateway. 

This project is an ongoing one that has visitors, downtown merchants and customers singing the praises of the Trail. Improvements are still being made, such as the addition of a fountain added to the water feature paid for by a private donor.



Outstanding Adaptive Reuse Project – This award is granted to the best adaptive reuse of a building that has outlived its former use.

Winner: Laurel Main Street – Slowboat Brewing Company
Director: Judi Holifield
Accepting: Kenny and Carrie Mann

In 2013, the old Laurel WAML radio station photos were displayed at a MMSA meeting on design. A re-use project idea for this building stumped the panel and we were all pretty confident that in reality the best option was demolition.

Then came not only the idea of a microbrewery in downtown Laurel, but also the creative vision of Kenny and Carrie Mann. The large, ugly building underwent months of repairs. The paint was applied and Slowboat Brewing Company was born! The conversion of this property has allowed a new business to become a thriving success and a welcome addition for places to go and things to do in downtown Laurel.


Outstanding Economic Impact – granted to an individual, business or municipality (or partnership of entities) that has undertaken a new development project within a downtown district.

Winner: Kosciusko Main Street – Pop Up Flea Market
Director: G.G. Holmes
Accepting: Mayor Jimmy Cockcroft

Bargains galore and community rapport happens the first Saturday of the month in downtown Kosciusko in a city owned parking lot. Pickers and sellers come together for one big yard sale to barter and banter over one of a kind items. This event started in August 2016 with 15 vendors and slowly continued to grow through November, took a break and resumed in March 2017 with 30 vendors and shoppers waiting for 7 AM to view the merchandise. Our downtown merchants have even gotten into this event by placing sale racks and tables in front of their stores. This event actually morphed into Picking 35, a 50-mile yard sale in conjunction with Attala and Leake counties that took place in April 2017.

(1 of 2) Outstanding New Business – granted to a new business in a downtown district that contributes to excellence in downtown revitalization.

Winner: Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association – Porter Public House
Director: Andrea Saffle
Accepting: Roy Windham

Inspired by the pub atmosphere in Nashville, Roy Windham, owner/operator of the Porter Public House, wanted to bring that experience to downtown Hattiesburg. He wanted to create a space that was truly an extension of the downtown community and where people felt at home.  In an effort to build interaction and engagement between its patrons and the community, the Porter hosts regular events hosted by local organizations like Extra Table, The Spectrum Center, and Pine Belt Young Professionals. They also host regular events like Trivia Tuesday, monthly beer-pairing dinners, and stand-up comedy nights. Roy’s desire to be an active participant in revitalizing downtown has manifested itself in a renewal of nightlife energy.  Since the Porter's opening, more businesses have sought to open in downtown, such as the Black Sheep’s Cafe & Speakeasy and the Blue Jazz Cafe. Roy plans to combine efforts with more businesses downtown and make Downtown Hattiesburg a real travel destination.

(2 of 2) Outstanding New Business

Winner: Downtown Tupelo Main Street – Thirsty Devil
Director: Debbie Brangenberg
Accepting: Matt Peay and Seth Renick

The Thirsty Devil has changed the energy of downtown Tupelo. Seth Renick and Matt Peay, a former welder and biological science technician, noticed the lack in nightlife and decided to take matters into their own hands. In October 2016, Seth and Matt arrived on the scene with an entrepreneurial ferocity, delicious eats and mean drinks to share with an impatient, hungry audience. The Thirsty Devil has been a catalyst for nightlife ever since, changing the pace of downtown “after hours” since its opening.

During lunch hours, two couches take over the stage, making it a great hangout spot. At night, those couches are moved outside to the sidewalk to make room for bands to play, creating an organic Placemaking area in downtown Tupelo. The Thirsty Devil maintains a close friendship with Tupelo Main Street program by eagerly involving their business whenever and wherever help is needed. The Thirsty Devil has made a large impact in its short time in downtown Tupelo.


“Innovation on Main Street” Award – The National Innovation Award recognizes Main Street America programs for successful, sustainable initiatives that represent new approaches to an existing downtown revitalization challenge or opportunity. Awards were announced as part of the Main Street Now Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on May 3, 2017.

Winner: Gulfport Main Street
Director and Accepting: Laurie Toups

The Fishbone Alley “Urban Living Room” project in an inspiring example of the power of Main Street to transform downtowns and rally communities. Gulfport Main Street Association helped to turn an underused, unattractive alley right in the middle of the downtown district into a vibrant public space, featuring century-old brick pavers, public art, and enchanting lighting.

The grand opening in 2016 drew thousands of locals and visitors alike who wanted to experience the essence of this “urban living room” – a space unlike any other on the Gulf Coast or the state of Mississippi.  Only four Main Street programs received awards at the national conference that drew approximately 1,600 attendees representing 45 states and 1,600 Main Street programs.


(1 of 2) Outstanding Community Transformation – This is an overall award that goes to a Main Street program that has achieved a successful, preservation-based downtown revival.

Winner: Batesville Main Street Program – The City of Batesville
Director: Colleen Clark
Accepting: Teddy Morrow

The City of Batesville began an extensive streetscape project in downtown Batesville in 2015. The project took place over a two-year period and was carried out in two phases. Phase one included new LED lights, ADA compliant sidewalks and parking, new crosswalks and the addition of green space. During this phase, many existing utility lines were placed underground dramatically changing the look of the downtown area. Phase two included realignment of Eureka Street, the addition of ADA compliant sidewalks, reconfiguring parking areas, additional landscaped areas and raised crosswalk. This phase also included the transformation of a vacant corner lot into a usable public space.

The project has positively impacted the economic climate downtown and brought a renewed sense of community pride for the downtown area. The streetscape enhancements, along with downtown façade rehabilitations, a gateway pocket park and energy from new businesses have also contributed to the beautiful facelift of the historic Batesville Square.

(2 of 2) Outstanding Community Transformation

Winner: Downtown Tupelo Main Street – Elvis Presley Birthplace Trail
Director and Accepting: Debbie Brangenberg
Accepting: Commissioner Mike Tagert and Councilman Buddy Palmer

The Elvis Presley Birthplace Trail connects downtown Tupelo to East Tupelo and the Elvis Presley Birthplace. The $11.5 million-project was funded by the City of Tupelo’s Major Thoroughfare Program, and a $2.3 million transportation enhancement grant was awarded by the Mississippi Department of Transportation. The project took 11 years to complete and was finished in August of 2016. The trail connects two of Tupelo’s greatest historical landmarks—the Birthplace of Elvis Presley and Historic downtown Tupelo and improves traffic flow and efficiency as well as pedestrian comfort and safety. Enhancements included repaving and widening East Main Street to five lanes, synchronized traffic signal controls, street trees and green space, sidewalks with bricked pedestrian crosswalks, crossing signals, and decorative street lighting.

Another goal of The Elvis Presley Birthplace Trail is to enhance the commerce, community, and tourism experience of Main Street, as well as to promote the economic development projects that run along the route. The Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, the City of Tupelo, the Community Development Foundation, and the Mississippi Department of Transportation spent years of planning to make this project possible.

Main Street Excellence in Design – in memory of Sam Kaye - Sam was an architect and community leader who served MMSA as a staff member and design consultant from 1994 until his passing in 2013. As a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Sam’s involvement in historic preservation was nationally known and recognized.  The Sam Kaye Excellence in Design Award is given to the design professional(s) or firm that exhibits the spirit, compassion and talent of the man for whom the award is named.

Winner: Angela Clanton (nominated by the Batesville Main Street Program)

Angela Clanton joined the Batesville Main Street Design Committee in 2010. The owner of ILLUS Visual and Design Arts, Angela has volunteered countless hours to improving the appearance, functionality and safety of Batesville’s downtown area. Façade rehabilitations, an extensive streetscape project, Polar Express preparations, building signage and an improved entrance to the downtown are all areas that Angela has contributed her knowledge and talents to.

Angela has also served as a liaison to the City of Batesville in regards to public improvement projects in the downtown area. As a direct result of Angela’s design work and enthusiasm for downtown revitalization, the downtown has seen an increase in private and public investment. Her efforts have made downtown Batesville more inviting to visitors and residents.

(1 of 7) Main Street Hero – This award recognizes one outstanding community leader or public figure who has displayed an involved commitment to downtown and his or her Main Street program.

Winner: Sam Jaynes (nominated by Aberdeen Main Street)

A Mississippi Treasure is one description we use to promote our town, but within this town we have a hidden treasure in Mr. Sam Jaynes. Our treasure is a 90 year old that has a 70-year background in civil engineering, and like the Energizer Bunny, he keeps on giving. He has been a Main Street member since Aberdeen Main Street began in 1993.

With a grant from ARC, Aberdeen Main Street is renovating an old depot to be used as a cannery and education center. Most all of the help has been from inmate labor from the Monroe County Work Center, and Mr. Sam goes daily to oversee, instruct, and advise those working. Completion of this project will benefit our community for years to come and it would not have been possible without Mr. Sam!

Main Street Hero

Winner: “Mother Goose” (nominated by Main Street Columbus)

Edwina (EDWIN-a) Williams, who is known by all of the locals in Columbus, MS as “Mother Goose”, has portrayed this very character for over 30 years, and she is just as excited about it today as she was the first time she took on the role. Mother Goose faithfully reads to children at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library, and without reservation or hesitation, she appears and volunteers at every event and activity held in the downtown Columbus community. Edwina Williams is an extraordinary woman and a pillar within our community and is easily the city’s most recognizable citizen and a key asset to Columbus.

Main Street Hero

Winner: Jeff Baldock (nominated by Main Street Pascagoula)

Jeff Baldock isn’t a community leader or a public figure but what he has been doing since his retirement makes him a Main Street Hero. In 2014, Jeff retired from First Chemical in Pascagoula where he had worked 29+ years.  Jeff considers himself an amateur photographer.  He had taken some pictures of local downtowns and received great feedback on Facebook.  He took to the road to take pictures of Main Street downtowns all across the state of Mississippi.

Jeff has photographed almost 75 percent of Mississippi’s downtowns and is working towards completing the rest in the near future.  Most of Jeff’s work is at nighttime when there is stillness and no one in site so he can catch the beauty of the downtown. If Jeff hasn’t been to your downtown, you can bet that he will be soon. Jeff does all of our downtowns proud!


Main Street Hero

Winner: Miriam Clark (nominated by Pontotoc Chamber Main Street)

Dr. Miriam Clark is an outstanding community leader who has been one of the Best Cheerleaders for our downtown Main Street Program since Pontotoc Main Street’s start in 2007.  After retirement, Dr. Clark has been working on her second career in retail sales.  A very creative and energetic individual in the Antique Business with three other ladies, Dr. Clark spends her time making customers feel welcome and at home in Pontotoc. 

Dr. Clark’s store, Antiques Downtown, along with her brother’s store of Antiques on Main, helps the growing enthusiasm of the antique businesses in Pontotoc. Dr. Clark is a member of the Pontotoc Art Guild that has provided art sculptures to our Main Street Area.  She is always seeing the bigger picture, knowing what is good for Antiques Downtown is good for all of Downtown.  Not only does Dr. Clark work on Main Street, she lives on Main Street and is an integral part of the positive growth of downtown Pontotoc.


Main Street Hero

Winner: Mary Ayers (nominated by Senatobia Main Street)

Mary Ayers has been a leader in the Senatobia Main Street program since day one of its rebirth in 2013. Her tireless efforts to improve the community have often been done with little to no recognition. Her servant attitude has helped Main Street grow more than most will ever realize. Her willingness to serve and her love of Senatobia are what make Mary a role model for all those in the business community.


Main Street Hero

Winner: The Reed Family (nominated by Downtown Tupelo Main Street)
Accepting: Jack Reed, Jr., Camille Reed Sloan, Catherine Reed Mize and Scott Reed

Downtown Tupelo has come a long way in the 27 years since our program started in 1990. This resurgence can be attributed to, in large part, the Reed family.  Before there was a Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, there was the Uptown Merchants Association, lead by President Jack Reed Jr., grandson to the founder of the Reed’s Department Store that opened in 1905.  Under the direction of the Reed family, the Uptown Merchants Association became the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, and from there the downtown revival of Tupelo began. Because of the groundwork the Reed family laid, along with their continued support of the Main Street Initiative, they are Downtown Tupelo’s Main Street Heroes.

Main Street Hero

Winner: Laura Beth Strickland (nominated by Vicksburg Main Street)

When it comes to involvement and commitment to success in downtown Vicksburg, Laura Beth Strickland has made her mark! From lending a hand in planning and being somewhere at the crack of dawn to doing whatever needs to be done for an event, she is there. Laura Beth is the Deputy Director of the Vicksburg Convention & Visitors Bureau. She has shown exemplary leadership and commitment to downtown Vicksburg and the Main Street Program.


Main Street Trailblazer – Award in memory of Paul Coggin - Due to the commitment, time and enthusiasm that Paul Coggin brought to the Mississippi Main Street Association, a special award was established in his honor, given to an outstanding local board member or volunteer who has been active in a downtown organization for at least the last two years, and who has contributed energy and dedication to downtown revitalization.

Winner: Kristen Stevens (nominated by West Point Main Street)

Kristen Stevens has a passion for downtowns. Her work reviving downtown West Point over the past 20 years has made an impression that inspires others to follow her lead. She hasn't volunteered her time and talent by merely attending committee meetings with ideas and suggestions.  She has rolled up her sleeves and invested in her own downtown during a time when urban sprawl was rising.  She completed two residential and four commercial restoration projects, coordinated numerous beautification efforts, and held various positions on the board.

Kristen understands the importance of partnerships and buying local at every opportunity. Currently serving as West Point Main Street President, Kristen Stevens continuously energizes one of the oldest Main Street communities in the state of Mississippi today.

Outstanding Main Street Director of the Year & Charles Beasley Scholarship Award - Charlie Beasley was one of the founding members of MMSA and served on the Board and in various officer positions, including President. He was Board Member Emeritus at the time of his passing in 2007 and had served Main Street since its inception in 1989. This award is a $1,500 scholarship to attend the National Main Streets Conference, given to a Main Street Director who has shown outstanding service to his or her community and Main Street program. The scholarship is awarded annually, and the MMSA Staff and Board select the recipient.

2017 Winner: Tara Lytal, Main Street Clinton

A native of Clinton, Miss., Tara was hired in 2007 as the first director of the Main Street Clinton program, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Tara holds two degrees from Mississippi College, a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design and a master’s in Public Relations. 

Tara has directed the Main Street Clinton program with steady leadership, careful planning, many dedicated volunteers and partners, including the City of Clinton and Mississippi College, and the passion and enthusiasm that is a MUST in Main Street work. Tara may seem quiet and unassuming but her work ethic is fearless and pretty much flawless. From the fabulous email marketing of Olde Towne Clinton’s monthly events and Farmers Markets to the impressive execution of every event and project.

Tara is also visionary – working hard with her board to recruit new businesses and restaurants to Olde Towne and even moving out of the Main Street office in Olde Towne to City Hall to recruit another restaurant to Olde Towne. The Olde Towne district continues to grow with appropriate new construction and mixed-use buildings. New plans and projects are always on the table! Tara uses interns to help with the ever-growing work, and was able to hire her first full-time assistant, Anna Boyd Hawks, four years ago.

Civically, Tara has been involved in numerous organizations in the community.  She is currently serving in her second term on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, she is a graduate of the Chamber’s Leadership Clinton Class of 1999, and she has served as President of both The Arts Council of Clinton and Junior Civic League. 

Not only does she serve her community well, but Tara has been a wise sounding board for other local Main Street directors and has been an asset to the MMSA staff and board as well. She is quick to share resources (like Clinton’s award-winning business recruitment packet) with other directors, and she keeps Main Street Clinton in excellent standing by attaining state certification and national accreditation annually.

With the help of many volunteers, Tara has guided the Main Street Clinton program to now 20 state awards for accomplishments in the Main Street districts and has received a personal award for Excellence in Main Street. Tara was elected by her Main Street director peers earlier this year to serve as a representative on the state Main Street board. We appreciate her service to the state program. Through her hard work, dedication, exceptional taste and love of her community, Tara is Mississippi Main Street’s Outstanding Director of the Year and recipient of the Charles Beasley Scholarship to attend the 2018 National Main Street Now Conference in Kansas City, MO. Congratulations, Tara!


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Mississippi Main Street Association
P.O. Box 55747 | Jackson, MS 39296
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