Downtown Tupelo Main Street receives recognition for efforts


Downtown Main Street Association receives recognition for efforts


TUPELO – Since its creation more than 25 years ago, the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association has been helping to revitalize the downtown area, working with the city and the Convention & Visitors Bureau to attract more residents and visitors.


DTMSA’s efforts have not gone unnoticed, and it has been recognized or nominated for a variety of awards this year.

It is a semifinalist in the “Independent We Stand” competition for $25,000.


Independent We Stand supports main streets and small business owners across the country.


Among the cities Tupelo is vying against is Collierville, Tennessee, the closest Southern city in the competition.


“There are 25 entries right now and three from the Deep South,” DTMSA program associate Reagan Pepper said. “There were not too many competing from around here and we were actually one of the only ones from Mississippi to apply.”


DTMSA executive director Debbie Brangenberg said fundraising is critical to help pay for events like the annual Elvis Presley Festival.


“We are continually working on ways to diversify and eliminate as much risk as possible,” she said. “As with any nonprofit, fund raising is always a challenge. The bottom line of success for us all is community support.”


Winning awards – especially ones with monetary prizes – is one way to diversify the revenue stream.


“What I’ve gathered from Independent We Stand is that they see that main streets seem to give back to the community the most, so that’s where they have decided to invest,” Pepper said.


The contest is for who is America’s best main street and Pepper said people can vote for DTMSA to win the contest every 24 hours on social media until May 27. The results will be announced June 4.


Last month, the Tupelo CVB helped DTMSA secure an official “Southern Travel Treasure” award for the Tupelo Elvis Festival, from AAA Southern Traveler.


AAA Southern Traveler is the official travel publication for Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.


“They were doing an article on the Elvis Festival, and through that earned editorial piece, they awarded DTMSA for the Elvis Festival,” said CVB Public Relations and International Sales Director Jennie Bradford Curlee.


“It’s always exciting to have recognition for a signature event,” Curlee said. “USA Today does these types of lists and anytime you get on one of them, it’s another way to let people know what’s going on in your town. So when we get recognition like this, it helps further our story and gets heads in beds and people eating in our restaurants.”


DTMSA also was added to former HGTV home improvement host Bob Vila’s “America’s 50 Favorite Streets” list in May.