TUPELO • Businesses and Main Street associations in seven Northeast Mississippi cities were honored Wednesday as recipients of 2020 Mississippi Main Street Association annual awards.
The annual awards program honors Main Street directors, board members and volunteers and recognizes the most outstanding downtown development projects from the 45 Main Street communities in Mississippi.
The Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association picked up three awards, including one for Mayor Jason Shelton as a Main Street Hero. Starkville Main Street received two awards while associations in Holly Springs, Corinth, West Point, New Albany and Ripley also were honored.
Winners were announced during a virtual ceremony from the Old Capitol Inn in Jackson.
Shelton, nominated by the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, was recognized for exemplifying the “Tupelo Spirit” of building community in the city, his support and participation of DTMSA activities, and his promotion of Tupelo in Europe as a destination for Elvis Presley fans.
Tim and Lisa Liddy of Holly Springs were also named Main Street Heroes. Nominated by the Holly Springs Main Street Chamber, the Liddys were chosen for being preservationists and Main Street partners in their hometown. They renovated a building on the courthouse square into a bed-and-breakfast and event space.
Two Tupelo entries received awards in the Promotions division:
“Downtown Tupelo: A Place for Dreamers,” which showcases the diversity and uplifting spirit of downtown Tupelo, won Outstanding Community Promotion. The DTMSA collaborated with a videographer and volunteers like dancers, artists, entertainers and entrepreneurs to record the video, which was used in Tupelo’s application for the Great American Main Street Award. The DTMSA was recognized as one of eight cities as a semifinalist for the national award presented by the National Main Street Center.
BlairHaus in Tupelo was honored for Outstanding Retail Merchandising. Owned by Traci Lewis, the home staging and interior design company was recognized for restoring the storefront and continuing to provide essential design services during the COVID-19 pandemic through social media and virtual design consultations. BlairHaus also participated in downtown Tupelo’s spring virtual open house.
In the Organization category, the New Albany and Ripley Main Street groups shared the Premier Partner award for “A Tale of Two Fa(u)lkners,” a joint celebration honoring the rich literary history of two resident Fa(u)lkners: William Cuthbert Faulkner of New Albany, and his great-grandfather, Colonel William Clark Falkner of Ripley.
Starkville Main Street was honored twice in the Economic Vitality category, including the Outstanding Economic Impact Project award for Orientation Dine Around Town. As part of that program, Starkville Main Street teamed with the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau and Mississippi State University to invite new MSU students and their families to dine in the city’s restaurants.
The IDEA Shop was chosen for Outstanding Entrepreneurial Endeavor. The business provides an assortment of design workstations, 3-D printers, electronics and advanced woodworking tools not commonly available to assist the public.
In the Promotion category, West Point Main Street won Outstanding Business Networking Event for “Wake Up West Point!” – a monthly, two-hour morning networking event for downtown business owners.
Atkins Place, nominated by Corinth Main Street, was named Outstanding Small New Development Project in the Design category. Downtown property owner Emily McGrath renovated a dilapidated building into two retail stores and three apartments.