MMSA Downtown Revitalization Awards: Main Street Hero

The Mississippi Main Street Association‘s award for Main Street Hero recognizes one outstanding community leader or public figure who has displayed an involved commitment to downtown and his or her Main Street program.  On June 21, 2018, Mallorie Rasberry received this honor at the annual MMSA Downtown Revitalization Awards in Jackson, MS. The following narrative was written by Ethan Davis and was submitted to the Mississippi Main Street judges panel.

Mallorie Main Street Hero

Main Street Hero

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’d 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.

Mallorie is a wife and mother, an accountant, a business owner, and perhaps the single greatest advocate for Downtown Laurel, Mississippi on the face of the planet. She started out on the Promotions Committee and has served in nearly every officer position on the Laurel Main Street board in her 8 years with the organization. She has acted as de facto treasurer for most of her tenure on the LMS board and has seen a fair number of sunrises while volunteering. Mallorie and her husband, Jim, generously offered the space for the Laurel Welcome Center and storage for the plethora of signs and shirts LMS always has on hand. She welcomes visitors to Laurel daily and now shares the Laurel Main Street story nationally on HGTV’s Hometown.

The list of reasons why Mallorie is a hero to Laurel Main Street can fill pages, but it all emanates from her sincere belief that Downtown Laurel is a place worth saving. That belief is what keeps her feet moving toward the goal of a fully vibrant and restored Laurel. She feels so strongly about this that she is part of the group that spoke at the closing session of the National Main Street Conference about what a Downtown Comeback was all about.Mallorie Downtown Comeback Mallorie could have left Laurel Main Street; after all, she had plenty of other things vying for her time. But, she chose to stay in the trenches and fight every day. She chose to do whatever she could whenever she could to bring her hometown back. Not many people would stick around for almost 10 years, running most of that time on hope and coffee, but Mallorie did.

Whenever someone in Laurel Main Street needs encouragement or to be reminded that the work is worth the effort, we casually point at Mallorie and say, “She was here when Laurel had been abandoned; she was here fighting when no one believed in this place, and she did it while raising a daughter and working full time. If she can do it, you can too.” What else can we call her besides hero?

On Thursday, June 21, 2018 the Mississippi Main Street Association hosted their 29th Annual Downtown Revitalization Awards Luncheon at the Old Capitol Inn in Jackson, MS.  Each year Mississippi Main Street recognizes excellence in downtown revitalization and honors local Main Street champions.  This is a wonderful opportunity to show the success of Laurel Main Street, to exchange ideas with other Main Street organizations, and is especially encouraging to see other thriving and successful communities.

Mississippi Main Street Announces 2018 Award Winners

 

 

 

Media Contact: Jeannie Waller Zieren, Director of Training and Information

(601) 941-5409

jeanniewaller@msmainstreet.com

MISSISSIPPI MAIN STREET ANNOUNCES  2018 AWARD WINNERS

 June 21, 2018 – JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) celebrated achievements of Mississippi Main Street Communities at the 29th Annual Awards Luncheon in downtown Jackson. 

 MMSA Board President Ed Gardner, MMSA Past President Allison Beasley, and MMSA staff presented awards to recipients from local Main Street programs throughout the state.

The annual awards luncheon honors Main Street directors, board members and volunteers and recognizes the most outstanding downtown development projects from Main Street communities in Mississippi. 

The 2018 Award Recipients are:
Award Name of Entry (Project or Individual) Community Accepting Award
Premier Partner Northwest Community College Senatobia Main Street Julie R. Bauer
Outstanding Creative Fundraising Cleveland Bites Food Festival Team Cleveland Main Street Tasha Huerta
Outstanding Marketing Que on the Yazoo Marketing Campaign Main Street Greenwood Megan Slaughter/Brantley Snipes
Outstanding Community Education Campaign (2) How Downtown Main Street Greenwood Brantley Snipes
Vicksburg Heritage Walking Trails Vicksburg Main Street Kim Hopkins
Creative New Event (2) Mini Wine Downtown and Shopping Tournament Downtown Tupelo Main Street Craig Helmuth
Hattiesburlesque Historic Downtown Hattiesburg Abigail Lenz-Allen and Rebecca Chandler
Outstanding Retail Promotion Sit, Stay, Play, Greenwood Main Street Greenwood Brantley Snipes
Outstanding Image Promotion (2) Meet Me on Main Street Main Street Clinton Jonathan Nutt
Downtown Greenwood Promo Video Main Street Greenwood Matthew Moore/Brantley Snipes
Outstanding Historic Rehabilitation Project Starkville Police Department Starkville Main Street Chief Frank Nichols
Outstanding Public Improvement Project (2) Russell Street Corridor – Entrance to Downtown Starkville Starkville Main Street Michelle Jones
Crosby Commons Picayune Main Street Jim Luke
Outstanding Visual Merchandising Project The Lucky Rabbit Historic Downtown Hattiesburg Abbey & Brandon Thaxton
Outstanding New Development Project Brady’s Steak and Seafood Pascagoula Main Street Steven Brady & Chad Brady
Outstanding Adaptive Reuse Project The Burton’s Building Laurel Main Street Josh Nowell
Outstanding Economic Impact Cottonwood Public House Vicksburg Main Street Tim Cantwell
Outstanding New Business The Steel Forest Furniture Company Columbus Main Street Chip  and Maureen Gerber
Outstanding Community Transformation – Medium Size town Laurel, Mississippi Laurel Main Street Lew Yoder
Outstanding Community Transformation – Small Town Water Valley, Mississippi Water Valley Main Street Jeff Bynum
Main Street Trailblazer Dr. David L. Beckley Holly Springs Main Street Chamber Dr. David L. Beckley
Merchant of the Year Lott Furniture Company Laurel Main Street Rodney Rowell
Outstanding Director of the Year Kay Miller Biloxi Main Street Kay Miller
Main Street Hero Michelle Jones Starkville Main Street Michelle Jones
Mayor George Flaggs Vicksburg Main Street Mayor George Flaggs
Jim Luke Picayune Main Street Jim Luke
Mallorie Rasberry Laurel Main Street Mallorie Rasberry
Penny Frazier Senatobia Main Street Penny Frazier
Dawn Edwards Hernando Main Street Dawn Edwards
Becky Nowell Team Cleveland Main Street Becky Nowell
Bob Luke Meridian Main Street Bob Luke
Doug Pellum Columbus Main Street Doug Pellum
Mayor Dane Maxwell Pascagoula Main Street Mayor Dane Maxwell
Award of Service Allison Beasley SMPDD Allison Beasley
Award of Service Ken P’Pool MDAH Ken P’Pool

 

“This is the Mississippi Main Street Association’s most important event of the year,” said Ed Gardner, MMSA Board President. “It gives us an opportunity to meet with and celebrate the local directors and investors throughout the state that are doing the hard work of making our downtown districts more competitive, successful and sustainable.”

“We are thrilled to honor our economic development and preservation heroes in Mississippi’s downtowns,” Gardner said.

Since 1993, Mississippi Main Street Association has generated more than $5 billion in private and public investment (including more than $1.2 billion in public investment).

In 2017, Mississippi Main Street programs generated 325 net new businesses, 95 business expansions to existing businesses, 1,458 net new jobs, 109 façade rehabilitations and 86 downtown residential units.
 
MMSA currently has 48 active Main Street cities throughout the state, six Downtown Network members, and numerous Associate, Allied professional members, and Friends of Main Street.

 

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Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) has been improving the quality of life in Mississippi for more than 30 years by developing Mississippi’s downtowns. Main Street is an economic development program based in historic preservation. The mission of the Mississippi Main Street Association is to provide visionary leadership, guidance and counsel to Mississippi Main Street communities through organization, promotion, design and economic development to make our cities and towns better places to work, live and play. Since 1993, MMSA has generated more than $5.2 billion in private and public investment (including nearly $1.3 billion in public investment), 36,996 net new jobs, 5,673 net new businesses, rehabilitated 3,298 buildings and added 2,921 downtown residential units. MMSA is a coordinating program of the National Main Street Center, with many public and private partners.
  

For individual photos and awards narratives, please email jeanniewaller@msmainstreet.com. These will be available on Friday, June 22.

 

Laurel Main Street Receives 2018 National Main Street Accreditation


 

 

 

 

 

For Immediate Release                                                                     Contact: Judi Holifield, Executive Director Laurel Main Street

(601) 433-3255

info@laurelmainstreet.com

 

Laurel Main Street

Receives 2018 National Main Street Accreditation

 

Laurel, Mississippi — April 26, 2018  Laurel Main Street has been designated as an accredited Main Street America™ program for meeting rigorous performance standards set by the National Main Street Center. Each year, the National Main Street Center and its Coordinating Program partners announce the list of accredited Main Street America programs in recognition of their exemplary commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach.

“We are thrilled to honor this year’s 829 nationally accredited Main Street America programs for their commitment to preservation-based economic development and the revitalization of their commercial districts,” says Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “The power of Main Street shines across the country through these vibrant communities, who have all worked to generate impressive economic returns, preserve community character, and celebrate local history.”

In 2017 alone, Main Street America programs generated $4.48 billion in local reinvestment, helped open 6,211 net new businesses, generated 30,294 net new jobs, catalyzed the rehabilitation of 8,737 historic buildings, and clocked 2.7 million volunteer hours.

Laurel Main Street’s performance is annually evaluated by the Mississippi Main Street Association, which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet ten national performance standards. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, documenting programmatic progress, and actively preserving historic buildings.

 Laurel Main Street board president, Lew Yoder says, “This has been an exciting year for Laurel Main Street.  We have seen tremendous growth in all of our Main Street events and we have seen more participation and excitement in Downtown Laurel.” He went on to say, “It is an exciting time to be a part of Laurel Main Street and Mississippi’s Downtown.”

Founded in 2007, Laurel Main Street is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to revitalizing historic downtown Laurel, Miss., through preservation and economic growth. They recently received accreditation from the National Main Street Program and maintain membership with the Mississippi Main Street Association. To learn more about Laurel Main Street, please visit www.laurelmainstreet.com.

Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 35 years. Today, it is a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Since 1980, communities participating in the program have leveraged more than $74.73 billion in new public and private investment, generated 614,716 net new jobs and 138,303 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 276,790 buildings. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  

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MMSA Downtown Revitalization Awards: Merchant of the Year

The Mississippi Main Street Association‘s award for Merchant of the Year recognizes one outstanding local business owner who has a flourishing and innovative business and displays an involved commitment to downtown and his or her Main Street program.  On June 21, 2018, Lott Furniture Co. received this honor at the annual MMSA Downtown Revitalization Awards in Jackson, MS. The following narrative was written by Ethan Davis and was submitted to the Mississippi Main Street judges panel.

Merchant of the Year

Lott Furniture Co. is Laurel’s oldest business; they have over a century of history in our small town. 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 in their community.

Lott Furniture

The business is most certainly a family affair. Rodney’s mother, Nelly, worked there for over 50 years, with Rodney and his sister Candy following in her footsteps. In fact, Angie and Rodney met each
other while working at Lott Furniture. Now, their daughter, Keri, is stepping in to continue the tradition. The Lott crew loves history, and they fuse it with present and future in every aspect of their business. They, of course, take payments via credit cards, but they still do their books by hand, still know their customers by name, still care about the person behind the purchase. 

The Lott Furniture business model is revolutionary, but it’s actually not new. The team took Mr. Lott’s original business model—selling furniture on credit—and adapted it to the young couples that move to Laurel. The couples were amazed that they could get amazing furniture and afford it by paying monthly. Lott Furniture is re-educating the youngest generations about building relationships through credit. They also started a series of workshops called Wine and Design that give décor tips and advice on how to turn a house into a home.

However, the most incredible thing about the folks at Lott is their commitment to Downtown Laurel. Their Instagram feed is dedicated to Laurel itself; you’ll only see ads for their products in their stories. Rodney Rowell has been called the cheerleader for Laurel, and a quick look at how much he supports his fellow local businesses attests to that name. He buys everything he can from fellow merchants downtown and is a tireless supporter of Laurel Main Street. Rodney even met with local creative Bethany Byrd of Own Your Hill to create a map of Downtown Laurel and the other merchants there. Lott Furniture paid for the first batch, and it is now a staple in Downtown; every visitor picks one up when they start to explore.

When it comes to Downtown Laurel, the Rowell’s have seen it all: a thriving center of business, a downtown disrupted by urban renewal, the sheds coming down and the streets alive again. Rodney is the go-to guy for all young and older entrepreneurs. He is the epitome of believing, in good times and bad.

Rowell Family

On Thursday, June 21, 2018 the Mississippi Main Street Association hosted their 29th Annual Downtown Revitalization Awards Luncheon at the Old Capitol Inn in Jackson, MS.  Each year Mississippi Main Street recognizes excellence in downtown revitalization and honors local Main Street champions.  This is a wonderful opportunity to show the success of Laurel Main Street, to exchange ideas with other Main Street organizations, and is especially encouraging to see other thriving and successful communities. 

What is Loblolly Festival?

Saturday October 6, 2018 · 9am ’til 4pm

Loblolly LumberjackThe Loblolly Festival is held annually on the first Saturday in October and celebrates Laurel’s heritage as a sawmill town. Parking and admission are free, so bring the family and get ready for a fun-filled day!

Vendors from several states, artists, crafters and craftsmen set up shop in the streets of downtown Laurel for this one day event.

From mid-morning to late-afternoon musicians and songwriters will display their talents on the Loblolly Stage.

Festival goers will be enticed by the aromas of the food trucks lining Oak Street. Enjoy authentic festival food like funnel cakes, chicken-on-a-stick and award winning barbecue.

You won’t be able to miss the flannel-adorned Laurel Lumberjack who stands nearly a foot taller than all around him.  He quickly draws a crowd and is happy to oblige those requesting photos.

Look on as a talented artist cranks his chainsaw and shapes logs and limbs into beautiful artwork at this favorite festival attraction, funded by a grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission.

Teens flock to the Art on Masonite contest, hoping to find the winning ribbon pinned to their own creation.

The Kids’ Zone at the Loblolly Festival grows every year too! There’s something for children of all ages!

Soon, the 2018 Loblolly Festival will be a recent memory, but for now, there is still time to experience the fun and nostalgia as we celebrate our storied past and enjoy our artful, musical, delicious present.

Join us for the 2018 Loblolly Festival in downtown Laurel!

Saturday, October 6th from 9am ’til 4pm