Downtowners of Tupelo seeks to highlight the great people of Downtown and their love of it by telling their stories one at a time. We want to shed light on those who live, work and contribute to the overall success of Downtown Tupelo. Some stories are well-known while others are still in the process of happening. Overall, we want to share what great experiences can be had here and shine a spotlight to the wellbeing of Downtown.
Amelia Smith, interior designer, downtown resident, volunteer and lover of downtown
I live two blocks over on Franklin St. So I grew up in the Downtown area. I went to school in New York. I’ve been away for like 10 years so it’s been really fascinating and exciting to see all the renovations and things that have happened downtown [here]... There’s no comparison to where Tupelo was a few years ago. I’ve had so many life experiences and life changing experiences. I have more of an appreciation for the gem that Downtown is...If someone says Tupelo is boring then I tell them you don’t know the Tupelo I know.
PAige knapp, student of graphic design, lover of art, employee of the caron gallery
“I feel like there’s this misconception if you stay in your hometown that you’re limiting your experiences. You can have a full life staying in Tupelo or going off or doing whatever you want to do. The way places get cool is because people stay and make it cool. I can already tell younger people are moving to Tupelo. People are coming back and raising families here. To me, that’s encouraging. You know this place is going to be even better than it already is in a few years. I love Tupelo, and I appreciate it. People might think I’m being short sighted, but through the Caron Gallery and Mississippi artists, it’s made my life full in ways I could have never anticipated... I’ve worked here for 5 years. I started when I was a sophomore in high school. It’s been crazy but it’s been awesome. This is honestly the best thing that has happened to me..."
brody holland, manager of the main attraction
I live in Pontotoc and have worked in Tupelo, specifically Downtown, since the early 2000’s. It’s a wonderful community as a whole and I think people get together to help and support each other. That’s important for community growth. Through this, I’ve grown a lot, and I’ve learned a lot. It’s not always easy, so you learn to get over the hurdles and enjoy the triumphs. None of the businesses downtown are comparable. It’s a different mix. For the Main Attraction, [Our merchandise is] It’s not necessarily what is always on trend. We march to the beat of our own drum. We just get fun, funky stuff we like.
Rashni barath, Private banking specialist, board member and volunteer for downtown tupelo Main Street association
Initially, I lived in South Africa and then lived in South Florida Ft. Lauderdale. Big City. Hustle and Bustle. So when I first moved to Tupelo because of my husband’s job, I was weirded out. It was initially a culture shock, but that all changed quickly. I learned that Tupelo is such a wonderful place to live. People are so friendly, so hospitable. We lived here for two years. Then we lived in Toronto, Canada for two years. Another big city. Eventually we had the opportunity to return to the United States and we chose to return to Tupelo. It was not a difficult decision, because we love this town. It has all the amenities of a bigger city you could possibly want. Yet., it’s intimate. The people are nice, it’s a great place to raise kids. We have great friends here. That’s why we chose Tupelo.
Reid white, lifetime resident of downtown tupelo, employee of farmhouse
“I actually grew up right off of Church Street so coming downtown was always a thing my family did. Being downtown is a home feeling to me. After college and getting ready to get married, my fiancé and I knew we wanted to live downtown. My fiancé actually proposed to me downtown. We’re getting married at First United Methodist and our reception is at the Goodlet Manor. We didn’t want to look anywhere else to get married, because why would we? There’s something about downtown, like the feeling of community. It’s a community of people that come from all different backgrounds, walks of life and are all so different, but it’s all so appreciated. It works together well. and it creates a very wonderful feeling down here. I knew that’s where I wanted to be."
Claudia Howard, Welcome Center Hostess at Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau
"I love hospitality; I like being nice to people so it [my job] just fell right in place.I love interacting with people. No matter where you go, people are people. They want to be heard, and they want you to listen to them and find out what they want. It’s just very pleasant. I love Tupelo. It’s just sort of laid back. We get a lot of people from up North and they say “wow you’re, hospitality is just so great, people are so nice, so friendly. And it is a laid back place. It’s a great place to live and I love Tupelo. I wouldn’t live anywhere else.”
Joe Yarber, owner of MLM Clothiers
"I started working here part-time in 1980. It helped me learn the business, just working here every Saturday. I’ve always liked clothes. My hobby was buying clothes. When I worked here part-time I never got a paycheck. I just applied it to my account. But it's more than just clothes. MLM is such a meeting place, such a gathering place for the community. If you want to gossip, come in here. We have a group of men that come in every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday after lunch. They just sit and watch the closing bell of the stock market on the TV or whatever golf tournament is on. We have a group of bankers that’ll stop in on the way back from lunch just to visit. We always have something going on. I never dreamed I’d be in this position, but here I am."