Three Main Street America Staff members standing in front of a mural in Marion, Iowa.

Marion, Iowa © Tasha Sams

About

We work in collaboration with thousands of local partners and grassroots leaders across the nation who share our commitment to advancing shared prosperity, creating resilient economies, and improving quality of life.

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Two community members in Emporia Kansas pose with a sign saying "I'm a Main Streeter"

Emporia, Kansas © Emporia Main Street

Our Network

Made up of small towns, mid-sized communities, and urban commercial districts, the thousands of organizations, individuals, volunteers, and local leaders that make up Main Street America™ represent the broad diversity that makes this country so unique.

Overview Coordinating Programs Main Street Communities Collective Impact Awards & Recognition Community Evaluation Framework Join the Movement
Dionne Baux and MSA partner working in Bronzeville, Chicago.

Chicago, Illinois © Main Street America

Resources

Looking for strategies and tools to support you in your work? Delve into the Main Street Resource Center and explore a wide range of resources including our extensive Knowledge Hub, professional development opportunities, field service offerings, advocacy support, and more!

Overview Knowledge Hub Field Services Government Relations Main Street Now Conference Main Street America Institute Small Business Support Allied Member Services The Point Members Area
People riding e-scooters in Waterloo, Iowa

Waterloo, Iowa © Main Street Waterloo

The Latest

Your one-stop-shop for all the latest stories, news, events, and opportunities – including grants and funding programs – across Main Street.

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Woman and girl at a festival booth in Kendall Whittier, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Kendall Whittier — Tulsa, Oklahoma © Kendall Whittier Main Street

Get Involved

Join us in our work to advance shared prosperity, create strong economies, and improve quality of life in downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.

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Three Main Street America Staff members standing in front of a mural in Marion, Iowa.

Marion, Iowa © Tasha Sams

About

We work in collaboration with thousands of local partners and grassroots leaders across the nation who share our commitment to advancing shared prosperity, creating resilient economies, and improving quality of life.

Overview Who We Are How We Work Partner Collaborations Our Supporters Our Team Job Opportunities Contact Us
Two community members in Emporia Kansas pose with a sign saying "I'm a Main Streeter"

Emporia, Kansas © Emporia Main Street

Our Network

Made up of small towns, mid-sized communities, and urban commercial districts, the thousands of organizations, individuals, volunteers, and local leaders that make up Main Street America™ represent the broad diversity that makes this country so unique.

Overview Coordinating Programs Main Street Communities Collective Impact Awards & Recognition Community Evaluation Framework Join the Movement
Dionne Baux and MSA partner working in Bronzeville, Chicago.

Chicago, Illinois © Main Street America

Resources

Looking for strategies and tools to support you in your work? Delve into the Main Street Resource Center and explore a wide range of resources including our extensive Knowledge Hub, professional development opportunities, field service offerings, advocacy support, and more!

Overview Knowledge Hub Field Services Government Relations Main Street Now Conference Main Street America Institute Small Business Support Allied Member Services The Point Members Area
People riding e-scooters in Waterloo, Iowa

Waterloo, Iowa © Main Street Waterloo

The Latest

Your one-stop-shop for all the latest stories, news, events, and opportunities – including grants and funding programs – across Main Street.

Overview News & Stories Events & Opportunities Subscribe
Woman and girl at a festival booth in Kendall Whittier, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Kendall Whittier — Tulsa, Oklahoma © Kendall Whittier Main Street

Get Involved

Join us in our work to advance shared prosperity, create strong economies, and improve quality of life in downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.

Overview Join Us Renew Your Membership Donate Partner With Us Job Opportunities
Women pose for a group photo in front of a brick building with a colorful mural.

Tupelo, Mississippi © Ben McAlilly/​Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association

Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association (DTMSA) in Tupelo, Mississippi, was one of three winners of the 2020 Great American Main Street Award (GAMSA), which recognizes communities for their excellence in comprehensive preservation-based commercial district revitalization. Selected by a national jury of community development professionals and leaders in the fields of economic development and historic preservation, Tupelo was recognized for building a lively downtown with a thriving small business environment and inclusive community events.


Main Street America Program: Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association
Coordinating Program: Mississippi Main Street
Year Organization Founded: 1990
Population: 38,200
Public and Private Reinvestment: $194,316,583
Net New Businesses Created: 184
Buildings/​Structures Rehabilitated:
34

Visit Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association
Artist rendering of an aerial view of a central park surrounded by historic buildings at sunset.

Downtown Tupelo dreamscape. © Charlie Buckley

Video

Tupelo is a shining example of the impact of a sustained, incremental approach to community revitalization,” said Main Street America President and CEO Patrice Frey. Over DTMSA’s 30-year history, they have steadily fueled an inspiring transformation and brought renewed vitality to their community.”

Downtown Tupelo has built on its legacy as the home of Elvis Presley and transformed its Main Street from a buttoned-up corridor that shut down after 5 p.m. to a bustling district with live music, art galleries, and farm-to-table restaurants thriving alongside legacy businesses. When DTMSA got its start in 1990, the downtown’s vacancy rate was 13 percent. Thanks to DTMSA’s supportive entrepreneurship environment, vacancy is just four percent today. DTMSA has seen an entrepreneurship renaissance over the last decade, with 83 businesses opening, which has generated over 1,300 jobs. Today, 34 minority-owned and operated businesses are open, 29 of which are women-owned.

  • A guitarist plays and sings while people stroll along the sidewalk of a historic downtown street.

    Downtown Spring Open House © Ben McAlilly/​Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association

  • Three women smile while attending an outdoor community event.

    Communities Forward Festival © Dalton Russell/​Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association

DTMSA has continued to offer support to small business owners during the pandemic. The program launched a dedicated website to support local merchants and provide one-on-one assistance with services like e‑commerce support, social media training, and web development. DTMSA has also helped coordinate the application process for the local Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and worked with the city of Tupelo and business owners to allow parklets for outdoor dining and live entertainment.

DTMSA has leveraged public and private partnerships to drive investment and development downtown, including converting a vacant former fairgrounds site into a vibrant mixed-use district. Referred to as Tupelo’s front porch,” Fairpark has doubled the size of downtown and is now home to a visitor center, arena, museum, restaurants, convention center, and hotel. DTMSA continued to change the face of downtown by connecting Fairpark with the original downtown core and the Elvis Presley Birthplace. In partnership with MSA, Project for Public Spaces, and the Mississippi Department of Transportation, DTMSA completed the $14 million Elvis Birthplace Trail streetscape project in 2017. The project transformed the corridor into a pedestrian-friendly center of community activity by shrinking Main Street traffic lanes, adding bike lanes and wayfinding signage, reducing traffic, and increasing walkability.

  • A man presents a bottle of wine to a potential customer visiting a wine tasting table set-up inside an art gallery.

    Wine Downtown volunteers © Ben McAlilly/​Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association

  • Young people paint a mural onto a brick wall.

    Tupelo High School art students. © Ben McAlilly/​Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association

We are ecstatic to finally be chosen as a Great American Main Street Award winner after being a semifinalist three times,” said Debbie Brangenberg, who has been the Director of the DTMSA since its inception. Ours is a unique story of transformation, where innovation, creativity, and inclusion coincide. Thanks to our commitment to the Main Street Approach, we have remained true to our 1991 vision. We have forged public/​private partnerships and used every available resource to transform downtown into a place worth remembering.”

DTMSA leads a range of inclusive community events to ensure that Main Street appeals to a diverse mix of Tupelo residents. Working with Tupelo City Councilwoman Nettie Davis, DTMSA broadened the existing Community Forward Festival to include a parade, diverse food vendors, games for all ages, line dancing, and music. The festival was created to foster positive interaction between the citizens of Tupelo and its law enforcement officers. DTMSA’s key downtown event celebrates Tupelo’s most famous citizen — Elvis Presley. Hundreds of DTMSA volunteers have helped to pull off the internationally-recognized Tupelo Elvis Festival since 1999.

  • People gather at brightly colored picnic tables and shop at farmers market booths set up under an outdoor pavilion.

    Tupelo Farmers’ Depot © Sarah Stewart

  • Customers wait to place and pick up orders at a food truck.

    Food Truck Friday © Sarah Barowka

The Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association is the perfect example of a Main Street organization that has positively transformed their community by proactively taking care of business,” said Thomas Gregory, State Coordinator for the Mississippi Main Street Association. By faithfully implementing the Main Street Approach for nearly three decades, Downtown Tupelo Main Street has been the catalyst for the revitalization of their downtown. The Mississippi Main Street Association is thrilled that Tupelo has been recognized for their hard work as a Great American Main Street Award winner!”