MMSA 2018: Laurel Wins 4 Awards

Good news! Laurel racked up 4 Mississippi Main Street awards at the luncheon this year! Main Street chapters from all over the state attended and fellowshipped together over the vast revitalization that’s sweeping Mississippi.

Continue reading for a run down of what we got!

Home Town Heroes

Main Street Hero – This award recognizes one outstanding community leader or public figure who has displayed an involved commitment to downtown and his or her Main Street program.

Winner: Mallorie Rasberry (nominated by Laurel Main Street)

Director: Judi Holifield

Accepting: Mallorie Rasberry

“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  would 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 –Wife,  mother,  accountant,  and  fierce  advocate  for  Downtown  Laurel,  Mississippi.  When  it  comes  to  service  with  Laurel  Main  Street,  Mallorie  has  done  it  all,  including  the  early  mornings  and  late  nights.  When  thinking  about  her  hard  work,  what  else  can  we  call  her  besides  Laurel Main Street’s Hero?”

Outstanding Adaptive Reuse Project This award is granted to the best adaptive reuse of a building that has outlived its former use.

Winner: Laurel Main Street – The Burton’s Building

Director: Judi Holifield

Accepting: Josh Nowell

“Laurel  Main  Street  Executive  Director,  Judi  Holifield,  used  to  say  that  rehabilitating  the  Burton’s  building  would  be  the  ultimate  domino  effect;  all  of  the  other  buildings  along  Magnolia  Street  would  be  sold  if  only  that  one  could  be.  Josh  Nowell  bought  the  building  and  breathed  new  life  into  it.  The  historic  character  of  the  building  was  preserved,  including  the  vintage  sign,  while  new  businesses  were  allowed  to  make  their  own  mark  on  it.  It  is  currently  full  with  two  retail  stores,  a  co-working  space,  and the offices  for  an  engineering  firm,  and  a  restaurant.  The  best  part  is  that  Judi  Holifield  was  right,  and  Magnolia Street  is  now  filled  with  businesses.”

Outstanding Community Transformation – This is an overall award that goes to a Main Street program that has achieved a successful, preservation-based downtown revival.

Winner (Medium Size town): Laurel Main Street

Director: Judi Holifield

Accepting: Lew Yoder

“How  do  you  bring  a  town  back?  It’s  a  question  that  has  no  easy  answers,  and  the  answers  that  are  given  usually  require  years  and  more  work  than  one  might  ever  imagine.  However,  for  Downtown  Laurel,  there  is  no  question  that  the  town  has  been  revived  in  a  powerful  way.  A  stream  of  dedicated  volunteers  has  made  possible  a  vibrant  town  full  of  creative  and  passionate  people.  Over  a  dozen  new  businesses  have  opened  in  the  past  two  years,  and  more  are  on  the  way;  vacant  buildings  are  now  the  exception  rather  than  the  rule.  LMS  is  at  the  center  of  a  web  of  transformation,  where  local  business  doesn’t  just  survive;  it  thrives.”

Merchant of the Year This award recognizes one outstanding local business owner who has a flourishing and innovative business and displayed an involved commitment to downtown and his or her Main Street program.

Winner: Lott Furniture Company (nominated by Laurel Main Street)

Director: Judi Holifield

Accepting: Rodney Rowell

“Lott  Furniture  Co.  is  Laurel’s  oldest  business.  They  have  over  a  century  of  history  in  our  small  town  and  a  plan  to  stick  around  another  hundred  years.  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  and  live  in  a  community  of  people  united  toward  a  common  goal.  The  business  is  most  certainly  a  family  affair.  Rodney’s  mother  worked  there  for  over  50  years,  and  he  and  Angie  met  at  Lott  when  she  started  working  there  as  well.  The  Lott  team  has  taken  Mr.  Lott’s  original  business  model  and  adapted  it  for  young  people  who  are  moving  to  Laurel,  and  they  are  dedicated  to  being  tireless  advocates  for  their  town.  Laurel Main Street  hopes  we  never  have  to  know  a  Downtown  Laurel  without  Lott  Furniture!”


We are immensely proud of all the winners at this year’s MMS Awards, which most definitely grants a “Congrats!” to all Laurelites. It’s absolutely amazing that Laurel received “Outstanding Community Transformation” out of all medium-size towns in MS.

How well deserved! Everyone’s hard work is paying off, and will continue to do so years in the future. 

We are personally so grateful for the state-wide recognition of “Merchant of the Year”. We’d like to thank each and every person for their unconditional support of Lott Furniture. Co. over the past 100 years of business, especially to our customers. Without you guys, we are not Lott Furniture.

Once again, thank you. Thank you for every purchase, every kind word, and every referral. We just want to bring you home.

-Keri Rowell, Lott Furniture Co.

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