By Dennis Seid
TUPELO – Jason and Amanda Hayden have had their share of ups and downs in the seven years they’ve owned and operated Cafe 212, but the good times have far outweighed the bad. And it helps that the couple have an indelible spirit that has helped them build their popular and iconic business on Main Street.
Their success and hard work have drawn the praise and admiration of not only customers but peers, who named them the entrepreneurs of the year at the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association annual meeting Tuesday.
“I’m really proud of this award; we’ve worked really hard,” said Amanda Hayden. “Everyone has been so supportive of us.”
Another award winner was Tammy Rodgers, who was named the volunteer of the year. No surprise, since she’s involved in several events throughout the year.
“I do it because I like being involved,” she said. “I like meeting new people, I like bringing people together.”
• Best special event: All America City Picnic in the Park – 4th of July Celebration
• Best downtown public improvement: BancorpSouth Arena
• Best business promotion: Caron Gallery’s art openings and artist demonstrations
• Best of design: Reed’s and Jessica Black
• Elvis Festival “Can to Can’t”: Carr Sams and Rachel Etheridge
• Board member of the year: Blair Hughes
• Special service Award: Jan Miller
Other items of note: Since 1991, more than $142 million has been invested in downtown Tupelo, including $45 million in public money and $97 million in private funds. For this year to date, more than $1.8 million has been invested.
And, in comments at the meeting, Mayor Jason Shelton said the Oleput festival may make a return next year, perhaps in the spring. Talks are strictly in the preliminary stage, and nothing definite has been decided. Dates and sponsorships have to be considered, among other details.