By Dennis Seid
TUPELO – The newly formed Midtown District hopes its neighborly bond will extend far beyond its imaginary borders and bring additional people to the area.
“This is a community within a community,” said Flowerdale Marketplace owner Alice Rogers and District organizer.
The business association comprises some 20 businesses bordered by South Industrial Road, West Main Street, South Gloster Street and Varsity Drive.
“We wanted an identity,” Rogers said. “I remember telling some people I had moved to Industrial, and a lot of them didn’t know where it was. … but the road has been here 30 or 40 years at least.”
The association is completely volunteer-driven, relying on business owners. Many have gotten to know each other as neighbors, so forming a business association was a good model. Their main goal: Let people know that they can find just about anything they want in the area.
The area is packed with mostly smaller independent stores, including a bakery, a health food store, golf shop and other specialty shops.
There’s also a Renasant Bank branch, and, just outside the district is a Kroger.
“You can just about get everything you want right here,” said Staggs Interiors co-owner Kelly Holcomb.
He said he wanted the area to be known other than a cut-though to other parts of town.
“We’re specialty shops for the most part, and as neighbors, we wanted to work together to raise the profile of the area,” he said.
To mark the Midtown District, 16 banners will be placed on light poles in the area. Designed by Daniel Hicks of Fame Creative, the banners will go up starting today on South Industrial Road and Varsity Drive.
The city’s public works department also is helping spruce up the area. New guardrails are being installed, and new trees will be planted later this fall.
About 16 aging and brittle Bradford pear trees will be taken out and replaced by sturdier trees, said David Knight, the city’s horticulture superintendent.
Rogers said the curb appeal of the Midtown District will be greatly enhanced by the new landscaping.
The Midtown District officially kicks off its new status next Thursday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. with a holiday open house. Several stores will feature trunk showings and specials. Refreshments also will be provided.