Main Street vision becoming reality
“Jason, do you really believe that stuff you’re writing.”
My friend was looking at me as if my answer would provide an assessment of my mental health.
He was referring to stories and columns we’d written in this newspaper celebrating the positive changes taking place in downtown Yazoo City and predicting even more good things to come.
I responded that not only did I believe it, but I regretted that I didn’t have the money to invest in one of the historic buildings myself.
“But everybody knows downtowns are dying everywhere,” he added before rolling off a list of towns in the Mississippi Delta that seem to have more empty buildings than taxpaying citizens. “People have been talking about revitalizing downtown Yazoo City since before you were even born. Face it, it’s a lost cause.”
My friend is correct that downtown areas are dying in dying towns, but they are also thriving in towns where people have a vision and there are enough people to support that vision. Greenwood, Vicksburg and Cleveland are examples that immediately come to mind nearby.
Historic downtowns that thrive will be those that have business owners who can change with the times and offer something that will attract people. Yazoo City is blessed to have some of those kind of people. It’s happening right now.
Our downtown is a perfect mix of landmark businesses that have built a tradition of great products and service like Anderson’s Jewelry, Arnett’s Jewelry and Black & White or Webb’s Pharmacy and Ferguson Furniture. It’s a place where you can find one-of-a-kind items at places like Grace Hardware, Cindi’s or Downtown Marketplace.
About the only thing missing in recent times has been a place to eat.
That’s no longer the case.
Thomas Johnson, who operated the popular Yazoo Market for years now, has now opened a business on Main Street. There probably won’t be an empty parking space in front of Tom’s on Main for awhile, but there’s plenty of parking in the lot behind the restaurant.
The thing that many Yazooans love about Johnson is that he isn’t afraid to try new things. His menu often features items you won’t find anywhere else locally, and I think that is going to be popular not only with locals, but also with the many people who visit downtown.
The word on Main Street is that another restaurant may also be coming soon.
Tom’s on Main is the latest business to open in one of the colorful buildings downtown belonging to Paul and JoAnn Adams.
Paul and JoAnn have proven to be visionaries downtown. When they started renovating those old buildings I heard more than a few people opining that they were wasting their time and money investing so heavily into an area that seemed to be long past its prime. Today TCTI Fitness has a very enthusiastic local following, the No Smoking Smokehouse is the place to be for special events and Delta Darlins recently relocated to Main Street. Quaint Corners has opened right next door and has quickly developed an enthusiastic following for its art classes.
For the first time in a long time there is some serious positive momentum in downtown Yazoo City thanks to the efforts of a lot of people who care enough about this community to invest their time and money here when in many cases it might have been easier to pull out in search of greener pastures.
The ones who truly believed are finally starting to reap the benefits, and that’s something that all Yazooans should be proud to see.