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Updated: Apr 19, 2023

Madison Main Street Announces 2023 Award Winners

2023 Award Recipients

On Tuesday, April 11th, a lively crowd gathered to celebrate the downtown business district at the Historic Eagle Cotton Mill- Fairfield by Marriott. The eighth Annual Gala & Dessert Auction hosted by Madison Main Street Program (MMSP) featured an awards ceremony, followed by the popular auction of 25 desserts created by Madison residents and business owners. The dessert auction is a fundraiser for the non-profit organization.

MMSP Board President Hilary Beall welcomed guests and kicked off the evening before Mayor Bob Courtney spoke of the growth Madison and Main Street have experienced. Executive Director of the Madison Main Street Program, Austin Sims, spoke about MMSP and successes from the past year. In 2022, 23 new businesses opened in downtown Madison, over 2,000 volunteer hours were recorded by 147 unique volunteers, several events, and programs, 46 approved farmers market vendors, 4 hands-on preservation-based workshops, and over 70 new jobs created by new businesses and active, existing businesses in downtown Madison.

Each year, four awards are presented:

The Innovation Award goes to a business that has opened, expanded, or added new products or services during the past two years to meet market needs. The 2023 award recipient was Chandler Morris with Morris on Main. Chandler, owner of Morris on Main, is always thinking, always working, always smiling, and always innovating.

The Business Excellence Award is presented to a business that exemplifies excellent business practices. This year’s award recipient was Beth Lewis with Olde Tyme Marketplace. Since 2019, Olde Tyme Marketplace has set a high bar. With over 160,000 Instagram followers and almost 70,000 followers on Facebook, the business is a national destination. Beth is always willing to share her business savvy with others and mentor new business owners.

The Judy George Tribute Award is presented to an individual or individuals who have gone “above and beyond” their regular job in service to Madison’s Main Street district. This award is named after Judy George, a long-time Madison business owner, and a connector. This year’s recipient, Larry Ricci, started Madison’s Rainbow River Club in 2019. This is a monthly social gathering of the LGBTQ+ community in Madison. Main Street businesses compete to host this event, which draws LGBTQs and friends together in love and support. We are proud to celebrate the lifestyle and social diversity of Madison and to celebrate the eight LGBTQ-owned businesses that have opened downtown.

The Legacy Award is presented to a business that has been in Downtown Madison for at least 25 years. This year’s Legacy Award went to Thomas Family Winery. This business has not only provided food and beverages to Madison residents and tourists but continues the theme of bringing people together in a unique way. Steve and Elizabeth Thomas chose downtown Madison to create their legacy for the past 28 years.

Madison’s historic downtown district is economically vibrant, with shops, restaurants, and nightlife serving residents as well as many tourists and visitors. With several events organized annually, we ensure the investment in our non-profit mission is measurable and promotes all things local.

Our volunteers get things done! MMSP is made up of a volunteer-based board and committee leadership. Paid staff follows through with the initiatives and day-to-day organization that is strategically planned by the volunteer base. Madison was one of the first three original Main Street pilot communities in the United States in 1977. Madison Main Street is designated by Indiana Main Street as a nationally accredited community in the Main Street America Program. The local organization spearheads many projects that assist businesses and bring people downtown, including Music in the Park, Girls’ Weekend, the Main Street Loft Tour, and many more.

Thank you to the 25 cake and dessert artists who donated their time and talents to support the auction following the awards. Thank you also to the 25 individuals and businesses who purchased desserts and supported Madison Main Street Program. And another special thank you Bill Barnes for donating his time as this year's donation facilitator. We could not have had this event without his help!

Madison Main Street Program

Austin Sims | Executive Director

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