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Anderson takes over
as president of MBPA,
sets new goals for group

By Ruth Wright
Staff Writer

MADISON, Ind. (July 2003) – Riverboat tourists, downtown events and store operating hours were just a few of the topics discussed at a recent meeting of the Madison Business and Professional Association. The organization’s president, Dennis Anderson, presided over the gathering, which included eight other members. The group meets on the first Tuesday of each month.
Originally formed in the late 1880s and called the Downtown Merchants Association, in the late 1960s the name was changed to Madison Business and Professional Association, reflective of the organization’s inclusion of all commercial enterprises within the city, both those downtown and those in the budding hilltop area. Despite a name change, the organization’s mission remained the same: “To provide an organized forum for the mutual exchange of information and ideas and, through collective resources, to help stimulate, promote, and sustain our business members; and to help foster interest and awareness to the public through sponsorship of various community events and programs.”
In January, Anderson replaced former president Rhonda Sauley. Sauley, owner of Little People’s Boutique and Fine Threads, had served as president for many years and is still active in the organization.
“I think he’ll do a great job,” said Sauley of Anderson’s new leadership role.

Dennis Anderson leads a recent meeting.

Photo by Ruth Wright

Dennis Anderson
leads a recent meeting.

“He’s been a member of MBPA, and I think he’s really interested in promoting downtown.”
Anderson and his wife, Estelle, own Cover to Cover Books, located at 209 W. Main St. The Andersons moved to Madison from Texas three years ago after visiting a daughter who lived here and falling in love with the area. “We decided we liked the climate here,” said Anderson, who was ready for a break from notoriously hot Texas summers.
In Roulette, Texas, where they also owned and operated a bookstore, the Andersons were active in the local Chamber of Commerce. Since moving to Madison, the couple have continued to devote much of their time to community service, promoting the Madison area while building a successful business; two things they know go hand in hand. In accomplishing so much in such a short time, they were recognized in May by the Madison Area Convention and Visitors Bureau with the Madison-Jefferson County Hospitality Award.
As the current MBPA president, Anderson has a few goals in mind. He would like to update the organization’s bylaws, which haven’t been revisited for more than a decade. But that objective is taking a back seat to more pressing concerns, first of which is getting more businesses involved in the organization.
“One of the things that I would really like to do is generate more participating membership,” he said. Although Anderson admitted that it’s hard for many business owners to make the meetings, he’s also convinced that there is strength in numbers. “The more people we have, the more ideas that will be generated,” he said.
For a relatively small organization, MBPA already does more for the community than many realize. Sponsoring the Christmas parade downtown is one thing. “Most people probably think the city does it,” Anderson said of the annual event.
They also put up banners and flags downtown and, in the spring, fill planters put out by the city with flowers. In the summer, they sponsor bingo as a fund raiser at the 4-H fair. In the fall they provide coffee and doughnuts at the annual tobacco auction. All these things, while done behind the scenes in a sense, are part of what the organization does to help make Madison a more attractive place to live, visit, shop and do business.
One new initiative currently being considered by the organization is the production of a shoppers’ guide that includes a list of all downtown businesses, their addresses, phone numbers and a map. Such a guide would benefit all of the businesses downtown and would be useful to visitors.
Besides Anderson, current officers of the organization include Dave Adams, secretary and Nida Eppley, treasurer.

• For more information or to join, contact Anderson at (812) 273-0522.

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