Mad Paddle Brewery among this year’s Madison Main Street award winners
Mane Attractions, Lytle Funeral Home
also collect awards
(April 2019) – Small business owners in downtown Madison, Ind., most likely did not follow their entrepreneurial dreams with the goal of winning any awards. But that’s exactly what happened for a few business people on Feb. 28 when the Madison Main Street Program presented its third annual awards at a fundraising dinner held at Red Bicycle Hall.
More than 100 people attended the event and took part in a buffet dinner and subsequent cake auction, which raised $1,610 for the nonprofit organization.
Photos by Don Ward
Above, Jerry Wade accepts the Innovation Award for his converting a former feed mill into Mad Paddle Brewery. Below, Kim Nyberg accepts the Tribute Award. She led Madison Main Street Program in its early years.
Victoria Perry, the program’s executive director, opened the program and noted that in the past year, there were 38 new jobs created in the downtown by the opening of eight new businesses and six expansions. She also announced that the commercial building vacancy rate had significantly dropped over the past two years, saying, “When I became the executive director (in 2017), the vacancy rate was 25 percent; the vacancy rate is only 6 percent now.”
The Madison Main Street Program each year sponsors a free, monthly, summer concert series at the Broadway Fountain and monthly “Fourth Friday” open house late shopping nights, which begin in April, among other events. The concert series kicks off in June and runs through September.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of four awards. Incoming board president Valecia Crisafulli, who heads the program’s Business Growth Committee, introduced last year’s winners in turn, who each presented this year’s award winners in their respective categories.
• Innovation Award. Last year’s winner, Bob Maile of Rembrandt’s Wine Bar and Gallery, presented this year’s Innovation Award to Jerry Wade, who in December 2018 opened Mad Paddle Brewery at 301 West St. with his brother Larry. The award is presented to a business that has opened, expanded, or added new products or services during the past year to meet market needs of downtown Madison.
“This is a business that we’ve been hoping to see downtown for a number of years,” Maile said. “As one of the first brewing cities west of the Alleghenies, Madison brewed great beer from 1823 to 1918. For the next hundred years, on just about everybody’s ‘wish list’ for businesses they’d like to see in downtown Madison, you would find a microbrewery at or near the top of the list.
“From his first introduction to Madison, Jerry has demonstrated creativity, commitment and enough ‘cussedness’ to get the job done right. He held a contest that yielded the great name and logo for Mad Paddle; renovated an underutilized historic building to become a downtown destination; and partnered with other groups and festivals to market the beer months before he was ready to open. He’s created a buzz about Mad Paddle throughout the region — which we hope will last long into the future. Not to mention the fact that the beer is really good.”
Upon receiving his award, Wade said he was pleasantly surprised, and that he had spent the day moving into a home he had just purchased on East Second Street. He noted his expansion plans are in motion to open the second floor tasting room and eventually add a food option.
• Business Excellence Award. Last year’s winner of this award, Rhonda Sauley of Fine Threads and Little People’s Boutique, presented this year’s award to Mane Attractions Salon. This award recognizes a business open for a minimum of two years that exemplifies the best business practices. Sauley said Mane Attractions is a good exampled of a “third place,” a term sociologist Ray Oldenberg first used to refer to a hangout spot, community center or “home away from home” that provides an essential zone outside of home and work.
“In many communities, that is assumed to be a bar like Cheers or a coffee shop. But it can be any type of business, and here in Madison, we have a great ‘third place’ at Mane Attractions Salon. The minute you walk in the door, you are made to feel like family. Owner Tonya Schmidt and her team have worked hard to design a beautiful space, offer highest quality products and services, and take care of their clients. According to one satisfied customer, their motto is always ‘We’ll make it right.’ They use the most up-to date, computerized business practices; invest in continuing education and training for staff; and regularly sponsor events in the salon that complement other downtown activities.”
Sauley said that in addition to the retail salon, Schmidt has renovated the second floor for a luxurious spa experience, and last year she and her husband, Dave, moved into an apartment space upstairs, putting the historic Main Street building into full use and adding two more residents downtown.
• Tribute Award. This 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. Last year’s winner, Cara Fox of Little Golden Fox, presented this year’s award to Kim Nyberg, who as founding director “has been the face of Main Street in Madison for more than 20 years,” Fox said.
“You’ve probably heard of the TV show, ‘Better Call Saul,’ where you’d better call him because he can fix it and get the job done. Here in Madison, for all things related to Main Street, you’d better call Kim. She has the institutional memory of Main Street and is the one to call when you have a question about the history of Main Street in Madison.”
Fox described Nyberg’s expertise in building design, one of the national Main Street Program’s central goals. And although Nyberg has a new role today as executive director of the Madison Area Arts Alliance, “she still makes time to volunteer on Main Street’s Design and Business Growth Committees, and recently spearheaded the design makeover on Mulberry Street,” Fox said. “She also ensures that Main Street and the Arts Alliance
identify every opportunity to partner on projects like the switch boxes and art banners.”
• Legacy Award. This award goes to a business that has been in downtown Madison for at least 25 years and has met a distinct market need in the community. Last year’s winner, Greves TV and Appliances owner Randy Greves, presented this year’s award to Trevor Lytle of Lytle Welty Funeral Homes & Cremation Service. Greves noted that customer service provided by Lytle Welty has been essential to creating a community in Madison where people choose to live for the rest of their lives.
Lytle Funeral Homes was founded by Andrew H. Lytle in 1920 and is currently in its fourth generation of family ownership. Brye Welty recently joined the ownership team, helping ensure the continuation of this legacy business for generations to come. Lytle Welty is distinguished not only by its longevity and reputation, but also by its continuous and generous support for community events and endeavors, Greves said.
“This business ‘pays it back’ to Madison in countless ways, and we are grateful to have had this legacy business in our downtown for almost a century.”
Earlier in the evening, Crisafulli told the crowd that the board is still working on finding a company to re-establish a grocery store in the downtown with the closing last year of Ruler Foods on Second Street. A grocery store was by far the most desired goal that emerged from a December survey of downtown residents and business owners conducted by an outside consultant for Madison’s’ Main Street.
“The grocery store is still our top priority,” Crisafulli said. “But it’s an uphill climb.”
She also added the board has come to realize an important lesson in its effort to fill commercial building vacancies.” We learned that you can’t recruit new businesses if your existing businesses aren’t doing well. So we need you to support our local businesses.”
During her brief remarks at the outset of the evening, Perry introduced the 2019 Main Street Board, which includes Crisafulli (Envision Jefferson County director) as president; Deb Fine (Cocoa Safari Chocolates) as past president; Nicole Schell (City of Madison Planner) as treasurer; Amy Smith (401 Botanicals) as secretary; Beth Lewis (Olde Tyme Marketplace); Janet McIntosh (Bad Apple Mac’s restaurant); Allison Sullivan (German American Bank); Michelle Sanchez (Hoosier Hills Realty); and Happy Smith. She also thanked three who were stepping off the board this year: Larry Newhouse, Sandy Palmer and Mindy McGee.
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