Earning Accolades

Madison Main Street Program presents its annual awards

Webb is honored for Margie’s Country Store longevity

(March 2020)
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Don Ward

(March 2020) – Margie’s Country Store has been in business for 48 years in downtown Madison, Ind., and has become a longstanding destination business that annually attracts many customers. The store specializes in quilting supplies, but it also offers a wide array of kitchen wares on display in the basement. The assortment of household products, gifts, and kitchen gadgets is a welcome addition to the business mix downtown – and one of Madison’s best kept secrets.
The person behind this successful business is nationally known quilter Margie Webb. And as a result of her longevity in business, Webb on Feb. 27 was presented with the Business Legacy Award by the Madison Main Street Program during its annual Gala. The fundraising event and cake auction was held at the Red Bicycle Hall and drew more than 100 people – mostly Main Street business owners and members of the program.
The Legacy 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. Webb said she was honored to be recognized for her achievement.

Photo by Don Ward

Margie Webb receives the “Legacy Award” Feb. 27 from last year’s winner, Trevor Lytle of Lytle Welty Funeral Home, during the annual Gala fundraiser in Madison, Ind.

“I will start my 49th year in business in March, and I couldn’t have done it without the love and support of Madison,” said Webb upon receiving the award.
She joined four other award winners that night, but the Legacy Award is considered to be the most special.
The Business Innovation Award was given to Jane Vonderheide, who in April 2018 opened her House of Jane, which consists of a barber shop, art gallery and music venue for her innovative songwriters sessions. The Innovation Award is presented to a business that has opened, expanded or added new products or services during the past two years to meet market needs. Vonderheide’s business venture was considered by the Main Street board to be a great example of the strength, persistence and creativity needed for an innovative business to succeed.

Photo by Don Ward

Jane Vonderheide of House of Jane addresses the audience upon receiving the Business Innovation Award.

Like many barber shops of old, Vonderheide lives above the shop, and last fall, she opened her second-floor apartment to the public during the Main Street Loft Tour. Both the shop and her apartment feature her original artwork as well as the occasional traveling art exhibit.
“Everything has just happened by magic,” Vonderheide said upon receiving the award. “A lot of it has not been my ideas, but things just sort of worked out.”
The Business Excellence Award was presented to John and Lori Heitz, who in March are expected to open their fifth business on Madison’s Main Street – Red on Main, a fine dining restaurant at 122 E. Main St. in the former location of Bistro One. The Heitzes also operate Red Pepper Deli, Red Pepperoni, Red Peppermint and the Red Roaster Coffee & Eatery in Madison.
The Business Excellence Award is presented to a business open for a minimum of two years that exemplifies excellent business practices.

Photo by Don Ward

Tracy Youngblood accepts the Business Excellence Award on behalf of her employers, John and Lori Heitz. Molly Haggerty (left) of Mane Attractions presented the award.

Tracy Youngblood, a six-year manager of Red Pepperoni, accepted the award on behalf of the Heitzes, since the winners were busy working out the final details of their newest venture. Youngblood said the new fine dining establishment will feature filet mignon, salmon and other dishes and feature a full bar. “It’s going to be really nice, and we are all excited about it,” she said.
The 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 year’s award was presented to Andrew Forrester, the former Community Relations Manager under the late Madison Mayor Damon Welch. Forrester made an unsuccessful bid for mayor last year, losing in the Republican primary to Bob Courtney, who then went on to win the general election for mayor last fall against Democratic challenger Julie Berry.

Photo by Don Ward

Andrew Forrester receives the “Tribute Award” Feb. 27 from last year’s winner, Kim Nyberg of the Madison Area Arts Alliance, during the annual Gala fundraiser.

Meantime, Forrester accepted the position of Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for  Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and now works in Indianapolis while traveling to many communities throughout the state.
“Andrew gave much more to Main Street than was required by his position with the city,” said Kim Nyberg, last year’s winner of this award who made the presentation to Forrester. “He was a member of our local Main Street committees, and attended state and national Main Street conferences. He responded to our reasonable (and sometimes unreasonable) requests on an almost daily basis, and came up with innovative ideas for grants and  projects. He was, in effect, our ‘go to’ person.”
Forrester also led the way on the America’s Best Communities, the Stellar Communities, and the city’s comprehensive plans – all of which have helped inform Main Street’s work plan, Nyberg said.
“While we miss him, we know he is on to bigger and better things. We wish him the best in his new role and want this award to be a ‘Thank You’ to Andrew for all he accomplished through the city’s partnership with Main Street.
Upon receiving the award, Forrester said, “It’s an honor to receive this award and to work with all of you. This plaque has my name on it, but it’s never been about me. It’s been about Madison – to get us where we are and where we need to be in the future.”
In addition to the awards presentation, Madison Main Street Board Director Valecia Crisafulli noted the program’s accomplishments over the past year, including the opening of several new businesses in the downtown and sponsorships of the Music in the Park series and the Loft Tour. She also introduced newly hired Main Street Executive Director Austin Sims. And she recognized that 2020 is the 40th anniversary of the National Main Street Program, with Madison being one of its three original pilot communities.
In addition to Crisafulli, this year’s Main Street Board consists of Vice President Randy Lakeman, Secretary Happy Smith, Treasurer Nicole Schell, Deb Fine, Beth Lewis, Allyson Sullivan, Colleen Sutton, Koko Heath and Laura Hodges.
The Madison Main Street Program is an arm of Indiana Main Street and a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Center and is one of more than 1,200 Main Street communities across the country united with the common goal of preserving America’s historic downtowns as economically vibrant parts of the community. Madison’s local organization boasts approximately 200 members, supporters and volunteers.

• Don Ward is the editor, publisher and owner of RoundAbout. Call him at (812) 273-2259 or email him at info@RoundAbout.bz.

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