By Conrad Dudderar
Yukon artists displayed their talents while nine awards were presented to Main Street supporters during “A Palette of Progress” this week in downtown Yukon.
The Yukon 66 Main Street Association presented its awards and recognition festivities on April 26 at Paintin’ Place Alley just east of the S 5th Street creative crosswalk.
Individuals and businesses who have contributed to Yukon Main Street’s revitalization efforts over the past two years were recognized during an invitation-only outdoor reception.
Guests enjoyed a casual evening featuring live acoustic music by Brantley Cowan, local art displays, a “minute masterpiece” created by attendees, and heavy appetizers.
Presentation of Yukon Main Street awards highlighted the fun event.
The program was emceed by Yukon 66 Main Street President Judy Austin, Board Member Cherie Logan and Yukon Main Street Director Vicki Davis.
“You all have something to do with downtown and Main Street – whether you’re a volunteer, a business owner, a board member, or a supporter through finances,” Davis said. “We just want to take a moment to appreciate you – and each other.”
Yukon 66 Main Street’s board president thanked everyone who attended Tuesday night’s reception.
“This is wonderful; it’s fun to be outside finally,” Austin said.
Local Main Street awards were presented in four categories – design, promotions, organization, and economic vitality.
“Main Street works off of a four-point approach to downtown development,” Davis said. “Each of those ‘points’ becomes a work group, or committee.”
- Building Rehabilitation – Red Bird Coffee House
Red Bird Coffee House, in partnership with property owner Crabtree Homes, transformed the historic Mabel C. Fry homestead at 812 W Main from a vacant, abandoned property to a thriving coffee shop and café that quickly became a Route 66 destination. The rehabilitation featured the removal of a badly remodeled facade and entry, installation of an interior service counter, seating and lounge area, added seating on an outdoor patio, and recreated front porch.
- Façade Rehabilitation – Ron Bohannan Insurance Agency
Ron Bohannan Insurance Agency, 331 W Main, brightened up their corner of Main Street with fresh paint and new awnings on the property’s exterior to enhance Yukon’s historic downtown commercial district.
- Outstanding Volunteer – Stephanie Hale
Stephanie Hale served on the Yukon Main Street from 2017-21 and was named 2021 Board Member of the Year by the Oklahoma Main Street Center. While serving as Design Point chair, Hale established a beautification fund to raise money for the creative crosswalk completed in January 2021, facilitating the design, artist selection and installation of the public art project. Other projects Hale has spearheaded include a Downtown Planting and Cleanup Day, Adopt-a-Bench program and Walk the Route. She was instrumental in expanding the Yukon Salutes banner display to include first responders. Hale owns Urban Oak on 66 Boutique, 454 W Main.
- Spirit of Main Street – Shelli Selby
Shelli Selby, who serves as Yukon’s mayor, is a member of the Yukon Main Street board and the Design Point chair. Selby embraces a “shop small and local” campaign on a personal and public level and is involved in nearly every activity and event hosted in the downtown district. Selby’s passion to beautify downtown Yukon is evident as she is often seen picking up litter along Main Street.
- Premier Partner – Carpenter’s Ace Hardware
Carpenter’s Ace Hardware, 405 W Main, has been a downtown anchor for more than 45 years. Owner Buddy Carpenter’s support of the Yukon Main Street program is consistently a behind-the-scenes, “whatever-you-need” approach. From providing supplies and sponsorship for events to jumping up to assist with unloading and setting up for an event, or even rescuing a sidewalk booth from the rain, Carpenter is always looking out for others and helping Yukon Main Street and its volunteers on the street.
- Best Business Branding – Urban Boondocks Market
The walking brand image of Urban Boondocks Market, 115 W Main, is its Boho-chic, retro-hippie and part-cowgirl rocker. Owner Desiree Reid’s business design and use of logo effectively convey Urban Boondocks’ vibe, service and product.
- Most Effective Social Media – MainStreet Marketplace
MainStreet Marketplace’s social media page, which has nearly 25,000 “page likes”, highlights diverse products and various booths at 429 W Main, promotes downtown activities and events and often recognizes other downtown businesses.
- Best Destination Business – Green Chile Kitchen
Green Chile Kitchen, 12 E Main, has long been acknowledged by Route 66 travelers for their cool vibe and incredible, unique fare. Visitors from across Oklahoma and the U.S., as well as several other countries, often have Green Chile Kitchen on their “must stop” list as a result of effective tourism marketing.
- Outstanding New Business – Grady’s Green Room Music Shop
Grady’s Green Room Music Shop, 440 W Main, opened in October 2020 bringing retail activity to a property that had been vacant for many years. This new business quickly became an important connector on the block, generating business-to-business foot traffic in an area where businesses had become individual destinations. Grady’s Green Room brings a diverse customer base and product mix to downtown Yukon.
THAT’S NOT ALL …
Past Yukon Main Street board members recognized during the April 26th A Palette of Progress reception were Kim Stuart, Ashley McClung, Linda Ramey, Terry Martin, Stephanie Hale, and Sherry Poage.
Poage, McClung and Hale previously were named Board Member of the Year.
Poage was Yukon Main Street’s board president from 2016-20, including when the program didn’t have a director before Davis arrived.
“She kept us going for a long time,” Austin said.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma Main Street Center Director Buffy Hughes acknowledged four Yukon Main Street award accomplishments:
2020 Best New Business of the Year (winner) – Urban Boondocks Market
2020 Best Creative New Event (top three finalist) – Cruise-In for a Cause
2020 and 2021 Best Premier Event (over 1,000 attendees) – City of Yukon’s Rock the Route
2021 Best Creative New Event (top three finalist) – Czech Christmas Market
2021 Best Visual Merchandising (top three finalist) – Grady’s Green Room Music Shop
Tuesday night’s recognitions ended when Yukon Main Street director Davis accepted a bouquet of flowers acknowledging her tireless efforts leading the Main Street program.
Board Member Logan referred to Davis’ leadership and direction.
“We’ve come a long way in the last few years,” Logan said. “Vicki keeps us going and she keeps us doing so much.
“Yukon Main Street is alive and well, and businesses are thriving.”
Davis, in accepting her gift, closed by saying “I love my job … Main Street is my mission!”