On March 25, during the National Main Street Conference, Washington Main Street hosted Excellence on Main, an annual event that celebrates outstanding examples of leadership and community engagement across our Main Street Communities.  Check out the full list of award winners below, and be sure to follow Washington Main Street on Facebook to see more detailed stories of our Excellence on Main rock stars—a new story will be posted on Facebook every Friday for the next several weeks.

Sayers Building, Walla Walla
The Sayers Building, which underwent a meticulous exterior restoration in 2018, was recognized with our Brick & Mortar award. The project honors Walla Walla’s rich history of specialty tradespeople; some of the contractors recently involved in the restoration recalled having worked on the building as young apprentices. Local knowledge, including preservation resources, was utilized throughout the process of restoring this key building at the heart of downtown Walla Walla.

Elmview and the Ellensburg Downtown Association
Two nonprofits out of Ellensburg were recognized for their innovative Community Partnership, which solved the intractable problem of keeping downtown plants alive during the hot summer months. The Ellensburg Downtown Association struck up a partnership with Elmview, a nonprofit that connects adults with disabilities to job opportunities, that has benefited both organizations, enhanced the appearance of the downtown district, and created new paid positions for community members.

Downtown Sounds, Bellingham
The Downtown Bellingham Partnership was recognized for their Outstanding Promotional Event – Downtown Sounds, which is celebrating its 15th year in 2019. The summer concert series has grown tremendously, but also very intentionally, over the years, now bringing approximately 3,000 people to the heart of downtown Bellingham each week. The event has stayed true to its original goals of creating equitable access to the arts, encouraging creative use of space, and fostering community.

Dia de los Muertos, Chelan
A second Outstanding Promotional Event award was given in recognition of a first-time event that was specifically designed to educate and celebration alongside Chelan’s Hispanic community. The Historic Downtown Chelan Association worked with business leaders and other partners, notably high school Spanish classes and the Todos United student group, to celebrate Dia de los Muertos in downtown Chelan. The event drew large crowds and sparked new partnerships in the community.

Goodfellow Bros., Wenatchee
A fourth generation general contractor company, Goodfellow Bros., was recognized for the Economic Vitality they have brought to downtown Wenatchee for rehabilitating the upper floors of the Dore Building, which now houses their nearly 50 Washington-based employees. The company started in Wenatchee nearly 100 years ago and their investment of two years and $2.9 million to bring this key downtown building back to active use showcase their commitment to their roots.

Water Street Enhancement Project, Port Townsend
The Port Townsend Main Street Program was recognized with our Outstanding Special Project award for their work managing a significant communication and small business support plan in conjunction with their city’s major street rebuild of Water Street, their main street, in 2018. Their plan included marketing, retail promotions, hosting our annual RevitalizeWA conference, and more. Businesses experiences significantly less losses than expected and four new businesses opened during construction.

Mario Alfaro Lopez, Ellensburg
Washington Main Street’s Entrepreneur of the Year is restaurateur Mario Alfaro Lopez. His food truck turned full-service restaurant, The Red Pickle, features food inspired by his Guatemalan roots and a community-centered atmosphere. He sources many of his products locally and is always on the lookout for opportunities to partner with fellow business owners. Mario is a fixture in downtown Ellensburg, known for his innovation, generosity, and hospitality.

Barb Smith, Kent
During her ten years as Executive Director of the Kent Downtown Partnership, Barb Smith has shown herself to embody Leadership on Main. When she retires this summer she will leave behind a stable organization with many volunteer leaders she has cultivated, led, and inspired over the years. Barb is a master of the art of leading volunteers by empowering them to be creative, productive, and focused on what inspires each of them to serve. We thank her for all she has done for downtown Kent.

Kris Nelson, Port Townsend
Our top honor of Excellence on Main goes to the unstoppable Kris Nelson, a successful entrepreneur and dedicated community advocate from Port Townsend. Her four downtown restaurants – Alchemy Bistro & Wine Bar, The In-Between, The Old Whiskey Mill, and Sirens Pub – are local institutions that employ over 70 people. Kris also finds time to serve as a volunteer leader with many community organizations, including as the Board President of the Port Townsend Main Street Program. Her dedication and work ethic make her community a more vibrant place.