Downtown Buda business receives statewide honor

The Tavern on Main in Buda was named the winner Nov. 8 of the Texas Downtown Association Best Downtown Business award in the category of towns under 50,000 people.

Over 100 entities and businesses entered the competition across 12 different categories from communities across the state, said Maggie Gillespie, Buda Main Street Manager, in a press release.  

According to the press release, the Best Downtown Business category recognizes an “exceptional downtown business that positively promotes the downtown or commercial district as a destination for locals and tourists alike, and actively participates in the revitalization efforts and supports downtown promotional events.”

“Awards such as the Texas Downtown Association President’s Award bring state-wide recognition to the community’s efforts towards a revitalized downtown,” Gillespie said.

Julie Renfro, owner of Tavern on Main, was shocked that her business won in the towns under 50,000-population category.

“Just being a finalist in that category was such a surprise, I was in shock that we won,” Renfro said.

Musician Bretting Engel performs with others at Tavern on Main’s outdoor patio in 2015. The downtown Buda business has become a hub for live music performances. (Hays Free Press file photo)

Renfro, who opened the doors of Tavern on Main in 2012, is an active member of the community and participates in city council meetings, local Buda events and is a member of the Texas Main Street Advisory Board.

Gillespie said there were only four local Buda businesses that were nominated for the award by the Main Street Advisory Board members.

Gillespie said Renfro, as a member of the Main Street Advisory Board, abstained from the nominations process since her business was suggested for nomination.

“As we (Buda) grow, we will continue to nominate our businesses because we want to showcase all the hard work these individuals and groups have done,” Gillespie said.

Concerned citizens wait for presidential election results at the November 2016 election watch party at Tavern on Main. (photo by Moses Leos III)

The finalists in each category were announced Sept. 14 in Austin.

On Nov. 8, the winners of the Texas Downtown Association awards were announced at the President’s Awards Gala held in conjunction with the 2017 Texas Downtown Conference in McKinney Texas.

Gillespie said one of the assets of the award is the success it leads to for the downtown area. One of the positives of becoming a Main Street designated city, a title bestowed on Buda in 2016, is the city can now track the progress in the central downtown district, Gillespie said.

The impact of becoming a Main Street city has been felt in Buda.

From January to September 2017, over $700,000 has been reinvested in Buda and 11 businesses have opened or expanded, with 38 new jobs created.

Renfro said she wants the Tavern on Main to be a place where everyone can go to have discussions on any subject, even politics and religion, while they enjoy some of the staples on the menu.

“I worked really hard to get and keep the quality of the food way up,” Renfro said.

Whatever the secret sauce of success is made of at Tavern on Main, Renfro attributes winning the prestigious award to a community effort by the customers, the staff and the vendors, not just a solo show on her part.

“As far as I’m concerned it’s absolutely a community effort of customers, staff and vendors as well as a fabulous location, great building and a great town that make Tavern on Main an amazing place,” Renfro said.

Gillespie agreed with Renfro that it takes a team effort to revitalize a town’s historic district and bring it into the 21st Century.

“Revitalization does not happen overnight; change is incremental and the best kind of revitalization happens when it stems from the community and that is what we have here in Buda,” Gillespie said.

Gillespie predicted the future of Buda’s downtown will incorporate more stakeholders.

“The future will continue to incorporate stakeholders to enhance our downtown while at the same time, making the conscious effort to maintain our historic roots,” Gillespie said.

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