Meet McMinnville Vol. 3: Main Street McMinnville

For Volume 3, we pick up with Katie Kemezis of Main Street McMinnville! Thank you for your contribution, Katie!

VMTN: So tell us a little bit of your story! Where are you located, what do you do, and how did this all start? Tell us a little bit of your "origin story"?

KK: I have just recently moved to McMinnville, and my husband and I are figuring out how to restore our antebellum home in the neighborhood of Westwood. The home belonged to my grandparents and mother and now it belongs to us. I grew up visiting my grandparents in McMinnville, and I think growing up in a historic home shaped who I became –a passionate advocate for smart preservation and believe in its power to build communities. I have seen how a beloved building can harbor family stories, memories, and tall tales and protect them for future generations to enjoy and connect with the past. I studied architectural history and historic preservation to learn more about how architecture shapes who we are and also how buildings reflect the values and outlook of the people who built them.

 VMTN: As you find yourself with Main Street, what do you hope to accomplish for McMinnville by way of this organization? What brush strokes do you see yourself adding to the history of Main Street with your own talents and passions? 

KK: I hope to strengthen Main Street McMinnville by building on the current base of supporters and partners. The organization provides high quality programming and resources to the community and it can do an even by job by having more people and their ideas involved in the brainstorming, developing and implementing of existing and new programs.

I also hope to return Main Street to its role as a go-to preservation resource and advocate in the community. When people have questions they feel comfortable coming to us to learn more and get connected to other resources. Preservation is a passion of mine and also I believe it can be a catalyst for community building and economic growth. Main Street should always be a place for like-minded people. 

VMTN: If there was one thing you could pick to bring to McMinnville (stores, eateries, etc), what would it be?  

KK: A locally-owned bookstore complete with café in a historic downtown building – we might not be ready yet, but I believe that a well-run local bookstore has the potential to become a community gathering place, a place for engaging different worlds and new ideas outside the mainstream, and potentially a place to spark interests in writing and other creative pursuits. McMinnville was once a cultural center in the region, and with the renovations to the Park Theater and other emerging projects, I am hopeful that support of the arts will include the written word and our local storytellers and authors. With that environment, a local bookstore could flourish and give back to the community.

VMTN: Why should folks visit McMinnville, TN?  

KK: People should visit McMinnville because it has it all – a picturesque town with historic charm and the arts, music, outdoor recreation and good shopping and dining. They could come for a weekend and enjoy kayaking, a show at the Park Theater, great food at downtown restaurants, and shopping at our local boutiques and shops.  They could go further afield to Cumberland Caverns or Isha Institute for Inner Sciences for unique adventures unlike anything at home.

VMTN: Why do you love McMinnville?  

KK: McMinnville has a rich history with colorful characters and many stories to tell if you only stop to find them. I love learning each day a new story behind the buildings in downtown McMinnville and seeing how they bring delight, nostalgia, and pride in our community today. Our history as a nursery and timber town, as a cultural center along the Barren Fork River, make this town unique and full of surprises.

~End Interview~