Main Street Batesville (MSB) has selected Mandi Curtwright as its new executive director. Curtwright will replace the last executive director of MSB, Shannon Haney, who was recently promoted in the Arkansas National Guard. Haney will continue to have an active role in the program on a volunteer basis.
“I’m excited to take on the role of executive director of MSB. It’s an opportunity to continue the work to preserve the history and help shape the future of my hometown,” stated Curtwright.
Main Street Batesville is a non-profit organization, certified by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program and the Main Street America national association with a mission to revitalize downtown Batesville, through economic development and historic preservation.
Curtwright grew up in Pleasant Plains, attended college in Batesville, and has called Batesville her home for the past 12 years. Curtwright brings experience in marketing, graphic design, business management, and fundraising, and she and her husband, along with Joe and Janelle Shell, are co-owners of the historic Melba Theater located in downtown Batesville. She and husband Adam have three children.
Curtwright served as a board member of MSB from 2012-2017 and has been actively involved in marketing and promotions for the organization.
Mandi Curtwright / Image via Main Street Batesville
“Main Street has been a large part of my life for quite some time now. When the downtown economy was declining, my husband and I along with the Shells, took ownership of the Melba Theater,” Curtwright added. “We knew that it would be risky, but we felt confident that renovating the historic movie theater would give an overall boost to the downtown area during a time when it needed it the most.”
Even with the astounding success of the downtown district and MSB, there are still areas in need of improvement, and she said she is up to the challenge.
“Downtown can sometimes feel too quiet,” she said. “I’d like to see more full-time residents living in mixed-use buildings, more retail variety to help drive foot traffic and visitors to the area, and more utilization of downtown’s event venues.”
Suzanne Magouyrk, president of the board of directors for the MSB, said she is looking forward to working with Curtwright.
“Talking with her, I can always feel the energy and excitement,” Magouyrk said. “We are sad to be losing Shannon as our executive director, but she will be around to work on some projects. Mandi has agreed to step in, and already has some great ideas.”
Those include special “shop local” and dining promotions, formally honoring downtown business leaders in a community setting, enhancing marketing, advocacy and educational opportunities for businesses on Main Street Batesville, and additional parking.