HOLLY SPRINGS • Tim and Lisa Liddy have spent their 33 years of marriage as ambassadors of the city they call home.

The Liddys have invested in Holly Springs as business owners, city government officials and community volunteers. One of their many endeavors is their involvement in the Holly Springs Main Street Chamber, which promotes economic development and historic preservation.

“We’ve been working with Holly Springs ever since we got married,” said Tim, a pharmacist. “My father taught me that for your business to be successful, your community needs to be successful.”

Tim and Lisa were encouraged to attend a lunch gathering Aug. 19 hosted by the Main Street Chamber. They met in a downtown building the Liddys own to watch the 2020 Mississippi Main Street Association awards presentation.

Part of the way through the virtual ceremony, Tim and Lisa received a surprise. They saw themselves on the screen and discovered they were among the honorees.

The Liddys were chosen as Main Street Heroes, an award that recognizes outstanding community leaders or public figures who have displayed an involved commitment to the downtown section of their cities and to their Main Street program.

“It was a total shock to me,” said Lisa, a former deputy city clerk who runs a bed and breakfast.

Christy Owens, director of Holly Springs Main Street Chamber, said the Liddys’ recognition is no surprise.

“To everyone in town, it was well deserved,” she said.

The Liddys were honored along with mayors Jason Shelton of Tupelo and Shea Dobson of Ocean Springs and Philadelphia entrepreneur Doug Hudson as Main Street Hero recipients.

“I guess it’s sort of a lifetime achievement award, which means I’m getting old,” Tim said as he and Lisa laughed.

Focal point

Holly Springs Main Street Chamber is one of 46 Designated Communities in the Mississippi Main Street Association. The Marshall County city has been a focal point in Tim and Lisa’s lives and service.

Lisa was born in the old Holly Springs hospital located not far from the historic courthouse square. Though she grew up in the Waterford community and attended school in Potts Camp, she has worked in the heart of Holly Springs. She was the city’s deputy city clerk for 25 years until her retirement in 2005.

“My whole life has revolved around the square,” she said.

Tim moved to Holly Springs in the sixth grade, graduated from Marshall Academy and returned home in 1989 to begin his pharmacy career. In addition to being a pharmacist, Tim is in his fourth term as an alderman-at-large.

Along the way they have served in various organizations and committees supporting the city’s beautification and growth. They were members of the city’s Chamber of Commerce, and then Tim served on a group that established a Main Street Association in Holly Springs in 2008.

To avoid duplicating services and volunteers, the Chamber of Commerce and the Main Street Association merged in 2012 to become the Holly Springs Main Street Chamber.

Tim and Lisa both said the city’s historical environment is treasured.

“We’ve got a very active historic preservation group and philosophy for the town,” Tim said. “A lot of towns have natural attractions like lakes, rivers, streams or mountains. We don’t have that here. We’ve got historic architecture and history.”

Lisa added, “Architecture is a big draw in Holly Springs.”

The Liddys were recognized for their renovation of a two-story building on the north side of the courthouse square. Tim said the building, which was built in the 1800s, had hosted a number of businesses, including three pharmacies during an 80-year period.

They bought the building, located at 132 East College Ave., and began gutting it. They made improvements to the front of the building and constructed a balcony on the side. Their original plan was to convert the top floor into apartments, but they later decided to make it a bed and breakfast.

The Court Square Inn Bed & Breakfast opened in January 2007. Lisa manages the day-to-day operations of the bed and breakfast, which has three suites and attracts guests for various purposes such as nearby festivals, the city’s annual tour of historic homes, Rust College graduation and Founders Week activities, and Ole Miss event weekends.

“I prefer to have that one-on-one contact with our guests,” Lisa said. “I like to ask what their interests are and when they’re coming to town so I can guide them in the right direction. I especially love it when people come here for genealogy. I really enjoy that.”

Court Square Inn was voted as “Best Bed and Breakfast” by the readers of Mississippi Magazine in its Best of Mississippi 2019 contest.

Tim said Lisa’s enthusiasm has made her a great representative of the city. “She is a very good promoter of Holly Springs,” he said.

“That’s what I’ve always enjoyed the most about it,” Lisa added, “getting to promote the town.”

While the bed and breakfast operated upstairs, the bottom floor remained unused for 10 years until the Liddys decided to renovate it. In April 2018, an event center called The Apothecary – a nod to the room’s pharmacy past – opened. Some of the old pharmacy memorabilia found during the renovation are on display in a wall case in The Apothecary.

“We decided to make this a facility for banquets, receptions, meetings, parties and music,” Tim said.

It was in The Apothecary where the Liddys found out they were among this year’s Main Street Heroes. Like Lisa, Tim had no idea they were being nominated for the award.

“When they interviewed us for some information, they were hinting they were nominating us for a Restoration Rehabilitation award. Main Street does that, too,” he said. “We’re honored to receive the Main Street Heroes award.”

Owens said the Liddys’ commitment to Holly Springs reflects the four-point Main Street approach of design, economic vitality, organization and promotion.

“We are so proud and pleased for them,” Owens said. “We have a lot of citizens who are preservation minded and based. Tim and Lisa are among those, and we were glad they were honored. The work they’ve done on their building is beautifully done and in keeping with the time period of the building. It’s a lovely job, and we’re so proud they decided to invest in our square and in downtown.”