The City of McKenzie celebrated its award for Small City Progress on the evening of Sept. 15 at 6 p.m. in downtown Veterans Park.
The park was filled with vendors and townspeople who came to enjoy the evening of festivities. There was free food with giveaways, etc.
“Our great city departments, all of our businesses, industries, civic clubs, schools, churches and wonderful citizens are the reason McKenzie was chosen over 340 other cities for the statewide award,” said Mayor Jill Holland. “The success of our entire community is because of all of you and what you do for McKenzie, that made this possible.
The mayor showed a short video that was shown when the award was presented and noted that it is being shown statewide as a recruitment tool for business and industry.
She recognized each of the city departments who she pointed out that without their work ethic, knowledge, and vision this award would never have been possible. “These employees don’t say, ‘That’s not my job’ but instead it’s always, ‘what else do you need and how can I help.’” said the mayor. “Each of them has contributed to our celebration today, so be sure to visit their booths and tables.”
Recognized were: McKenzie Fire, McKenzie Police, Public Works, Water/Wastewater, Parks and Recreation, and .General Government.
Many businesses and industries gave away free food and items- such as free hot dogs, drinks, desserts and chips from the area banks.
Special tribute was paid to three businesses and their owners who have recently retired or are in the process of retiring and who have contributed to the success of McKenzie. Among them they have a total of 133 years in business. Each of them have run successful businesses and are the embodiment of what a successful business is.
All three business owners, Dr. James Padgett, dental practice; Marvin Newman of McKenzie Auto Parts; and Linda Coleman of HeartWorks were presented a framed key to the city.
Dr. James Padgett opened his general dentistry practice in February, 1974.
In January, 2016, he decided to become semi-retired and closed his general practice and opened Pro-Dentures and Emergency Care until he decided to fully retire this month.
In Dr. Padgett’s words,”For 48 years, I loved coming to work everyday, because I love people. My patients became my friends. I want to thank everyone who trusted me with their dental care. I love McKenzie and I always will.”
McKenzie Auto Parts was opened by partners Marvin Newman and Charles Hudson at its current location in 1971. It began as a Gold Star Franchise, and changed to Carquest in 1974. Mr. Hudson sold his partnership to Mr. Newman in 1983, and retired. Marvin’s sons, Rusty, Carey, and Joseph worked in the store and formed a partnership with their dad. Rusty began working in 1982 while still going to school. Carey worked on Saturdays in 1993 while in college at Murray State, and Joseph started in 2003 while at Jackson State, and then in 2009, moved to East Tennessee entering another line of work.
Carolyn Seavers has been the secretary for the past 40 years.
There have been a variety of changes experienced through the years since 1971. Mr. Hudson had a route of garage customers through the surrounding counties which he serviced while Mr. Newman manned the store, delivery service has increased over the years. Before computers, they looked up parts in a catalog, and hand wrote the orders and receipts.
Being a locally owned business for 51 years, they have enjoyed supporting McKenzie area activities, especially the schools and summer athletics. They were privileged to sponsor a Carquest T-Ball team for 37 years.
Mr. Newman stated, “We appreciate the many loyal customers and friends we have made through the years.”
For 34 years, Linda Coleman’s Heartworks has been the go to place for gifts, home décor including paint and wallpaper, custom framing, shadow boxes, prints, paintings, craft and needlework supplies and floral designs. Linda and her husband, Keith, have had a great and unique partnership as they worked together on so many redecorating and renovating projects throughout our city.
Linda was born and raised in McKenzie, and she and Keith have four children, 10 grandchildren, and 9 great grandchildren.
The city of McKenzie is blessed to have had these 3 individuals make the decision to open their business here. As their businesses grew and became successful, so did our town. It was their work ethic, their sound financial management, and their vision that greatly contributed to their success.
However, I think the key factor in their success was stated in the resumes that each turned in and that is- their love for their customers and our community. This says it all and this is what it takes.
“Congratulations, and we wish each of you the very best in your retirement,” said the mayor