Henderson Main Street: Charming downtown with friendly atmosphere
Jo Lee Ferguson
Dec. 27, 2017 at 7:35 a.m.
Updated Dec. 27, 2017 at 7:35 a.m.
When James and Jon Nicholson were looking for a place to live out their retirement plans, they found Henderson.
James Nicholson is a fashion designer who once worked in Dallas and New York, and they’re both master florists who had opened a store in New Orleans. They found it was too busy. They wanted to settle down and found their answer in Henderson and the 96-year-old Rayford Florist & Gifts.
“We drove downtown and fell in love with the old building,” Nicholson says of the store’s more than 100-year-old home at 123 E. Main St. in downtown Henderson.
In the four years since they purchased the store, Nicholson has become an unofficial leader of efforts to organize downtown shop owners and promote the city’s Main Street. He maintains the Facebook page “Shopping Downtown Henderson Texas.”
“The downtown has a very different feel to it than a lot of downtowns. It is the heart of Henderson,” he says, describing the range of stores in downtown Henderson — high-end men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, small restaurants, gifts, antiques and more.
“We all pull together,” he says. “There’s a since of community, a sense of heritage, and it goes back to, we understand that if one store is really doing great, we can all pull together and do better. We’re actively pursuing that.”
Good shopping, with beautiful restored buildings and a friendly atmosphere. That’s what makes Henderson’s downtown a place to visit, says Judy Lewis, the city’s Main Street coordinator.
“It’s good to be here,” she says, reciting the driving motto behind the city’s downtown area. Henderson has been a Texas Main Street City since the 1980s.
“We’ve worked many years with lots of improvements downtown,” Lewis says. “Currently, it is a beautiful – and I like the world charming – charming small town. It has that small-town, friendly atmosphere.”
It also has renovated historic buildings, made possible by building owners “who have a lot of compassion and pride in making that downtown area beautiful,” Lewis says.
The city holds its annual Syrup Festival downtown each year, and Christmas activities and events organized by the business owners themselves provide more reasons for people to visit downtown. On Feb. 10, the city will host a gumbo cookoff, with a beer and wine garden, and a zydeco band from 5 to 9 p.m.
In the past year, Henderson added a “pocket park” downtown, with seating, umbrellas during the summer, landscaping and public restrooms. It’s located near the city’s public library, and offers a place for people to sit down and read a book, Lewis says. Heritage Park also is located downtown and features several historical markers.
The Depot Museum, including the Children’s Discovery Center, is located just a few blocks outside of the nine-block Main Street area. Restaurants invite people to enjoy a meal downtown.
“We don’t have any chain restaurants downtown,” Lewis says. “All of these are independently owned by people that live in Henderson. They’ve been around for a while.”
Then, there are the shops, a couple dozen retail stores, gift shops, and antique and vintage stores.
“We have several buildings that have been beautifully, historically correctly renovated,” Lewis says, noting the renovation of the Citizens National Bank building back to its 1930s appearance is particularly worth seeing.
“To me, it’s one of the highlights downtown,” Lewis says. “However, there are other outstanding buildings that have been beautifully renovated.”
Insurance, attorneys and financial services offices, along with barber shops and hair salons round out downtown Henderson’s offerings.
Henderson, Lewis says, advertises itself as the “Heart of East Texas.” It’s right in the middle, an easy drive from just about all of East Texas.
James Nicholson says people from Longview, Tyler and Nacogdoches shop in Henderson, and he’s heard them remark about how they long for their towns to offer the kind of shopping opportunities found in downtown Henderson.
The stores in downtown Henderson work hard not to carry the same lines of merchandise, with a number of them stocking their stores with products made by local residents.
“We’re taking the whole community with us,” Nicholson says.
Here’s a look at some of the businesses and organizations located in and near downtown Henderson
- 111 E. Main St.
- (903) 657-3587
Rayford Florist & Gifts
- 123 E. Main St.
- (903) 657-2285
- Clothing, antiques, home décor
- 110 E. Main St.
- (903) 722-0841
North Marshall Antiques
- 108 N. Marshall St.
- 103 N. Jackson St.
- (903) 722-9091
The Curious Wren
- Antiques, vintage dolls and toys, kitchen spices
- 123 S. Main St.
- (903) 655-1234
Merle Norman Cosmetics & 101 Boutique
- 304 S. Main St.
- (903) 657-3569
- Christmas wonderland, home décor, silk flowers
- 112 E. Main St.
- (903) 655-2240
Special T’s & QC Jewelry Boutique
- Custom tees, clothing, spirit items, jewelry
- 107 E. Elk St.
- (903) 657-3521
Rachelle’s and Foxx III Salon
- Ladies clothing, shoes, jewelry, salon
- 121 E. Main St.
- (903) 657-2297
- Antiques, vintage Christmas, one-of-a-kind items
- 112 N. Marshall St.
- (903) 657-2332
Earl’s Men’s Shop
- 116 E. Main St.
- (903) 657-6535
- Office supplies, custom printing and signs
- 211 S. Main St.
- (903) 657-1649
- < href="http://hendersonquickcopyprinting.com">hendersonquickcopyprinting.com
Kelly B’s on the Square
- Antiques, clothing, lunch, sweets
- 128 E. Main St.
- (903) 392-8288
Faith’s Fashion World
- Women’s clothing, accessories
- 120 N. Marshall St.
- (903) 714-9149
- 119 S. Marshall St.
- (903) 657-9600
Hillbillies Vintage Heaven Antiques & Collectables
- 112 S. Main St.
- (903) 649-3149
Sweet Pickin’s Antique Market
- 113 S. Main St.
- (903) 780-2476
Peterson’s Home Furnishings
- 124 N. Marshall
- (903) 657-5315
Margaret & Ophelia’s Antiques & Uniques
- 100 N. Marshall St.
- (903) 392-8260
Revive Salon and Children’s Boutique
- 114 S. Main St.
- (903) 646-6290
- 101 N. Jackson St.
- (903) 657-3706
- Extension bar and makeup studio
- 122 N. Marshall St.
- (903) 722-0734
Mane Street Salon
- Salon and yoga
- 114 E. Main St.
- (903) 738-2086
Bahama Mamaz Tanning Hut
- Tanning, clothing
- 119 S. Main St.
- (903) 392-8846
Tracy Arnold Massage Therapy
- 116 N. Marshall St.
- (903) 452-2308
MoJoe’s Coffee Café
- 106 W. Main St.
- (903) 392-8200
Brick Street Grill
- 201 S. Main St.
- (903) 445-6161
- 119 S. Marshall St.
- (903) 392-8036
- 101 S. Calhoun St.
- (903) 722-1512
Depot Museum and Children’s Discovery Center
- 514 N. High St.
- (903) 657-4303
Henderson Civic Theatre
- 122 E. Main St.
- (903) 657-2968
Paint with Pizzaz
- 104 N. Marshall St.
- (903) 646-9155 (by appointment)
- 102 N. Marshall St.
- (903) 658-1616