Dr. Stephen F. Pearson loved the city of Henderson and worked tirelessly to help with revitalization efforts. Patrons of Sadie’s Coffee Corner and visitors who travel Garnett Street in cars or on foot will now see a tribute to Pearson’s enthusiasm and dedication for downtown development.
A group of local officials and community leaders gathered Tuesday morning as Pearson’s widow, Amanda, and his son Corey cut the ribbon to officially name the parking area and adjoining greenscape in memory of Pearson, who died from cancer in March 2021.
In remarks to the group during the ceremony, son Corey said it was hard to believe that just a few years ago, he and his dad were riding around the area in an RV when they passed “an unlikely gun shop.”
“That’s the spot,” Corey said, recalling his father’s comments. “We’re going to turn that into something.”
And that’s how Sadie’s Coffee Corner came to be in the building at 324 S. Garnett St. that once housed Gupton’s Sporting Goods, Inc.
“I wish I could have his vision,” Corey said. “He loved everyone here and he loved this town,” adding that he wants to keep his dream alive and keep his vision going.
“He saw the possibilities and potential of our downtown and had a vision of how to bring them to fruition,” said Downtown Development Commission Director Tracy Madigan. “His low-key enthusiasm and drive were infectious,” she told those gathered for the occasion. “(He) created the momentum and excitement that we’re feeling today,” Madigan said.
Where others saw empty storefronts, Pearson saw potential. He wanted to make sure not only that Sadie’s was successful, but that the downtown area become successful. Pearson jumped in with both feet, joined the DDC board and soon became chairman.
“He inspired others to get involved,” she noted. “We have a great little oasis right here in the middle of town,” Madigan said, all inspired by Pearson and his vision for revitalization.
City Manager Terrell Blackmon said Pearson was a person committed to service – serving others and serving the community. But he was a self-proclaimed “disrupter,” someone who didn’t want things to be done the way they’ve always been done.
The “parklet” installed by a local volunteer gardeners’ group, now enhances a corner of the lot that adjoins Sadie’s at the corner of Garnett and Orange streets.
Amanda Pearson said her husband was the public speaker, not her. “I know that he would love this,” she said of the recognition bestowed on her late husband. “He loved this town so much.”