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David Pendered

Tucker builds its sense of community, one holiday decoration at a time

By David Pendered

The community of Tucker is celebrating the season with a holiday decorations contest that’s a slice of disappearing Americana.

Tucker Flower Shop

The Tucker Flower Shop won first place in Tucker’s holiday decorations contest. Credit: Kevin Madigan

The contest, among downtown businesses, represents the type of community spirit that regional leaders try so hard to promote through grants and initiatives.

Tucker’s decorations contest isn’t the only one in the region – Sandy Springs will issue awards next weekend in its holiday lighting contest. Tucker’s event simply represents one of the region’s old-timey efforts to foster a sense of community spirit.

“The judges had a hard time deciding on the winners,” Honey Van de Kreke, corporate secretary-treasurer of Elrep Sales and co-general manager of the Main Street Tucker Alliance, said in a press release issued on behalf of the contest by Orotek Broadband, LLC a company that’s helping to promote Tucker.

“All the participating businesses came up with imaginative ideas that really brought the holiday spirit to downtown Tucker,” Van de Kreke said.

Custom Frame Shop

The Custom Frame Shop won second place in Tucker’s holiday decorations contest. Credit: Kevin Madigan

The press release didn’t mention that Van de Kreke has a solid reputation in the business of building community spirit. Last year, she spoke to business and civic leaders in Lithonia who were interested in forming an association to bolster the area around the Mall at Stonecrest.

“It only takes a few people to get started,” Van de Kreke told the crowd in Lithonia. “You come up with some bylaws. You get a lawyer, because you’re always going to need a lawyer. And you come up with some ideas.

“The ideas don’t have to be overwhelming. They don’t have to be all-encompassing. They don’t have to be for 30 years. They just have to be for one year. And you start on them and finish them, and then start on the next set.”

The Downtown Tucker Holiday Decorating Contest is sponsored by the Tucker Business Association, Main Street Tucker Alliance, and the Tucker Historical Society.

Village Shoe Service

The Village Shoe Service won third place in Tucker’s holiday decorations contest. Credit: Kevin Madigan

This year’s winners are:

First Place: Tucker Flower Shop, on Idlewood Road. Owner Julia McDonald was presented a check for $500.

Second Place: The Custom Frame Shop, on Main Street. Owner Kelly Holloway was presented a check for $300.

Third Place: Village Shoe Service, on Railroad Avenue. Owner Larry Schupbach was presented a check for $200.

Honorable Mention: Matthews Cafeteria, on Main Street. Owners are the Greene Family.

“Downtown Tucker is lit up with holiday decorations for everyone to enjoy,” Burke Brennan, chief communications officer for DeKalb County and president of the Tucker Business Association, said in the press release.

“We encourage Tucker residents to take the time to visit downtown as part of their holiday celebrations.”

Matthews Cafeteria

Matthews Cafeteria won honorable mention in Tucker’s holiday decorations contest. Credit: Kevin Madigan


Tucker is a community located in DeKalb County. Credit: mapquest.com


David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.


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