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Tallahassee's "Downtown Mayor" Is Retiring

A smiling man sits outside at a table with a sign in front of him that reads "INFO BOOTH."
Debby Stubing
Allen Thompson, ready to answer questions from Tallahassee Downtown Market vendors and visitors.

Certainly, one of Tallahassee's most fashionable citizens is the city's Director of Downtown Experience, Allen Thompson. But Now Thompson is retiring from the job after 21 years. Thompson's most visible - and perhaps most personally fulfilling responsibility - has been running the popular Downtown Market.

"I'm going to miss it! It'll be one of those things where you'll put your hand out looking for something and it won't be there. But I'll come back. I'll be down here to visit with my friends the vendors and our guests who have been regulars. Over 20 years the market's been going on. I love it and I've had a good time."

He said his boss, Downtown Improvement Authority head Elizabeth Emmanuel is shopping for a successor.

"She's looking, but we also have a young man... who's been helping us out here at the market. The vendors have a really good relationship with him, and he has stepped up to take on the baton here at the market as the day manager. So, the market will continue for the rest of the year for sure–and on and on."

Despite his city job retirement, Thompson said he'll keep on and on as well. He plans to devote a lot more time to his furniture restoration business, run out of a small shop in Railroad Square. Although he'll also show up downtown from time to time sporting his dapper tropical suits, hats, and bow ties.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

Find complete bio, contact info, and more stories. here.