HANFORD — Main Street Hanford announced Thursday that the organization is parting ways with Shelly Johnson, who was the executive director of the nonprofit for eight years.

Johnson was in charge of the two-person team that organized 27 downtown events every year, including the popular Thursday Night Market Place. She was hired in 2009 after nine years of working with the Reedley Downtown Association.

A statement from the Main Street Hanford board of directors reads: “Effective November 30, 2017, Shelly (Talbert) Johnson has left her position as Executive Director of Main Street Hanford after eight years of service. The Main Street board of directors and everyone associated with Main Street thank Shelly for her hard work and accomplishments and wish her the best.

"Effective December 1, Michelle Brown will become interim Director and will serve in that capacity until the board completes its search for a new executive director.”

Davis Taylor, secretary of the executive board of directors, said Main Street will conduct a nationwide search for a new executive director that will begin soon and run through about mid-January. Taylor is also the publisher of The Sentinel. 

Steve Bannister, president of the executive board of directors, said an application should go online through the National Main Street organization’s website within the next week.

Taylor said the organization will look for someone with experience running similar downtown operations and can “hit the ground running.”

“We want to make sure we find the right person,” Bannister said.

For now, Taylor said Main Street will continue to focus on the future. He said the past year has been good for the organization, with record-breaking attendance and ticket sales to events, and there are even talks to add more nights to Thursday Night Market Place.

Bannister said National Main Street — a larger organization of which Main Street Hanford is a part — is also rolling out a new approach to downtown revitalization that he looks forward to adopting.

“We’re looking to make 2018 a really productive year,” Bannister said.

The reporter can be reached at 583-2423 or jzavala@hanfordsentinel.com

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