Jeff Jobe – Glasgow, Barren County
Established in 1799 as the seat of Barren County, Glasgow, like many communities throughout Kentucky, formed its commercial district around the heart of its downtown, the courthouse square. Washington, Race, Green and Main Streets configure the square, and over the years, the buildings on these four streets catered primarily to government and the legal profession.
The closure of factories that paid good wages in the 1970s, put Glasgow, population 14,900, in the top ten poorest cities in Kentucky for several years in a row. The historic buildings with businesses that once thrived downtown were shuttered and threatened with condemnation.
When newspaper publisher Jeff Jobe moved to Glasgow in 2003 and located his business on the square, he became an eyewitness to the slow decline, which inspired him to research downtown revitalization and visit communities with successful downtowns to learn the strategies they took to reinvented themselves. He discovered a key component was having anchor businesses that attracted both locals and visitors as a destination.
In 2017, when Jeff purchased a popular landmark known as Yancey’s, it became one of the first buildings on the square to be renovated in decades—which proved to be a turning point for downtown. The 1892 building, renovated in 1929 as Yancey’s, had sat empty in a state of disrepair for 15 years when he bought it and converted it into two thriving businesses, Yancey’s Gastropub Brewery and The Vinyl Lounge, which opened in 2018.
Capitalizing on Kentucky themes for his food, craft beer, wine, bourbon and venue, the entertainment attraction of Yancey’s, along with the existing Plaza Theater and South Central Kentucky Cultural Center, formed the anchors needed to make downtown Glasgow a thriving destination.
In 2019, Jeff purchased a former church built in 1929 on a side street to the square and converted it into apartments. That same year, he became a founding member of the Glasgow Downtown Business Association, which became a catalyst for downtown revitalization.
Since opening Yancey’s, more than 30 buildings within one block of the downtown square have been either purchased, repurposed, repainted, repaired or reinvented; and as of August of this year, there are more than 25 new businesses within two blocks of the square that weren’t there in 2018.
While there was a team of people who worked hard to transform Downtown Glasgow, it was the vision, research and leadership of Jeff Jobe that served as the catalyst to make the square a destination.
For his outstanding dedication to historic preservation and exceptional work as a catalyst for revitalizing Glasgow’s main downtown corridor, Jeff Jobe received the 2023 Preservation Kentucky-Tim Peters and Lois Mateus Excellence in Making a Difference on Main Street Award.
The award was presented to Jeff Jobe by award namesake Lois Mateus.