Joe Mahan
Joe Mahan
Local businessman and community servant Joseph “Joe” Mahan passed away Sunday, March 29.

Mahan was 50.

The owner of several uptown Hillsboro businesses, Mahan currently operated The Sugar Shack and The Mystery Shoppe on South High Street. He previously owned Bon Appetit Gourmet Shoppe & Gifts on West Main Street, which opened in 2012.

Mahan graduated from Hillsboro High School and earned a business degree from Southern State Community College. Prior to owning his own businesses, Mahan worked as a real estate agent for several local real estate companies.


Former Highland County Board of Realtors President and current State Rep. Shane Wilkin told The Highland County Press, "I was shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Joe. Joe was someone who not only wanted to see things improve in his community but got involved to help make those improvements. Joe wanted to be part of the solution not just talk about the problems. He will be missed."

An active member of the Hillsboro community, Mahan served on the Hillsboro Planning Commission, ran for city council and formerly served on the Festival of the Bells committee. Hillsboro mayor Justin Harsha said that Mahan was focused on improving the city.

“We lost a valuable member of our community,” Harsha said. “He was a successful business owner and always welcomed me in with a smile.

“He was a dedicated volunteer and was always striving to make Hillsboro a better place. We will all miss him here at the City, and I know everyone that knew him feels the same. Prayers and condolences to the Mahan family in this hard time.”

Mahan was also a member of the Highland County Visitors Bureau Board of Trustees for the past five years. Highland County Visitors Bureau and Chamber of Commerce director Destiny Bryson spoke about Mahan and his leadership as well as his giving spirit.

“All of us at the Visitors Bureau are saddened by the loss of our friend Joe,” Bryson said. “He was the type of civic leader that inspired others around him to follow his lead. He was not only a board member but a friend. We never started a conversation without him being the first to volunteer and never ended a conversation without him looking me in the eye and saying, ‘let me know if you need anything.’ He would give you the shirt off his back if that’s what you asked of him.

“I will always remember just how genuinely kind and sincere of a person he was. His infectious laugh and big smile was sure to brighten your day in uptown Hillsboro.”

His other community involvement included being a member of The Masonic Lodge #38, Eagles Club #1161 and Hillsboro Eastern Star #441 and a former member of the Hillsboro Lions Club. He also helped found the Liberty Lions Club, where he was currently serving as a secretary. The club’s president, Alex Butler, said that Mahan was an “irreplaceable” member of the organization.

“Joe was a faithful member of the Liberty Lions Club. In fact, he was a charter member,” Butler said. “For the past two years, he served as our secretary and was great at his job.

“Joe's passion was serving the community. He collected pill bottles and eyeglasses as part of Lions Club International initiatives, participated in all club activities and service projects, recruited other members and was just simply pleasant and fun to be around. He was more than a member, he was a vital part of everything we do. Joe had a big heart, a big sense of humor and a big passion to serve others. We were lucky to have him in the Lions Club, and he will be irreplaceable.”

However, many in the community knew Mahan as the former president and an active member of the Hillsboro Uptown Business Association. He began serving as president in 2014.

“Joe was very involved in uptown Hillsboro, and everyone enjoyed visiting him at his stores (especially his candy shop),” Merle Norman owner and former HUBA president Rachelle Trefz said. “Joe will be greatly missed by everyone.”

As HUBA president, Mahan helped organize a number of monthly events in uptown Hillsboro to promote local businesses. Current HUBA president Sarah Roe spoke about Mahan’s work with the organization.

“Joe Mahan was a vital part of the Hillsboro community and will be greatly missed,” Roe said. “He was a longtime member of HUBA (Hillsboro Uptown Business Association) and served as the president for several years. He assisted in planning and leading several events, such as the annual Christmas Parade, Cruise-Ins, Chocolate Walk and more.

“He was an influential person with new ideas to make the uptown thrive and gain new businesses. He loved our uptown area, and we appreciated his efforts toward a vibrant uptown environment. He always encouraged others to follow their dreams of business ownership as well. I offer my sincere condolences to his family from myself and all of the members of HUBA.”

As Roe mentioned, perhaps most memorably, Mahan organized the Christmas parade in uptown Hillsboro for several years. Bryson spoke about his dedication to that annual event.

“Among all his projects he was a part of, he always told me that the Hillsboro Uptown Christmas parade was his baby,” Bryson said. “His caring spirit definitely brought us Christmas joy for all the years he’s been in charge.”

Fittingly, a parade in Mahan’s memory will be held Friday afternoon, following funeral services at the Thompson Funeral Home. The parade will be streamed live on Facebook. Local businesses are asked to stand outside to pay their respects during the parade, and anyone who would like to be in the parade can gather at the funeral home at 2:30 p.m. Friday, April 3. The parade route will be East Main, South High, West Walnut, East North and West Main Streets, then to North High Street to the Hillsboro Cemetery.

For more information, see Mahan’s obituary at or visit to send condolences to the family.