Author Archives: Colin Krieger

Tasty Mediterranean Fare and More Coming to the GTR

Courtesy of The Dispatch


Klaasroom owner Tyler Klaas has announced that he will be opening Boardtown Pies and Pints at 705 University Dr in Starkville in September. The new venue, located below the Vista Apartments, will offer brick-oven pizzas, slow-roasted gyros, and beer on-tap.

Starkville Ford-Lincoln on Hwy 182 was recently acquired by Cannon Motors of Mississippi. The dealership will remain a Ford-Lincoln shop, however, the new owners are planning to expand their inventory and hire at least 15 new employees in order to accommodate the expansions to their service center/body shop over the next few months.

“We’re excited about being in Starkville,” Michael Cannon, President of the parent company said. “We feel like this is one of the best areas in Mississippi and we hope to reach all car-buyers throughout the Golden Triangle.”


Friendly City Mini Warehouse has expanded its holdings, having recently purchased New Hope’s Magnolia Mini-Storage units on Beatty Rd and Hwy 69 S. Existing customers’ leases will continue uninterrupted. This brings the total number of units owned by FC to 168, across four locations.

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Harvey’s Veteran Reminisces on Her Ongoing Career

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Thirty-three years ago, Clara Hicks went down to a relatively new downtown restaurant called “Harveys” in order to answer a Help Wanted ad: “I just went to the unemployment office and they told me, and I went down to talk to John Bean,” she recounted. She’s still there to this day.

“She’s kind of like our MVP,” said Harveys Columbus Executive Chef Jonathan Boyd. “Everything kind of goes through her. I could go on and on about how many items she preps. Her hands touch more product in this building than anyone else.”

Clara Hicks celebrates her 33rd anniversary of employment at Harveys Restaurant in downtown Columbus this month – She joined the staff about one year after the Harveys location opened its doors.
Photo by Jennifer Mosbrucker – Dispatch Staff

One of 11 children, Columbus native Hicks first learned to cook from her mom, whom she described as “a great cook.” Her sisters did the same, and have ended up cooking in local eateries, themselves.

Hicks delights in passing on the knowledge that she and others have accumulated over the years: “I play a major role in leading when all the new people come in; I have to show them the ropes,” she said. “They ask me a lot of questions.”

Ashley Wilson, HR Director for the Eat With Us Group, was once one of her protegees: “I started out as a server (at Harveys) in 2011,” Wilson explained. She worked with Hicks. “Miss Clara is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet. You can ask her a question 15 times and she’s gong (sic) to give the same sweet answer.”

Harveys General Manager Pat Donahue remarked that “She’s been a phenomenal part of our success. She’s the kind of person you just love to have on your staff because she cares so much about it.”

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The Ups and Downs of Construction in Starkville

Starkville – Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News

New construction is booming in the Cotton District, with hopes of bringing in plenty of new stores and jobs in the future. Some existing businesses are faring better than others, however.

Two Brothers and Bulldog Burger have stated that their sales are doing well despite the widespread changes to the neighborhood’s look. On the flip side of the coin, the venerable City Bagel will close their doors for good as of June 23rd.

General Manager of Bulldog Burger Ian Few noted that they initially had concerns about the extensive changes in the area, as they only had “15 spots in [their] parking lot” to begin with. Unexpectedly, their sales went up, perhaps due to curiosity about the business and residential construction in the area. The story was similar at Two Brothers, located nearby.

On the other hand, City Bagel’s Ty Thames said the construction created issues with their restaurant’s parking lot, such as obscuring its entrance and having construction cones taking up parking spaces outside of the lot: “People figured out getting into City Bagel was a hassle,” Thames said. “And they didn’t want to do that.”

He went on to say that, while they expected some losses due to construction, the lack of business has been so severe that he can no longer turn a profit: “There becomes a line in the sand,” Thames said. “And, unfortunately, we crossed it. We have a great staff. That’s the hardest thing for me.”

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GTRA Adds Fourth Delta Flight to Atlanta

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Delta Airlines recently implemented a fourth GTRA-to-Atlanta round trip flight in order to ease congestion on its existing flights and to give consumers a new option for that trip. Conveniently timed, the flight will arrive at 1:15 PM local time each day, and leave for ATL at 1:45 PM. The existing flights will remain, leaving at 6:30 AM, 10:15 AM, and 5 PM daily.

GTRA Executive Director Mike Hainsey
(Dispatch photo)

Travelers, especially businessmen, expressed their delight at the addition of the new, more convenient flight option:

“It’s really convenient to be able to get a flight you can catch in the afternoon,” engineer Stephen Saine said. “A lot of times, you wind up wasting a lot of time just waiting for a flight, especially when you’re flying out of smaller airports.”

Management comments that this should also ease the burden on other flights headed in that general direction, as well, helping patrons in multiple ways: “I think it’s going to reduce the over-booking we have,” GTRA Executive Director Mike Hainsey said. “I also think some of the other flights will be less crowded. It’s another option for our customers. This new flight means you don’t have to take an early flight to get where you are going at a decent time.”

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Seafood and Snowballs and…Insurance?! Oh My!

GOLDEN TRIANGLE, MS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Andy Hubbard, AHI Insurance – Courtesy photo

In Columbus, we have two insurance vendors – One is new to town, the other has moved to a new location.

The latter is AHI Auto-Home Insurance, which has shifted from Brickerton on over to 402 Wilkins Wise Road Suite 6 as of last week. Andy Hubbard, the founder of the agency, says that they simply outgrew their original location.

The former is Kristin Tate with Alfa Insurance, 3908 Hwy. 45, offering auto, home, life, and business insurance.

Both agencies are open from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday

Pass Christian’s Gulf Seafood Connection has begun a new venture – bringing fresh-caught Gulf seafood up to Starkville and Columbus on a weekly basis. They are known for their fresh shrimp, oysters, crabmeat, and fish, having been around since 1977.

PCSC uses FaceBook groups to place orders and to let their customers know when and where to pick them up – typically at a local business. To place an order, head on over to the appropriate FaceBook group: Columbus Gulf Seafood Connection or Starkville Gulf Seafood Connection.

On the group page, GSC Director Michael Broussard will make “delivery coming soon” posts, and customers can place their orders by commenting on there with the products and amounts they wish to buy.

Starkvegas Snowballs will soon have a second location at 113 B Martin Luther King Dr in Starkville. They have had so much business at their main Cotton District location (216 Lummus Dr) that they have been able to open the second store, to feed more customers and help them get a treat out of the summer heat. They plan to open up by July 1st, and both will be open fro, March thru October from 2 to 7 PM.

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Memphis-based Company Purchases Burkhalter Rigging

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch


Barnhart Crane and Rigging Company of Memphis, Tennessee, announced Wednesday the company has purchased the majority of Columbus company Burkhalter Rigging. 

Burkhalter, 2193 Hwy. 45 S., opened in Lowndes County in 1973 and specializes in moving heavy equipment for petrochemical, power, civil and marine industries worldwide. It has facilities in both Columbus and Rosharon, Texas.  

Columbus company Burkhalter Rigging, located on Highway 45 South, is being sold to Memphis-based company Barnhart Crane and Rigging, Barnhart announced Wednesday – Dispatch file photo

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Ribbon Cuttings and More in Starkville This Week

Courtesy of GDSP: e-view – STARKVILLE, MS

There are a bunch of events going on in Starkville this week, including some ribbon cuttings. Why not brave the heat and welcome some new businesses into town?

Hopper Properties and Troy Allred (Shelter Insurance) held their ribbon cuttings recently, to great success! Upcoming ribbon cuttings include Midtown Starkville at 401 University Dr: Wednesday, June 5 at 4PM; and 39759 Nutrition at 450 Hwy 12, Suite B: Thursday, June 13 at 11AM.

Friends of Noxubee Refuge have several events coming up soon: at the Sam F. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge. On Thursday, June 6, at 5:45PM, they will hold an indoor picnic supper — sandwiches and drinks will be provided, but guests are encouraged to bring a dish to share. It will be followed at 6:30PM by a Presentation by Dr. Joe Bumgardner about how to take better nature pictures. They have events on June 8 and 15, as well.

National Donut Day is this Thursday, June 7. Salvation Army stores will have free donuts (while they last!), giveaways, and special discounts. They are also always looking for volunteers to help run their shops. This could be a great opportunity for students in need of community service hours.

Later in the year, the MS Horse Park will have a live remote viewing of the Paul Gallo Show in their showroom from 6-9AM, along with breakfast; also, a presentation from Dr. Keenum during the 7’oclock hour.

Please click here for the full listing of events.

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Communiversities Like CMTE Making a Difference

GOLDEN TRIANGLE, MS – Courtesy of The Atlantic

The Golden Triangle of Mississippi — the ambitiously industrializing northeastern region including Columbus, West Point, and Starkville — is serving as an example to other areas on how to do things right. Among the many ambitious projects in of the area is the soon-to-open Center for Manufacturing Technology Excellence, or CMTE, out by the GTR Airport – aka “Communiversity.”

The Mississippi Communiversity is the culmination of multiple counties and government bodies all working together in order to produce and maintain a college-level educational campus that focuses on credit-based industrial know-how, including training for local college students to help them fill the ever-increasing list of jobs created by local industry.

Among others, the minds behind the project include: East Mississippi Community College (EMCC) just outside of Columbus; Starkville’s MS State U; area high schools; county, state, and federal government; the GTR LINK; private businesses with factories in the GTR Region, as well as a crowd of local individuals, businessmen, entrepreneurs, and more.

In the new Communiversity, a helicopter, for training in the aerospace program. An Airbus subsidiary builds helicopters for the North American market in a nearby factory. (Courtesy of East Mississippi Community College)

Working together, these organizations arranged for funding to the tune of over $42.5 million for the campus, much of which came from county & state bonds, as well as funding from the federal Appalachian Regional Commission.

EMCC vice president for workforce and community development, Raj Shaunak, commented that, over the past 15 years, EMCC has trained about 25,000 people — “and about 12,000 of them are currently employed in advanced manufacturing in the Golden Triangle area . . .” at companies such as Yokohama and Steel Dynamics.

“I think many of us are worried that the American economy is doing half of its job,” Jan Rivkin, of the Harvard Business School, said after an HBS team visited the Communiversity site in the fall of 2017. He added: “[The economy] is benefitting large companies and those who work for and invest in them, but it is not supporting working middle-class Americans. Rural communities are really struggling.

Yet here in the Golden Triangle, we see something very different going on: a community that is coming together to create broadly shared prosperity and great manufacturing jobs. We came here to learn. We came here to see what is going on that is special, and to figure out what we might apply to other settings in other communities.”

A mural in the about-to-be-opened Communiversity, earlier this month
(James Fallows – The Atlantic)

Finally, Shaunak had this to say: “This is a way we can give people in a distressed area new family-sustaining opportunities. . .This is a way to help them realize their American dream.”

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Lemonade Day 2019 Coming Soon!

GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Brooke Washington, 11, set up a lemonade stand and did well for herself as part of last year’s Lemonade Day: “She did really good and she did her own thing last summer by herself,” Brooke’s mother, Yolanda Washington said. “She did a good job and made lots of money. This year she wants to do something different. She’s making regular lemonade and pink lemonade.”  

The success of last year’s event in Starkville has caused it to spread to Columbus and West Point this year, allowing many more young entrepreneurs to take part; over 200 children have signed up so far, and organizer Jeffery Rupp says that he’s hoping to have over 300 by the time registration closes this Saturday.

“Planning and running a lemonade stand teaches kids important business and financial literacy skills,” said Doug Robertson, Columbus president for Cadence Bank, in an emailed statement. “Thinking responsibly about spending and saving at an early age sets the stage for success. By applying skills like budgeting, calculating net profit and repaying debt, participants can put real-world math skills into action. We are excited to serve as a Lemonade Day sponsor and to empower entrepreneurship among tomorrow’s business leaders.” Cadence Bank offers interest-free loans of $50 to participants, all of which were promptly paid back last year.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for young kids with an entrepreneurial spirit to learn the basics of business,” Barbara Bigelow of Columbus Main Street said. “They learn about business plans, how to handle money, they understand the importance of paying bills and they learn to give back to the community. … They are very excited about it. I would encourage everyone to visit as many kids as they can, sample some lemonade and let them know how good it is. After all, they are our future leaders.” 

Angelica Vaughn helps her daughter, Ka’nia Lucious, put a top on a lemonade cup for Joe Fountain while his mother, Amy, watches.
Dispatch file photo

Last year, Ka’Nia Lucious, 9, set up shop on Main Street near Starkville Cafe and brought home around $100 in profit. Armed with the knowledge and experience she earned then, she hopes to make more this year and donate some to her church.

“We ask that kids spend some because they earned it, save some because that’s what you should do and share some because you should also always give back to the community,” Rupp said.  

To sign up for Lemonade Day, go to

Rupp said lemonade stands hours and locations may vary. Go to to see where the stands are.

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Businesses New and Old in Starkville, Columbus

GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch


Kim Moreland, of Moreland Inc. recently purchased the old Christy’s Hamburgers building, and plans to renovate the space in order to lease it out to a new business in the future: “I’m just going to try and give it a face lift and make it look better on (Highway) 12,” Moreland said. “We are planning on starting renovations next week. We are not going to lease to another restaurant. It will be for commercial retail or office space.” Christy’s originally opened in Starkville in the 1980’s; they also briefly had a Columbus location, which closed in 2014.

Owens Outfitters, an archery and outdoors store, has opened for business at Middleton Court on Hwy 12. The shop is located in part of the old Sports Center. Their hours of operation will be Mon~ Sat, 9AM~6PM.


Construction is currently underway at 1807 Hwy. 45 N. for indoor playground center Kidz-N-Play. The plan is to open up in July with a wide variety of centers and activities for the kids to enjoy, while keeping them out of the sometimes-brutal summer heat.

“I wanted to bring back something to my hometown,” entrepreneur Eryn Jackson said. “When we leave Columbus, we don’t put something back to it. When I was little, there was nothing for me to do except play basketball. If it’s not softball or basketball, I wasn’t going anywhere. There’s just not a lot of things for kids to do between 1 and 8 years old. That’s an important time for kids to interact. I wanted something I could put my heart into.

“A lot of kids can’t afford a big playroom,” she added. “They can come to Kidz-N-Play and play with that nice kitchen they wanted for Christmas.”

Shifting our focus to downtown, Second Ave Nutrition will host its grand opening on Saturday. Michael and Rachel Womack, owners, will run the loaded tea store at 424 Second Ave. N. Hours will be Saturday from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. for the grand opening. Normal business hours will be Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

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