Author Archives: Colin Krieger

Hungry for Hibachi? An Update on the New Location

GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch and Grant McLaughlin

COLUMBUS

Hibachi Buffet, late of Leigh Mall, has some news for hungry diners. They have nearly completed their remodeling work inside the old Ryan’s building at 1201 Hwy 45 S, and will soon be working on the exterior and signage. The main thing they’re still waiting on is furniture needed for the interior, which has been tied up in shipping delays. Their original plan was to open this month, but they’re currently looking at July: “We are still in the remodel, and when we open we will put it out with a post on Facebook,” owner Angela Hu said.

Rook’s Wine Cellar, 2118 Hwy. 45 N., is going out of business, and is offering a 25% to 30% sale on all items in the store; their last day will be this Saturday. “I’m 65 and we had a good run,” owner Mike Rooker said. “I appreciate all the customers, but it’s just time to do something else.”

STARKVILLE

Umble Coffee Co. will soon be opening its doors at 216 Industrial Park Road, near the Oktibbeha County Safe Room, per owner Kenneth Thomas. The business has been doing well since 2017, when it got its start as an online coffee roaster: “We have doubled our production volume every year since 2017. It just keeps going up,” Thomas said. “We wanted to have a coffee shop front to be able to showcase our coffee. But also it’s really important for us to be a place where the community can gather, because for Umble, we’re not here if we’re not people focused.” He feels that it is now time to move to a larger facility and add a brick & mortar shop so he can also sell his fine beans to more customers.

He also plans to allow for tours of the roasting facility, or simply relax and take a walk on their trail out back: “People who come to the coffee shop will be able to see the inner workings of the actual coffee production itself,” he said. “Probably not right out of the gate, but eventually, we’ll probably set up for what I call eco tours, which are like Saturday mornings where we run you through this. Just like if you went to Nashville and went to a microbrewery or distillery, and they walk you through the process.” Their plan is to open on June 2nd.

Please click here for the original article: https://cdispatch.com/news/2023-05-25/goings-on-with-grant-umble-coffee-opening-june-2-in-starkville/

Share This Post:

SDI Looking to Purchase Land for Port Use

LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. – Courtesy of the Dispatch and Grant McLaughlin

SDI proposed land purchase area is highlighted in yellow – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Steel Dynamics Incorporated has expressed their intention to purchase a 90-acre section along the Lowndes County Port Authority’s East Bank. They are a current customer of the East Bank, and, if successful, this project is projected to move some operations to this new area, even as SDI continues to utilize existing East Bank port services.

“As SDI grows, they are going to undoubtedly have the need to bring in and ship out more products via the waterway,” Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins said. “We’ve got a design of additional rail spurs that could serve the property that could allow them to load from barge to train and train to barge there. . . We’ve got conceptual layouts and cost estimates and how we would do it there.”

The proposed purchase price has not yet been disclosed.

LCPA Board Attorney John Crowell commented: “I think we’re real close to getting it tied down . . . But we don’t have a final document to execute at this point. I hope to in the near future.”

Please click here for the original article: https://cdispatch.com/news/2023-05-20/sdi-aims-to-purchase-90-acres-of-port-land/

Share This Post:

Collaboration with Liquid Wire Announced

LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. – Courtesy of WCBI

MSU, Toyota Mississippi, and Liquid Wire Inc. will soon be working together to bring the latter’s wearable circuitry technology to the workplace. LW’s products, which are also used in the medical field, consist primarily of flexible monitoring equipment that can be imprinted upon clothing to allow for remote monitoring of workers, patients, etc, so as to apprise risks to their joints and safety, so that safety problems can be addressed, reduce workplace injuries as a result of repetitive stress, and so on. The announcement was made at MSU’s Athlete Engineering Summit, held at EMCC.

“Train the next generation of workers . . . You think about in a workplace where repetitive motions industry and carpal tunnel and all these and what the engineering research is finding is that you can help people avoid these injuries by workarounds and being in shape and exercising,” said Scott Alsobrooks, EMCC President.

Please click here for the original article: https://www.wcbi.com/msu-toyota-mississippi-liquid-wire-inc-announce-collaboration-project/

Share This Post:

Leigh Mall Getting a New Look, Name

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch and Grant McLaughlin

Hull Property Group Vice President of Government Relations John Mulherin has announced that they will be renaming the old Leigh Mall to “Columbus Place” as part of an ongoing effort to revamp the structure & parking lot, as well as attract new businesses to the location. He stated that “One of the things that we’re doing is transforming the property . . . Certainly, a name change is in alignment with that because it’s just not a mall anymore. It’s going to be an outward-facing power center. So, the thought was while we’re transforming the look and feel, the name change is appropriate as well.”

Leigh Mall – Soon to be Columbus Place – Dispatch staff photo – Grant McLaughlin

He went on to say that interior demolitions of the old Zales, JCPenney and Books-A-Million are done, while exterior work has already been underway for some time on the outside face of the mall. Work on the facade is anticipated for completion in late Summer. Infrastructure and parking lot improvements are next on the list. “We should have it certainly buttoned up before we get into the Black Friday and holiday shopping season,” Mulherin said. “That’s our goal.”

“It’s the business that we’re in,” he said. “We loved the property. We love real estate. We love the community. We think there’s really no such thing as bad property, it’s only bad stewardship of property, and we certainly consider ourselves good stewards of property. As a good steward, you have to invest in your property.”

Please click here for the original article: https://cdispatch.com/news/2023-04-27/goodbye-leigh-mall-hello-columbus-place/

Share This Post:

Forever FORGEing Ahead!

Melinda Lowe stands at the entrance of Mississippi University for Women, where she worked for more than a decade before retiring from education this month. Lowe has been hired as the first executive director for FORGE Foundation –
Dispatch file photo

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Melinda Lowe recently retired from an 18-year career as a Columbus school and college administrator to take on a new, much larger role: as the first-ever Executive Director of the FORGE Foundation, a coalition made up of GTR-area construction companies who want to help local students get the training they need for future jobs in the industry. The group also forges links between the companies and area schools, in part, by arranging for special events. “I have experience and connections with educators and school districts all across the state,” Lowe said. “… Working together, we can now approach opportunities in a better manner.”

She went on to say, “Right now, our focus is helping and supporting northeast Mississippi and what that looks like.” She and others are working hard to expand the program’s reach, and they have their sights set on new chapters in cities such as Tupelo.

Please click here for the original article: https://cdispatch.com/news/2023-04-26/first-forge-director-looks-to-expand-workforce-development/

Share This Post:

I Want I Candy

GOLDEN TRIANGLE AREA, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch and Grant McLaughlin

WEST POINT

Shaneshia Davidson, owner of the I Candy Craft Bar, will be holding a grand opening this Friday at her new location at 463 Commerce St. The business began online, but she transitioned to a physical store last year; she moved to the current location in January of this year. The move has yielded dividends in the form of increased visibility and commerce: “It’s better as far as getting more business,” Davidson said. “Where it was located (before) wasn’t like a common area where people would just find me on their own. Where I am now has a higher traffic volume, especially being right next to the bank.”

STARKVILLE

The good folks over at Buff City Soap at 661 Hwy. 12 W. are growing ever closer to their grand opening on April 16. They are located right next to ALDI, and they will be offering free soap samples Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. They will be offering a wide variety of handmade specialty soaps for men and women, bath bombs, and more, with choices such as Island Nectar, Raspberry Vanilla, Cherry Almond, Sour Candy, and many more scents.

COLUMBUS

The 509 Main Street location of Gon Thai will be closing temporarily as they prepare to be taken over by new management. Owner Kannika Vonghan said, “The Main Street location is, I feel, like my home. I’ve been doing that for 12 years. So, I don’t want to let it go to something else, and [new manager Mark Kenner] wants it to continue as a Thai restaurant.” The CAFB location will remain open under current management.

Rook’s Wine Cellar 2118 Hwy. 45 N. is having a big sale. Owner Mike Rooker has announced that he is planning to sell the shop: “Right now, everything’s 15 percent off and I’m trying to sell as much as I can . . . I’m trying to get rid of as much inventory as possible. I don’t want to take it home.” He has been running the shop since 2007, and he wants to focus more on his profession as a financial advisor.

Please click here for the original article: https://cdispatch.com/news/2023-03-30/goings-on-with-grant-gon-thai-closed-new-management-coming-soon/

Share This Post:

Area Sales Tax Revenues are Looking Up!

GOLDEN TRIANGLE AREA, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Sales tax revenues are up by about 10% year-over-year for Columbus and Starkville; West Point has seen an increase of nearly 7% over the same time period. People are out there shopping and contributing to their local economies in the process.

“Fiscally, we are in a much better position than we were this time last year,” Columbus Mayor Keith Gaskin said. “I attribute that to new businesses, retail and restaurants that have opened in the area. I think a lot of people who drive in from around the Golden Triangle and outside enjoy what we have here in Columbus. I think we’re on the right path and will continue to see these numbers increase as we work very hard to bring more business and retail into the area.”

Mayor Lynn Spruill of Starkville said, “I think part of it is that people are still coming into town for our new shopping area that opened near the end of last year (Triangle Crossing). . . So I think that as well as the fact that we are just, we’re growing in popularity as a place to do business and to come in and eat and enjoy the different fare that we have.”

Triangle Crossing Shopping Center opened at 601 Hwy 12 W. in November. It features stores such as ALDI, Ulta Beauty, and Marhshalls.

Please click here for the original article: https://cdispatch.com/news/2023-03-20/columbus-starkville-see-sales-tax-revenue-jump-10-percent/

Share This Post:

Finally!

GOLDEN TRIANGLE AREA, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch and Grant McLaughlin

COLUMBUS

Ryan’s under renovation in preparation for its new tenant – Hibachi Grill – Grant McLaughlin, Dispatch staff

Props to Grant and the Dispatch for this huge news: Hibachi Buffet in Leigh Mall will soon be moving to their new digs…At the old Ryan’s location on Hwy 45 nearby! They will shut down the original location on March 24th and plan to reopen at the new place, bigger and better than ever, in May. Renovations of the space have been going on since January.

Congratulations to Friendly City Books, 118 Fifth St. N. for winning a people’s choice award in the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest. They are now qualified to be one of a hundred small businesses vying for one of ten national $30,000 grants. To celebrate, they will have 25-percent off sale of all merchandise in the store, excluding books on Friday and Saturday.

WEST POINT

Kristen Stevens is in the process of transforming the old Rose Drug Company building at 595 Commerce St. into Rose Gift Company: “I’ve always wanted to do something like this,” Stevens said. “Rose just couldn’t close because it is the cornerstone of West Point downtown. It was very important to me to keep it going.” She’s looking at a grand opening in May.

Please click here for the original article: https://cdispatch.com/news/2023-03-16/goings-on-with-grant-hibachi-buffet-closing-march-24-moving-to-ryans-building/

Share This Post:

Camels and Buffalo and Roos, Oh My!

GOLDEN TRIANGLE AREA, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch and Grant McLaughlin

CALEDONIA

African Crested Porcupine with baby. courtesy The Alexandria Zoo

Michele Griffin will soon open the doors at her new petting farm, Patch of Heavens Farm Rescue and Exotic at 1606 Cal Kolola Road in Caledonia; she is looking to be open for business by May or June: “I just have a lot of requirements that I’ve got to get up before the public can actually come to my property,” Griffin said. “I’ve got some more high fences to put up for my kangaroos. I had to have a double fence. So I’ve got all that taken care of. I’ve got to put up a couple more high fences. Just having people here on my property would be best if I put some higher fences.” Among the animals on the farm are a camel, water buffalo, African crested porcupines, and kangaroos.

“Animals are my life. I love them,” she went on to say. “I’ve always loved them since I was a little girl. I would take every animal and if I could, I would take all the abandoned animals I could find. They are like my sanctuary.” In the meantime, check their Facebook page for more info or to schedule an exotic animal visit for events such as birthday parties.

STARKVILLE

Planet Fitness will be ready to accept folks ready to get in some reps later this month; they are located at 844 Hwy. 12 in the former Gordmans building. They are targeted mainly toward people who are new to working out and who just want to improve their own physical fitness without having too much pressure placed upon them.

The Chick-Fil-A at 701 Hwy. 12 is temporarily closed for renovations for the next two weeks. They will be expanding their drive-thru section, making things easier for customers who are on the go by allowing more employees to deliver food to their cars in person. The plan is to facilitate serving more customers in less time, helping to alleviate traffic concerns on busy days. As this will occupy a chunk of the space currently used by the playground area, the playground will be removed and repurposed into additional dining space.

WEST POINT

Samantha Watkins premiered Sam’s Dream Kreations at 658 Commerce St. on Friday, when more than fifty customers showed up to shop and help her celebrate. The business began as a hobby in 2017 and has grown into something much bigger and better. The business produces items such as custom t-shirts, hats, and other crafts. “This is definitely a breath of fresh air,” Watkins said. “To be able to move around and have my own craft room. And we have a party room in the back. So it’s definitely a breath of fresh air.”

Please click here for the original article: https://cdispatch.com/news/2023-03-09/goings-on-with-grant-exotic-animal-petting-farm-opening-soon-in-caledonia/

Share This Post:

Hit the Town in Style, Grab Some Good Food, and Even Smell Nice as You Do It

GOLDEN TRIANGLE AREA, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch and Grant McLaughlin

STARKVILLE

Buff City Soap plans to open their doors by April 16 at 661 Hwy. 12 W. in Triangle Crossing, next to the Aldi grocery store. Regional Manager Elizabeth Minchew reports that this will be their 5th location in the state, and that it will offer specialty soaps for both men and women, alongside items such as shampoos and detergents.

COLUMBUS

Mita’s Himalayan Kitchen, a Nepalese and Indian fusion restaurant being out together at 2318 Hwy. 45 N. in Columbus, is on schedule to to open later this month, co-owner Sushmita Bhatta said. “I really just wanted to do something with my cooking skills,” Bhatta said. “I would cook for people and they would really like it. They would ask me all the time about it, so I just decided to take a break and cook more. . . [W]e are shaping up to open the second or third week of March.”

New men’s fashion boutique Garett + Co. opens Friday at 435 Wilkins Wise Road in the Little Woods shopping center. Co-owner Emma Newman recognized a need for more men’s clothing availability in the area: “I know firsthand what it’s like for them not to have anything to wear or they’d have to order online and then send it back,” Newman said. “So I wanted to make it where you know they could come in and find something affordable that they want to wear and they felt comfortable in.”

Downtown, the Princess Theater at 215 Fifth Ave. S. is now serving food as well and has new operating hours. they are offering new items such as pizza, wings and popcorn chicken. Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. on the weekend.

Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins speaks to the Columbus Exchange Club – Grant McLaughlin – The Dispatch

Finally, in big business news, LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins gave a report to the Columbus Exchange Club recently regarding the development of another megasite location – these are areas set up and put into place to accommodate large factories and other industries such as Yokohama and Steel Dynamics. “We bought this last megasite 10 years ago,” Higgins said.” We were working on the water and sewer 11 years ago. But had we not bought that site and watered and sewered it, we might have lost to the other states and the other communities. . .

“The fact that we owned it, had water on it and sewer around it . . . that put us lightyears ahead of the other towns.”

In education news: Having faced difficulties in the past few years in increasing the number of students there, EMCC President Scott Alsobrooks has announced that they are “going to have a big press release later this spring. The partnership with Mississippi State that is effectively going back to the Communiversity that is going to have the Communiversity at capacity.” The school’s enrollment has been steadily increasing recently, and local businesses have also pledged to send people there for training.

Please click here for the original articles: https://cdispatch.com/news/2023-03-02/goings-on-with-grant-new-himalayan-restaurant-opening-in-columbus-this-month/

https://cdispatch.com/news/2023-03-03/link-looks-for-new-megasite-options/

Share This Post: