The former location of Cattlemen’s Restaurant in Columbus, at 301 Tuscaloosa Road, is under new ownership. Joyce Alexander, with over 30 years of restaurant experience, has just opened Joyce’s Country Kitchen in that building. It will be open for a country-style breakfast and a lunch buffet on weekdays, and a breakfast buffet on Saturday mornings.
Monograms Plus on Hwy 45 N has begun its moving sale in preparation for them to do just that; the sale will last for the next two weeks or so. The company will be transitioning to a purely online business model.
“We’re excited about this transition and this new phase in the journey,”
Gable said. “We hope these last few weeks will be enjoyable for our
staff and our customers as the holidays are approaching, and everyone is
in the mood for shopping and finding the perfect gift.”
Everything must go, including the fixtures, so head on down to Monogramming Plus for some great deals! They’ll be open open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Onin Staffing recently opened its doors to help workers find jobs. They’re located at 6683 Highway 45 Alt. S., and they’ll be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
East Mississippi Community College has announced that it will be bringing in a new president early in 2019. The newest officeholder is to be Scott Alsobrooks, vice president of economic and community development at Pearl River Community College in Poplarville. His predecessor at EMCC, Thomas Huebner, resigned his position in May.
Incoming EMCC President Scott Alsobrooks
“We were methodical and tried to do everything we could to get a great pool of candidates,” EMCC Board Chairman Moore said. “I think we accomplished that feat. Now we have, what I perceive is, the right man for the job. We felt like he was the best candidate of those that we interviewed to serve as our next executive leader as president.”
“He has approximately three decades of experience, some in industry and some in the community college environment,” Moore said. “He’s knowledgeable of all aspects of a Mississippi community college. He’s an excellent communicator, a documented innovator and he’s not afraid of any challenges. I think he will be a great leader for our institution moving forward.”
“I’ve watched what’s been going on in the Golden Triangle,” Alsobrooks said. “The (manufacturing) renaissance that you have is just really amazing. When I was a student in the ’80s, between Starkville and Columbus, it was just cow pastures. Now, you drive through there and you’ve got all these big manufacturing plants and they’re making helicopters and engines and just all kinds of advanced things. I’m excited about coming up here and being a part of that and helping students be successful.” “The Communiversity is going to be a huge asset in the community,” he went on to say. “I’m excited about … getting to work.
“I look forward to showing the opportunities to people and letting them know what we have available at East Mississippi.”
Sudduth Elementary first graders Gianna Russell and Sirita Chanachai build with plastic cups in their Makerspace Friday afternoon – Mary Politz, The Dispatch
Sudduth Elementary librarian Leslie Hunt helped to bring a Makerspace to the school – an area filled with myriad materials that can help to inspire young minds to build, solve problems, and even get some learning in without them even realizing it. “I just started thinking, it would be awesome to have it all in one room for everyone to utilize,” Hunt said. “(The kids) love it with just being creative and it helps them with behavior issues. It is amazing (because) some of the kids … have had difficulty doing certain things, but in here it’s kind of like everyone is on the same level.” she also noted that students tend to get more creative and imaginative when using simpler materials such as plastic cups and unsharpened pencils.
First grade teacher Mya Floyd said that she makes an effort to book a weekly session in the Makerspace weekly whenever possible. “It helps them analyze and work on communication,” Floyd said. “The communication skills they learn here, they take that back to the classroom in academics. They’ve started working better together in both reading and math and are even helping each other. I love bringing them here … We talk about things that aren’t academic in here. I ask them about their family and weekend, and I get to tell them about myself, too.”
Hunt isn’t the only educator who is helping to bring the concept to local schools. Brandi Burton, Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District grants and innovative strategy specialist, has been working on expanding the program throughout the district: “Maker movement is pretty much across the nation, and we wanted to bring that to Starkville,” Burton said. “The libraries are supposed to be the hub of each of the schools, so that’s where we started.”
Librarians from each of the SOCSD schools met recently to discuss the project. The current hope is to bring a Makerspace, in at least some form, to every school in the district by the end of the school year. For campuses that are short on space, this may simply be a cart packed to bursting with materials, but it’s a start. Burton went on to say, “I think it’s so important for us to join this movement, so that the kids that are hands-on learners and out-of-the-box thinkers, that they have just as much of an advantage as the students that are just academic … We just need to make sure we have opportunities for every type of learner, and with the things that will be available in these spaces, every type of learner will be catered to in some way.”
Many local stores have been doing gangbusters as the holiday season roars into full swing, thanks to the special services they provide and the superior customer service they offer – And THAT’S Good for Business!
Sarah Barefield, manager at The Purple Elephant on Wilkins Wise Road in COlumbus, reports that their customers come for the great pottery items from Mississippi crafters, and leave delighted by the staff’s impressive skill at gift-wrapping.
“We do a great job gift wrapping,” Barefield said. “A lot of people come and shop just for our gift-wrapping. We also just try to be as nice as possible. . . It was just better this year. We were very happy with the customers that came in, and if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be here.”
Gloria Herriott, owner of Hollyhocks in Downtown Columbus, credits the strong economy: “Small businesses know when it’s real. We’re off to a really good Christmas season. People have more money to spend and they feel comfortable spending it.”
Main Street Director Barbara Bigelow had this to say: “I’ve had great responses from our merchants from both days — Black Friday and Shop Small Saturday . . . We certainly appreciate people supporting them. It’s so good for our economy. Everything we spend with our local merchants, of course, stays in our community and it feeds our economy. That’s always good for the community. It’s just important to keep your money local.”
In Starkville, George Sherman’s clothing store on Russell Street did well, despite the Egg Bowl being in Oxford this year. His Black Friday sales were such a success that he will be extending them through the end of the month of Novermber.
“We specialize in service. We really talk to our customers and find out what their needs are and meet those needs,” Sherman said. “We were pleasantly surprised. . . Shop local, because those dollars turn back to the community.”
The Lodge, an apparel store, fell a bit short of expectations, but they still did quite well for themselves. Owner John Hendricks said, “You just can’t beat that football traffic.” he went on to say that customers still poured in to purchase Egg Bowl victory t-shirts and cowbells for the holiday season.
“We’re very excited about the holiday season,” Hendricks said. “We always hope (people) shop locally because it affects local people.”
GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch
Hungry for some fresh, piping hot cinnamon buns? Then head on over to Big Buns and More, a cinnamon roll bakery at 332 Hwy 12 W in Starkville. The bakery just held a Grand Opening lately, and is already bringing in rave reviews from locals. Hours: Tue~Thu 7:30am – 5:30pm, Fri 7:30am – 10pm, Sat 8 – 4.
Once you’ve had your fill, work off some of those delicious calories at Orange Theory Fitness. The new gym had its own Grand Opening recently; they’re located at 401 University Dr, and they offer one-hour fitness classes every day from 5 a.m.-6:45 p.m. Better yet, your first class is free to new members!
Head Over Heels clothing shop and boutique’s newest location at 450 Hwy 12, Ste B, has just opened for business. They’re open Mon~Sat from 11 to 6.
The Flower Company plans to open up shop at its new, bigger location at 401 E Lampkin St in the next few days. They plan to be open from 9 to 5 Mon~Fri, and Sat from 9 to 1, starting this Monday.
423 Main St now plays host to Faith Salon and Faith Fabulous Boutique! They are in business and ready to go; they currently offer mainly women’s clothes and services, but they will be adding both men’s clothing and new employees soon! Open Tues~Sat from 9 to 6.
Party and Paper has closed its doors, but owner Susan Mackay will hold the Grand Opening of her new shop, Impressions by Susan this evening (Thursday, Nov 1) from 4 to 7 pm. It is located at 424 Main St. The shop will be open for business Tues~Fri from 10 to 5.
The former location of Front Door/Back Door and Old 82 Restaurant at the corner or Catfish Alley and Main St is up for sale.
Andy Johnson, CEO of Bank of Vernon, has announced that they plan to open a new branch – only their second outside of Vernon – on Bluecutt and Chubby Drive in Columbus. No date has been set, however. The bank first opened in Vernon, Alabama in 1911 and made it through the Great Depression. In 2017, it opened up in Caledonia, which is currently its only other branch outside Vernon.
Aaron’s on 45, a rent-to-own place, has moved its inventory over to its Starkville location at 424 Hwy 12 W and shuttered its local building.
The Uniform Center has opened for business at 443 Wilkins Wise Road in Columbus. New owners Leroy and Pam Lacy moved the business from Highway 45.
Belk on Hwy 45 N just recently held its Grand Re-opening this past Wednesday after extensive renovations. They are listed as #14 out of their 150 division stores.
Hoover’s Bakery in West Point has re-opened its doors! They will open at 5 AM Tuesdays through Fridays, closing not long after lunchtime. So, bring your appetite and be sure to wake up bright and early!
The Columbus-Lowndes CVB Tourism Partners recently gave a preview of the (still under construction) Terry Brown Ampitheater to a number of its members. Pjase I of the construction was completed in 2007, but Phase II is still pending funding to the tune of $2.5 million needed to complete the project. It is hoped that it will be ready to rock by early to mid 2020.
City engineer Kevin Stafford provides details of the plans for the Terry Brown Amphitheater during a tour of the facility Tuesday morning. City officials hope the venue will be ready to for its first event in spring 2020 as they await $2.5 million in funding needed to complete the project. Photo by: Slim Smith/Dispatch Staff
The venue is planned to have a seating capacity of roughly 3,500 including seating for 1,800 on a grassy area, according to city engineer Kevin Stafford: 1,100 hard-back seats plus a table-and-chairs area for VIP use and an open area nearest the stage that can be altered as needed for any given show.
Rep. Jeff Smith, the House Ways and Means Committee chairman, said that they hope to receive enough state bond money to complete the project in the upcoming year, but it’s uncertain whether enough will be incoming to meet the $2.5 million goal. Mayor Robert Smith suggested that a 2% county-wide restaurant tax could provide $2 million annually for tourism and economic development. Per an existing resolution, $400 thousand of that could be used each year for parks and recreation.
As part of the joint resolution between the county and the city that will be used to craft the legislation, $400,000 annually would be provided to the city for parks and recreation: “We are going to be talking to our local legislative delegation about both the bond money and the 2-percent money,” Smith said. “We know there is going to be some bond money to help complete (the amphitheater). We don’t know if we’ll get the $2.5 million we need, but if not, the plan is to use some of the 2-percent money, which would be more than enough to complete the project.”
Entrepreneur Susan Mackay made her first impact on Columbus’ printing scene more than three decades ago when she first opened the Kwik Kopy Printing Center. Having done well there, she went on to open Party and Paper five years later. After nearly thirty years in business, P&P is closing its doors this Friday, but all is not lost! Mackay is opening her new venue, Impressions by Susan, on November 1st in downtown Columbus. There will be a ribbon cutting at 4 PM, with a Grand Opening party immediately following, lasting until 7 PM. She will also be hosting an Open House for the new venue on Friday from 10-5 and then on Sunday from 1-5; door prizes and other giveaways will be had, so come by and show your support for a long-time business owner right here in town! Mackay hopes to continue to provide excellent service and amazing products to the community for many years to come, and that’s Good for Business!
AkzoNobel Specialty Chemical’s global operations have been acquired by the Carlyle Group; their name at all locations, including their Columbus office, is changing to Nouryon. “Launching our new company is a significant milestone to add to our proud history, and we are all looking forward to this exciting new chapter,” said new CEO Charles W. Shaver, according to a Nouryon press release.
As a Nouryon plant, the local one will produce specialty chemicals. There are some plans in the works to improve productivity, and possibly hire some new employees, but nothing it set in stone just yet.
“We’re looking forward to the new ownership and the positive things to come out of it,” Columbus Site Manager Kathy Scott said. “We are positioning ourselves for growth. The main thing that will change will be the name on (employees’) uniforms. It is an exciting time now, because it’s all going to be focused on us producing chemicals.”
A major quality of life improvement has now jumped one of its most important hurdles.
Lowndes County is executing a purchase of 89 acres of property west of Columbus it hopes to convert to a regional sports complex. The purchase price of $840,000 is $50,000 less than the land’s appraised value.
The Lowndes County supervisors voted to purchase an 89-acre parcel of land in the western section of the county to build a sports complex; the vote was unanimous, following a clearance authorization from the FAA in order to make sure that the new construction will not interfere with an existing nearby FAA facility. A buffer zone will need to be established at one end of the property, leaving 69 acres usable by the County.
“That’s more than enough land for what we want to do,” Board president Harry Sanders said, “so I think we can go forward with this.” While some discussion asked about simply not purchasing the “buffer zone” part of the property, it was soon explained that it was all a package deal, and that leaving that part out would actually cause the price to go up from the agreed-upon $840 thousand price tag. The cost will be paid out over eight years, with no interest charged, and reflects a discount of $50 thousand below the assessed value of the property.
District 2 Supervisor Bill Brigham commended that “As far as that part of the property, there still may be something we could use it for that the FAA would approve, maybe a walking path.” He went on to speculate that “The system out there is going to be obsolete one of these days and that part of the property will be usable. . . Let’s go ahead as we planned.”
The board agreed, voting to make its first $100,000 payment on Nov. 15 of this year.
In other board business, supervisors dealt with the question of how to fill the county prosecutor position that will become open in January. Current office-holder Allison Kizer will leave that position after being sworn in as county judge, for which she is running unopposed next month.
“It could be that for some of us, whether or not the person wants to run again is OK, and for others it might not be,” District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks said. “I think we should just let that play out and see how the votes go. There’s no need to do anything else.”
Supervisors set the deadline to apply for the county prosecutor position for Dec. 3.