Author Archives: Colin Krieger

MSMS Launches Ambitious Distance Learning Project

MSMS Launches Ambitious Distance Learning Project

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Restaurant news in Columbus — Parkside Diner, New & Improved Burger King Coming Very Soon!

Restaurant news in Columbus — Parkside Diner, New & Improved Burger King Coming Very Soon!

 

William Browning of the Commercial Dispatch brings news to tantalize your tastebuds:

Danny and Wendy Cameron, who once ran the Front Door/Back Door in downtown Columbus have announced their latest venture: Parkside Diner. It will be located at 2625 Main St, in the old Shipley’s Donuts building across from Probst Park, and is expected to open its doors as soon as the end of the month; possibly in early April. The venue is designed to evoke the look and feel of a 50’s-style diner, complete with a jukebox, 45’s on the counter, and – eventually – real rootbeer floats and milkshakes.

They will offer soups, salads, and sandwiches as their primary fare, with Mennonite-baked bread delivered fresh every morning. A breakfast menu is in the works, as well. At first, they plan to be open from Tuesday through Saturday each week, from 10 AM to 3 PM each day, with a small staff.

On the fast food front:

The Burger King at 119 AlabamaBurger_King St near the Food Giant is currently undergoing extensive renovations –It is expected to reopen in about a week, on March 12, with a brand-new, expanded kitchen, totally re-done dining room, and a modernized exterior.

In addition, a new Burger King will be opening at 604 18th Ave, next to the Cracker Barrel. It is expected to open in mid-June, and will employ 30-40 local workers. It will be built at the former location of Smith’s Landscaping, which has moved into the old Barnhill’s building just down the street, and is open for business as we speak!

For info on these and more: http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=48614

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50 Jobs Heading To Golden Triangle

50 Jobs Heading To Golden Triangle

Jackson, Miss.  —

sleepmade logoThe Golden Triangle area is home to all sorts of manufacturing companies that bring new jobs to our area, and another one is on its way! Officials from Sleepmade, manufacturer of advanced sleep products, announced on Wednesday morning that the company will be investing $1.415 million in our economy, and creating 50 jobs by locating manufacturing and distribution operations in Lowndes County. Our region is already a powerhouse, and this is just one more notch in our belt, proving that we have what it takes to compete on the national scene. And that’s Good for Business.

“I am glad to welcome Sleepmade as the newest business partner to the state of Mississippi and appreciate the company for creating new job opportunities for the residents of Lowndes County and the surrounding areas,” Gov. Phil Bryant said. “‘Made in Mississippi’ is a stamp of quality around the world. I know the productivity of the Golden Triangle region’s workforce will help ensure Sleepmade enjoys many years of success in our state.”

Read more here: http://www.wcbi.com/local-news/50-jobs-heading-to-golden-triangle/

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New Dealership/Development In Starkville On Track

New Dealership/Development In Starkville On Track

parker mcgill dealershipThe new Parker-McGill mega-dealership project on Highway 12 is moving along right on schedule; the investors announced this week that they are ready to open a temporary lot to begin selling vehicles. The group is investing $21 million into the 26-acre parcel, with plans for multiple car dealerships, residential units, and office space in the very near future. The ambitious project was fueled by a $3 million TIF bond, which was used to fund significant infrastructure on the site. All told, the site could eventually bring nearly a half million dollars per year into the local tax base, on top of the impact on the workforce.

The temporary lot should be open for business within the next thirty days or so, and the full dealership complex is planned to be up and running by the end of August.

The Starkville Daily News has more:   http://www.starkvilledailynews.com/content/parker-mcgill-dealership-open-temporary-lot

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Columbus Hosts State Tourism Conference

CVB President Nancy Carpenter

CVB Exec Director Nancy Carpenter

The Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau snagged a big one this week, hosting the state tourism association’s spring conference. It’s always good to have a few hundred high-energy PR type people in our area – especially when they are cheerleaders for our state. The group will get to see first-hand how strong downtown Columbus is, and the exponential growth we have seen in the Golden Triangle in general over the last ten years.

Kudos for the CVB for getting them here…I’m sure all of our local businesses are grateful.

The conference – which runs through today – is one of the largest gatherings of tourism professionals in the state; it will bring more than 200 attendees to the city, according to a press release.

Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Nancy Carpenter told The Dispatch Monday that she’s attempted for several years to convince the MTA to bring the conference here: “This is a tremendous opportunity,” she said. “We’ve worked hard to make sure the town looks great, and it always does…We’re very proud of our city and very supportive.” Carpenter also said that the group holds major conferences in the fall and in the spring in various cities statewide.

“We are thrilled to host our spring conference in Columbus, and we encourage tourism industry leaders and professionals from around the state to join us …We know that gathering as an industry is an excellent way to expand our knowledge and connect with fellow professionals in the industry.”

  • Kappi Allen, MTA president and executive director of the Clarksdale Coahoma Tourism Bureau.

Carpenter commented that the conference provides a great way for new visitors, in particular, to learn more about Columbus, including international visitors.

Read more: http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=48543#ixzz41kjwBowk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=48543

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Grenada Looks to Columbus Main Street for Inspiration

WCBI did a nice piece on a recent visit by Grenada city leaders to Columbus. The  downtown Columbus area grew by leaps and bounds in the mid 2000’s under the leadership of Jan Miller and Amber Brislin. Main Street Columbus has become the gold standard for the state, and now Director Barbara Bigelow is at the helm of the organization.

Bigelow had this to say:

Barbara Bigelow of Columbus Main Street (Image credit The Commercial Dispatch)

Barbara Bigelow of Columbus Main Street (Image credit: The Commercial Dispatch)

“Very often we forget what a jewel we have here and we are reminded when other people want to come and mimic our downtown and our community and do what we’ve done to make our communities better.”

 

WCBI has more on the story. Read the full article at the link below:

http://www.wcbi.com/local-news/video-grenada-leaders-learn-about-development-through-the-friendly-city/

 

 

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Railways Keep Major Industry Chugging Along in the GTR

Railways Keep Major Industry Chugging Along in the GTR

COLUMBUS, Miss. (Courtesy of WCBI) –wcbi rail story

While some large businesses in the Golden Triangle have elected not to use rail to aid in transporting raw materials and finished goods, others, such as Weyerhauser and Yokohama, embrace it. Rail transport has been reported to be one of the major factors in granting a competitive advantage when it comes to landing large business contracts; it also provides an economical means of transport that is not dependent upon road or river conditions in order to function properly. Yokohama spent about $7 million to bring a railroad spur out to their West Point facility, where it is an indispensable part of their process.

For more information, please click the link below:

http://www.wcbi.com/local-news/video-rail-lines-to-economic-growth/

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Hardee’s on 45 Gets a Great New Look Inspired by Columbus Itself

Hardee’s on 45 Gets a Great New Look Inspired by Columbus Itself

 

hardees starThe Hardee’s  on Hwy 45 recently held their Grand Re-opening, showcasing their newly-expanded and renovated dining room. The Columbus Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the event, which marked the culmination of a several-months-long expansion and complete remodeling of the dining area, which was extended by about ten feet. The interior was completely redesigned, and now includes a curvy seating section with large circular booths for families or other large groups; the addition of new tables in order to handle more customers at a time; and a raised “bar” section with stools, wi-fi, and outlets for laptops/chargers. Long-time patrons of the store will be glad to know that the restrooms have been totally redone, as well, and moved inside the actual main building. Imagery meant to evoke the city of Columbus itself – including a prominent mural representing The W– serves a distinctive feature of the venue.

I’d like to applaud the ownership group for their investment in improving and completely remodeling their property – it helps our community, and our tax base. As with a many other businesses featured on this blog, the ownership is all local. Their food in general – and especially their fresh-made, hot breakfast biscuits, have been a hit with locals for many years, now, as has their friendly, smiling staff. Come on out and give them a try sometime!

Image courtesy of www.hardees.com

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Starkville Officials Skeptical on LINK

starkville-mississippiThe Starkville Board of Aldermen voted to retain a retail strategist and cut ties with the Golden Triangle Development LINK this week in regards to retail development. Since I write this blog from a pro-business stance, don’t be shocked at what I’m about to say, but what the heck are they doing? Starkville already has a statewide reputation for being anti-business. It kept the Mill from being redeveloped for nearly 20 years, and that reputation has been the only blight on an otherwise thriving town for nearly as long.

Now, some on the board are intentionally insulting an organization that has brought in nearly $5 BILLION in industrial development into our area over the last 12 years. Call up a few Columbus City Councilmen who were in power in the early 2000’s and ask them if they would fund the Golden Triangle Industrial Park for $750,000 if they had another shot. That paltry investment would have given about $4 Million to the cash-strapped city of Columbus this year – and every year moving forward (with more $$ to come!)

But, the Columbus Council was – in reality – much less to blame at the time than the Starkville Aldermen are now. Joe Max Higgins and his team at the LINK were the most recent of a long line of groups that had told elected officials in the Golden Triangle that “If you build it, they will come.” But, unlike the large plots of empty grass and concrete that litter industrial parks around our state, the LINK made it happen. That is the issue. Starkville’s Alderman think they know better, but they don’t seem to have the track record to prove it – the LINK does.gtr link

I understand that retail development, quite often, is what gets voters excited. The news of a new Cracker Barrel in Columbus was the top local news story in a year where three major retailers and two hotels broke ground (oh, and about $400 Million in expansion at the industrial park.) But, folks need to realize that all the hotels, restaurants and stores that come to the Golden Triangle come here because of two reasons: The growth of the industrial sector, and the growth of Mississippi State.

“Retail development is a direct result of industrial development,” said LINK head Joe Max Higgins some years back. If someone gets a job paying $70,000 a year, they generally pump at least $20,000 of that into their local economy on discretionary spending alone. Great jobs create good jobs, and the income attracts retail operations. The Highway 45 corridor in Columbus is light years ahead of where it was ten years ago. Is that from the city? Doubtful. The City of Columbus has lost almost all industry, and is still gaining retail at a rapid pace – did a taxpayer-paid recruiter bring them here? No, they came because the job base is growing…but, most don’t see it. Now, look six miles West to the industrial park, and you will see why Columbus has become the retail center for the Golden Triangle. It’s the giant industrial park with three billion dollars invested in it.

The growth of Mississippi State may be the actual issue for the elected officials in Starkville. I’m pretty sure that some of them are under the impression that the school is getting bigger because of some of their actions. Don’t get me wrong, MS State is becoming a powerhouse- I have no doubts about that, and Starkville is a “college town,” no question there. But, the citizens of Starkville need to demand more for their (relatively high) taxes. More infrastructure, more vision, and more ideas.

assureLogoThe fear I have for Starkville is that, if the “education bubble” bursts – or even continues to leak – the town will need some heavy hitters to carry the load for a while. Mississippi State, much like the State of Mississippi itself, is heavily dependent on federal tax dollars. The University, with some help from the LINK, has leveraged those dollars into research and development. These investments have already paid off handsomely, as the school was recently named as the National Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems – that’s like being NASA for drones, people. The university is working with the future in mind; I’d just like to see some more forward thinking from the city and county.

Starkville can, and should, have it all. They should have boutiques, and eateries, but they also need some factories to keep good people working. All of the Golden Triangle is nearing a critical stage in its development; West Point is on the rebound, Columbus has seen the first indications of population growth in 30 years, and Starkville is absolutely blowing up.

It’s my opinion that the entire Golden Triangle needs to work together to welcome business to the area. Major industry doesn’t worry a heck of a lot about local officials; they really don’t. They want the state officials on board – the ones with the big money. These industries care about a trained workforce, available infrastructure, and quality of life for prospective employees.

But, guess who does care how business-friendly a town is? Retail business owners. They are the guys who go to the internet to find out if a town might welcome them. They don’t drive down the main drag in town and marvel at independent boutiques and avant-guarde eateries. They want a strong economy, other major chains, and a local government welcoming them with open arms.

Starkville is on fire – in a very good way. Let’s get some s’mores ready for these businesses instead of tossing them on the grill.

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Community Colleges in Mississippi Ranked #1

emcc-logo

The Golden Triangle of Mississippi (Columbus, Starkville, West Point) is fortunate to be the home of East Mississippi Community College (EMCC), part of the nation’s best community college system. EMCC has , over the last ten years, intentionally positioned itself as the  main training ground for industry in the region. With over 4 billion dollars of new industrial development in our area in the last 12 years, the school saw the need for workforce training and jumped in to action. EMCC now trains hundreds of students for the bevy of new jobs at local factories, many earning in excess of $30,000 w/benefits in the first year on the job.

EMCC is more than good for business, they are a huge part of why the big businesses come to town in the first place. Ready, willing, and trained workers are a priority for major companies looking to build a new facility.

 

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WTVA) —

– See more at: http://www.wtva.com/news/Mississippi_takes_the_spotlight.html#sthash.I8PZZqcF.dpuf

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