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Lighting Up the FORGE Once Again

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This coming Wednesday, more than 1,000 area eighth-graders will participate in the FORGE Foundation’s “FORGE Your Path Career Expo” (Family Organizations Recruiting Great Employees) at EMCC’s Communiversity. At this returning event, nearly two dozen local companies that all offer construction-related services will introduce children to the kinds of work they do.

Christee Holbrook of FORGE

FORGE first appeared in 2018, and was the result of a number of local companies coming together in order to help to “…expose young people to opportunities and jobs in the construction industry,” said FORGE President Christee Holbrook, who also leads Graham Roofing in West Point. “No one else was doing it.” They implemented programs where they would offer vocational tech classes at area schools and a summer camp (Camp Amp) which offers children hands-on experience with a variety of professions within construction fields.

“We got a lot of great feedback from the schools and the kids,” Holbrook said. “We had to cancel the expo last year because of COVID, but the best feedback we received came this year when we announced we were going to have the career expo. Within 45 minutes of sending out the email announcing the expo, 95 percent of the spots were taken…“What we are trying to do in bringing these younger students to the career expo is to introduce them to construction jobs before they reach high school,” she went on to say. “When kids get to high school, it’s the time they begin to focus on a career path, either college or the trades.”

Please click here for the original article: https://cdispatch.com/news/2021-10-22/forge-career-expo-returns-wednesday/

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Fine Dining at a Price that Won’t Break the Bank, and More!


GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch


STARKVILLE

Magnolia Social will open its doors next Tuesday; they are located inside the historic Hotel Chester at 111 N. Jackson St.

Owners Ellen and William Roger share fifteen years of experience providing fine dining to their customers; their goal is to offer amazing food for a price that people can afford: “There’s something for everybody,” Ellen said. “We like to plate that way but it is not a fine dining price point. We have a lot of care in how we plate and garnish and we take a lot of care in it. …We’re just really excited to be here. Our staff has done a really great job. We’re real proud of them.”
Magnolia Social will be open Tuesday through Thursday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m. By November, they will also open for Sunday brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m.


COLUMBUS


Kid’s Cavern Clothing Company recently took over the old Rae’s Jewelry building at 110 Fifth St. S. Tues~Fri 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Sat 10 a.m.-2 p.m.


Replays’ former location on 45 near Starbucks has been taken over by 45 Tobacco and Vape. Open daily 9 to 9.


WEST POINT


Cognition T’s, Scrubs & More opened up for business this past Friday at 5771 Hwy. 45 Alt. S. They offer a variety of clothing and equipment, along with personalization, monogramming, etc. Medical personnel and police will enjoy a 10% discount there through the end of the month. Mon~Sat 9 to 6.


Plum Creek Environmental is bringing fifty new jobs to the area along with a $3 million expansion. “We also intend to add new product lines in the near future,” Plum Creek Environmental President Jim Wamble said in a press release. “Our local partnership with East Mississippi Community College has been tremendous in supplying a steady stream of trained welders. We’re looking forward to long-term success in West Point, Mississippi.”


Please click here for the original article: https://cdispatch.com/news/2021-10-14/mary-means-business-magnolia-social-prepares-for-grand-opening-next-week/

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Boy, Do We Have the Bargain (Hunt) For You!


GTR AREA, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch


COLUMBUS, MS


Photo credit: Crexi. An online auction is set for Nov 1-3 for the building on Highway 45 in Columbus that houses Bargain Hunt
– The store will not close, as there are six years remaining on its lease


Commercial Real Estate company Crexi has announced that the Bargain Hunt building, 2312 Hwy. 45, will officially go up for auction on November 1st of this year through the 3rd. The opening bid is listed at $400,000, and participants must pay a $10,000 deposit to register for the auction. The plan is for Bargain Hunt itself to remain open, just under new ownership once the time comes: “Columbus Centre is an opportunity zone, making the site eligible for preferential tax treatment,” the listing reads. “This offering includes Bargain Hunt (44,000 SF) with 5,600 SF available space. Bargain Hunt is a national credit tenant with six years of remaining term and an option to extend.”


Across the street from there just North of Gary’s Pawn and Gun, Fast Pace Health, a walk-in urgent care clinic, will open its doors this Saturday. They held a ribbon cutting today; tune into our page tomorrow for photos and details! This will be one of their 150+ locations throughout the South. Mon~Fri 8-8, Sat 8~6, Sun 1~5.


“We have built our name and reputation on our compassionate, reliable and affordable approach to health care with services that can be scarce in smaller communities,” said Fast Pace Health CEO Greg Steil in a press release. “Especially during a pandemic, patients need immediate solutions, and our safe and convenient Columbus clinic will offer treatment for a wide range of illnesses with walk-in urgent, primary and preventative health care services. We also offer scheduled services for behavioral health, telehealth, and occupational health care needs.”


STARKVILLE, MS


Pumpkin patch “The Farm,” located at 5733 Blackjack Road, will have its grand opening at 10 a.m. Oct. 9. Advance tickets are available via their Facebook page. Sat 10~7, Sun 1~5 until Halloween night.


“To see it finally coming to fruition is a great feeling,” Addie Mayfield (one of the owners) said. “We still have a lot of growing to do, so it’s a little intimidating to open our doors to the public, but Starkville is such an incredibly supportive community and we’re excited to bring something new to the area that we can continue to build and grow over time.”


Please click here for the original article: https://cdispatch.com/news/2021-09-30/mary-means-business-bargain-hunt-building-up-for-auction-in-november/


Photo credit: Crexi. An online auction is set for Nov 1-3 for the building on Highway 45 in Columbus that houses Bargain Hunt – The store will not close, as there are six years remaining on its lease

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Workforce Development Becoming Better and Better

COLUMBUS, Miss. – Courtesy of WCBI

Whitaker
(courtesy photo)

Macaulay Whitaker, COO of the GTR Development Link recently spoke about efforts to help citizens of Columbus and all of the GTR to train for better, higher-paying jobs: ” Those are efforts for consultants to see is [sic] a third-party verification for our community that we’ve developed the necessary partnerships and gone through the processes to strengthen our workforce pipelines,” she said.

She went on to say that “It does take things . . . like providing great opportunities so students and individuals can set their goals towards positions and careers here in the state. . . ” Looking at our labor force, the people that are actively participating, and the people that can participate, we are going to have to shift our focus in attracting people to the workforce. Whether it’s from out of state or in the state or just down the street,” said Whitaker.

She and others involved in our burgeoning Workforce Development efforts are focusing on helping to prepare locals for local jobs, which helps keep our businesses thriving, thus improving our economy and, in the end, benefiting all of us. And THAT’S Good for Business!

Please click here for the original article: https://www.wcbi.com/from-the-classroom-to-the-workforceskilled-laborers-are-vital-in-area-businesses/

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MSU and other State Universities Stand Out Globally for Innovation

STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of msstate.edu


With the help of the state’s research universities, Mississippi has been recognized as having one of the top twenty global ecosystems for business startups. The 2021 Global Startup Ecosystem Report is lauding MSU, The MS Development Authority, Innovate Mississippi and the state’s university system as a whole.

The Idea Shop, a 2,000-square-foot facility in downtown Starkville, is one of many ways MSU contributes to Mississippi’s startup ecosystem. (Photo by Megan Bean)


“Mississippi is well-known for our work with companies in the advanced manufacturing, agriculture and automotive sectors, but we have so much more to offer, especially in emerging technologies,” said Laura Hipp, MSDA interim executive director. “Our focus on technology-intensive, knowledge-based economic development includes close partnerships with organizations across the state, including research universities, industry, nonprofit and private sector groups. Some of the areas we are focusing on include marine technology, renewable energy, information operations and biotechnology. These types of companies are especially important to Mississippi and would benefit greatly from locating here.”


MSU, in particular, was held forth as an exemplar for innovation and small business startups – a model for others to look to and emulate.


Please click here for the original article: https://www.msstate.edu/newsroom/article/2021/09/msu-contributes-mississippi-startup-ecosystem-through-entrepreneurship

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Vowell’s to Shut Its Doors Soon

STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch


Courtesy of the Dispatch

Courtesy photo

Vowell’s Marketplace, located at 118 Hwy. 12, has announced that they will most likely be closing by Halloween of this year, according to store manager Max Stillman. having replaced the Piggly Wiggly at that location over seven years ago, this will leave a large retail spot open at a good location thereafter.

Please click here for the original article: https://cdispatch.com/news/2021-09-16/mary-means-business-vowells-marketplace-closing-in-starkville/

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FORGE-ing a New Path for the Professionals of Tomorrow to Follow

GOLDEN TRIANGLE AREA, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

“At times, it seems like we are all running in different directions, often with the best of intentions,” said Ryan Miller, executive director of Accelerate Mississippi, part of a new state agency, Mississippi Office of Workforce Development. “As an organization with the mandate to coordinate all these efforts, the question is, ‘How do we get our arms around it?’” He and others have been working hard to coordinate communication between agencies that exist to help expose our middle and high school students to new and better professions and skills.

Area middle school students practice floating concrete during the FORGE Foundation Career Expo at East Mississippi Community College’s Communiversity workforce training center in October 2019
Katie McCrary – Courtesy Photo

“It’s cool stuff,” EMCC Communiversity director Courtney Taylor said. “We go into the classroom and challenge kids to solve a problem in the advanced hybrid electronics. Then we’ll bring the students to Communiversity to look at the equipment and the jobs. It’s also a way to expose students to careers that they’re just not exposed to in high school, like, say, a machinist. How can a high school teacher who has never been a machinist know that?”

The Communiversity will play host to the “FORGE Your Way To A Career Expo” on Oct. 27. The expo will be sponsored by The FORGE (Family Organizations Recruiting Great Employees) Foundation. It will expose students from around the GTR area to work with and learn more about many construction-related jobs and techniques that they might not otherwise have had access to. FORGE is made up primarily of local business owners.

CMSD Superintendent Cherie Labat spoke about the prior Expo, held in 2019: “I really can’t say enough about FORGE. It was great exposure for our students. . . The feedback we got from the students was wonderful. They had the opportunity to pour concrete, see and use tools, even hammer a nail. Some of our kids had never even done that before.”

Helping to prepare our youth for the future is good for them, good for our community, and has the potential to bring dividends for many years to come as horizons get expanded ever further. And THAT’S Good for Business!

Please click here for the original article: https://cdispatch.com/news/2021-09-04/workforce-development-schools-nonprofits-expose-students-to-skill-training-at-communiversity/

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Lettuce Begin – Millions of Dollars, Hundreds of Jobs On the Horizon

GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins recently spoke to the Rotary Club of Columbus to tell them about a number of major projects they are working on bringing to our area. They estimate a total combined investment impact of nearly $900 million and about 500 new jobs paying $50K or more.

Golden Triangle LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins speaks to Rotary Club of Columbus on Tuesday as Rotarian Carey Edwards (seated) listens - Zack Plair - Dispatch Staff
Golden Triangle LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins speaks to Rotary Club of Columbus on Tuesday as Rotarian Carey Edwards (seated) listens – Zack Plair – Dispatch Staff

One of these has been given the codename “Lettuce;” in the final stages of negotiation, it will be a $60 million, 150 job project, paying its new hires in the $75K range.

Another comes by way of Origis, a solar farm company. They are looking at putting two such farms in Lowndes County and another in Clay County to supply power to the TVA, to the tune of $550mil in local investment: “We’ve got enough solar being built in the Golden Triangle right now to equate to a small nuclear power plant,” Higgins said.

A proposed Lowndes County Port project may bring $100mil in investments and 100 jobs in the $50~60K range; it is hoped that more concrete information will be available by October.

Projects Renegade and Buckle look to bring in $125mil and $40 mil, respectively, with a total of about 220 jobs.

Clay County’s Project Coco is looking to bring in $10mil and 70 jobs — many of them in welding, starting at $21/hr.

“(Labor force) is our Achilles’ heel and that’s everybody’s Achilles’ heel,” Higgins said. “That’s the question we have to answer the most. That’s why we really don’t go after companies that don’t pay very well. We’ll point blank tell you if you’re paying cut-sew widget squidget wages, you’re probably not going to be able to succeed here. . . We don’t go after the 3,000-job deals, because quite frankly [the area] can’t supply the labor,” he added. “You’re lying to yourself when you say you are. Internally, we say our pressure point is 500 jobs. We think that’s the maximum amount we can do and successfully compete. Once we get one of those, there’s a period of time that you can’t get another one. You can’t get a 500-job in Oktibbeha, 500 in Lowndes and 500 in Clay (in a short timeframe). It just doesn’t work like that.”

Also, Higgins has also been in touch with medical marijuana companies — remember that the people of Mississippi voted to legalize it by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. This was put on hold by a technicality, but they feel that it won’t be too long before the situation is dealt with. The companies in question are looking at repurposing existing buildings in Columbus, West Point, Starkville, and Maben in anticipation of this possibility. Also, the TVA refuses to supply power to growhouses because the drug is currently outlawed at the Federal level; thus, alternative power sources are being considered.

All sorts of businesses are looking to coming to our area, bringing with them good-paying jobs and cold, hard cash…and THAT’S Good for Business!

Please click here for the original article: https://cdispatch.com/news/2021-09-01/higgins-touts-major-industrial-projects-coming-to-area/

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Gon Git You Some!

GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

COLUMBUS

Owner Gon Carley has had a soft opening for her new Gon Thai location next to the commissary at CAFB. “I’ve been in business for nine years now,” Carley said. “I’m very excited (to open another location). I’m glad to serve all our men and women in uniform.” The Main Street location will continue to operate as always. The Base’s location will hold its grand opening soon.

On a sadder note, First Columbus Pawn and Gun, 1513 Hwy. 45, will be closing its doors for good on September 15 of this year. Having been in business for 30 years, they are now holding an “everything must go” sale, and they mean it. Go check ’em out while you still can!

STARKVILLE

Prime 44 is a new steakhouse that opened its doors about a week ago. They are located in the former King’s Craft Butcher Shop location at 211 S. Jackson St. Suite B. Sun~Thurs 5-9pm and Fri~Sat 5-10pm; reservations recommended.
Right Track Medical Group, a counseling and therapy clinic, has moved to 200 Hwy 12. Mon~Fri 8am-5pm

WEST POINT

Fred and Kimberly Chase held their ribbon cutting at Legacy Auction this past week. They are located at the Mossy Oak Outlet at 5767 Hwy. 45 S. The grand opening of their auction space will be Sept 3rd, and they’ll be holding their first auction then at 7pm; doors open at 6pm.


Please click here for the original article: https://cdispatch.com/news/2021-08-26/mary-means-business-gon-thai-expands-to-air-force-base/

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Get Kids’ Clothing at Great Prices, Get Your Nails Done, and Grab a Bite to Eat


GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch


COLUMBUS


Kaylie Gibson is preparing to open a family-owned children’s clothing store in the former Rae’s Jewelry location at 110 5th St S in Columbus. Kid’s Cavern Clothing Co. came about because Gibson felt that “It’s always hard to find kids’ clothes that are reasonably priced. . . We wanted to open up a store for everyone where the clothes aren’t so expensive.” They plan to be open for business starting in October, and hope to accommodate working parents by staying open into the evenings. “It’s a family-owned company,” Gibson said. “. . . We’re excited to bring this to the community. I’m a big supporter of family-owned stuff and shopping local. We are just excited to bring that here in Columbus.”


STARKVILLE


Villa Nails Bar and Spa, 327 Hwy. 12 W., opened up next to Umi back in July. “It’s not your average nail salon,” salon manager Hailey Elkins said. “We want people to give us a chance. Our prices are a little higher, but the quality of work is worth it.” Mon~Sat 9am-7pm


Fearless Martial Arts at 821C Hwy. 12, next to China Garden, is open Mon~Fri from 2-7:30pm. They offer kid’s martial arts, adult self-defense, and both kid and adult fitness classes. “My family and I are beyond excited and blessed for the opportunity to serve families here in Starkville,” owner Josh Buford said. “If there is anything we can do for you, your child, or your family: Please reach out to us.”


WEST POINT


The area’s first Checkers (aka Rally’s in some markets) will be opening up at 230 U.S. 45 Alt. next month. Checkers is a drive-thru only burger restaurant that offers big, juicy burgers, spicy fries, and the like. They will initially be open Sun~Thurs 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Fri~Sat from 10 a.m. to 3 a.m.


Please click here for the original article: https://cdispatch.com/news/business/2021-08-12/mary-means-business-kids-clothing-store-to-open-in-old-raes-building/

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