Category Archives: Banking

Business After Hours at the GTR Airport – Jan 17, 2019 (image gallery)

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of the Columbus-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce

This month’s Business After Hours was a rousing success! Here are some photos of the event, courtesy of the CoC:

Photo gallery above. Original post and more photos can be found here.

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Regional Business After Hours for Jan 17, 2019

If you are a member of any of the area Chambers, Partnerships, etc…or if you just want to meet some good people and mingle, swing by for Business After Hours at the GTR Airport tonight!

Columbus Lowndes Chamber of Commerce
Golden Triangle Development LINK
Greater Starkville Development Partnership

West Point Main Street

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Godfather’s is Coming to Town

GOLDEN TRIANGLE– Courtesy of the Dispatch


Pizza and buffet chain Godfather’s Pizza is opening a local store in Midtown at 301 University Drive, Suite 2. They plan to open their doors sometime this spring. The chain has been in business since 1978, and currently has more than 600 locations in 40 states. More options for tasty food in this burgeoning town are always good to have!

Starkville’s Cadence Bank main branch building, located at 301 E. Main St., is back on the market. The Board of Aldermen considered buying the property in 2014, but the project was eventually voted down. The 30 thousand sq ft building is currently listed at $2.5 million.

Ceco Building Systems, which makes materials needs to construct pre-fab homes, will be moving to a new location a few blocks down Hwy 45 N, according to Human Resources Director Tim Lamm.  

Nails and Spa, located at 1726 Hwy 45, has put up an “opening soon” sign, but no date has yet been announced. The nail salon will be open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.  


K-Mart has officially closed its doors here as of late November. Future plans for the retail space, if any, have not yet been announced.

Penny Ridge Grocery, located at 2003 Ridge Road between Caledonia and Columbus, is on the market. Owners Deanna Jordan and John Wooten have said that they are in the process of finding a buyer, but that they would close for business by the end of the week.

Please click here for the full article.

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Bank of Vernon Coming to Columbus

COLUMBUS, WEST POINT – Courtesy of the Dispatch

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!

Please click here for the original article.

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Cadence Bank and State Bank FC to Merge

Cadence Bank and State Bank FC to Merge

Courtesy of The Dispatch

Cadence Bancorporation has announced that they will be merging with State Bank Financial Corporation, in a deal valued at roughly $1.4 billion. Cadence’s press release stated that the merger will create a regional bank organization with about 100 branches in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. Cadence shareholders will own about 2/3 of the combined company, while SB shareholders will own the remainder.

Cadence Bancorporation Chairman and CEO Paul B. Murphy Jr. expressed his enthusiasm: “We are excited to announce that two great companies are joining forces. State Bank is an impressive organization with talented, experienced and customer-centered bankers,” Murphy said. “When we went public a year ago, we said we wanted to be active with (mergers and acquisitions). We said we would be selective and that we were looking for a gem . . . We found a gem with State Bank. I believe this is going to be an outstanding combination,” he added. ” I see it as a joint win for both company’s shareholders, customers, employees and the communities we serve.”

Tome Willey, vice chairman of the State Bank board, will move to Cadence. “We are excited to be partnering with Cadence,” Evans said in a statement. “From this incredible combination of talents and resources will emerge a truly exceptional bank that will be a formidable competitor in the dynamic markets we serve.”


Please click here for the full article.


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Local Entrepreneurs Picking Up Steam

Local Entrepreneurs Picking Up Steam

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

MUW played host to a small business seminar Tuesday night, that was put on by BancorpSouth and the Columbus-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce. The hall was packed with people young and old who wished to learn more about how to go about starting up their own small businesses.

“The majority (who attended) were people who were just thinking about (starting a business) or have ideas to do it and needed to know where to start,” said Emily McConnell, director of programs and events at the CoC. “The seminar was great for that, just in encouraging them to do it, to get out there and try.”

Mary Jennifer Russell (courtesy photo)

One of the featured speakers was Mary Jennifer Russell of New Albany. In 1997, she had been moving from job to job while dabbling in baking on the side, as a way to bring in supplemental income. She gradually grew her business, and, a year after beginning, she had (what was then) her first major sale — ten cakes, sold to a yogurt shop. Fast forward nearly twenty years, and now Russell’s Sugarees Bakery puts out a thousand cakes a week, while employing 37 people. Her story has been featured in publications such as the New York Times and Oprah’s Magazine, and Russel earned her place as this year’s Mississippi Small Business Administration (SBA) Small Business Person of the Year.

She had this advice to give to people just starting out: “What do you want to see?” she said. “What do you want to smell? Really, really envision it with lots of detail.” She also emphasized the need to keep good books, constantly improving the business even after it’s up and running and – in particular – making sure to take good care of good employees.

Russell went on to offer this piece of advice: “It’s easy enough if you start with low-risk,” she said. “…It can be done. It should be done.” She recommends keeping your old job for as many years as it takes to get the new venture to a profitable stage; it took her four years to do so, herself, resulting in her opening her own dedicated shop after proving that her business concept was viable simply by doing exactly what she set out to do.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy – The more of them we have, the more people who are willing to take on that risk – The more success stories we’ll hear, given time, investment, and a lot of hard work. And that’s Good for Business!

You can read the full article by clicking here.

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Cadence Bank Looks to the Future After Successful IPO

Cadence Bank Looks to the Future After Successful IPO

Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News

Houston-based Cadence Bank (CADE) recently returned to the NYSE, having completed their IPO two weeks ago. Now, they are gearing up to make themselves even stronger for the future.

Cadence Bank CEO and Chairman – and MSU alumnus – Paul B. Murphy Jr. is spearheading their efforts: “The most important thing we want our clients to be aware of is that we were a strong bank before and we are even stronger now,” Murphy said. “Having a publicly-traded stock gives us a currency to hopefully find some good banks to partner with,” he went on to say, “And have them merge into us and be part of our company.”

Cadence Bank’s Mississippi President Jerry Toney stated that Cadence Bank is one of the largest employers in the area, and that they plan to remain so. With this IPO, Toney says the company can further advance and build on its customer relationships on the local level: “We give a lot back to the community as well and we’re still and have been for many many years the largest private supporter of economic development in the entire Golden Triangle,” Toney said.

Please click here for the full article.

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The Importance of Community Banks

The Importance of Community Banks

As many people have weighed their large, regional or nationwide banks and found them wanting, more and more people are turning to smaller community banks. These smaller ones are often run by familiar members of the community, which helps to bolster trust in them in an era where the largest of the large banks still exist only because they were given vast amounts of taxpayers’ money. Community banks have their focus on the local people and heir needs – that’s good for their patrons, and that’s Good for Business!


Bank of Vernon CEO Andy Johnson (WCBI)

Bank of Vernon CEO Andy Johnson (WCBI)

Bank of Vernon recently opened its doors in Caledonia for the first time. “In rural areas there is a movement for community banks to do well,” said Bank of Vernon CEO Andy Johnson. “We have all the technology that the larger banks have. We focus on having all those things; mobile banking, online banking, good payment systems and we want all our customers to have all those items and it is an expense but it’s something that if you want to stay in business you have to provide as a bank.”

Bank of Vernon, like many other smaller banks, is striving to bring the conveniences granted by the big boys to their towns, while still maintaining the level of customer service and special attention that they community needs.

According to the Independent Community Banking of America, there are 92 community banks in Mississippi with 731 branches.

For more info and the full article, click here:

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Golden Triangle Millennials Eager to Buy Homes

Our local “Millenial” generation is coming of age, and many of them have expressed the desire to go from simply renting a place to live, to investing in a true home. Combine that with a local economy that is improving steadily, incredibly low interest rates, and good availability of housing, and you have the perfect trifecta for anyone looking to purchase a home in the Golden Triangle – whether you’re just getting out of college or you feel it’s time to get out your old apartment and into a proper house, something which is often cheaper in the long run! Save money, gain stability, and put down roots in a town you love — That’s Good for Business!

Courtesy of WCBI

An apartment listing website recently conducted a study indicating that 84-percent of millennial renters in Mississippi want to purchase a home in the next two years. Whether you are one of these renters, or you have already established yourself in your career, this is a great time to buy a home.

stephen jones wcbi pic“Locally our economy is pretty good, you know we still have jobs being created. I think that helps out a lot when people are working,” says real estate agent Stephen Jones. ” The interest rate is still low, so it’s definitely still a great time to buy. Once the interest rate goes up, you buy less house.” he went on to give a bit of advice that we can all benefit from: “Well the number one thing that I would suggest is calling a local mortgage company and getting pre-approved. Once you’re getting pre-approved it makes the process a whole lot easier,” he says.

Jeff Farnham works for one such mortgage company, JTS & Company. He gave advice on what companies look out for:  “Job stability, overall credit, what your credit profile looks like, if there’s any money you can put down, how long do they want to finance the home?” He went on to say that, even if you can’t put down much of a down payment – or even none at all – many companies will be glad to work with you in order to come up with an affordable solution:  “So we’ll do some 100 percent financing if their eligible. Sometimes we look at FHA that only requires a 3 and half percent down payment, and it will actually allow a gift. If the homebuyer doesn’t have the money themselves, mom and dad can make a little gift for them,” says Farnham.

Generally speaking, as long as your credit score is 650 or higher, it should be smooth sailing.

See full article and video at this link:

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Smith’s Landscaping, Renasant Bank Ready To Roll

Smith Landscaping is open now at their new location

Smith’s Landscaping is now open for business at their new location. Please pardon the dust as they create a bigger and better store!

Two cornerstones of the Columbus economy, Renasant Bank & Smith’s Landscaping, have got new locations for their customers to visit. Smith’s moved from their longtime location on 18th Avenue North next to the Cracker Barrel to the former Barnhill’s restaurant site on the corner of 18th and 7th Street North. The family-owned garden shop sold their old lot to a group that plans to build a state-of-the-art Burger King later this year.

The Commercial Dispatch’s William Browning – the preeminent business writer in our region – has a nice piece on Renasant’s new branch attached below:

(It’s worth noting that I ran into Smith’s #1 crew at the nearby bank branch Thursday, they were hustling to get the finishing touches done for a upcoming Grand Opening event. Kudos to Renasant for using a local business for the job!!- CK)

Renasant Bank has opened a new Columbus location.

The branch is at 595 18th Avenue North — that’s beside Logan’s Roadhouse, across from Cracker Barrel.

Renasant Bank's newest location

Renasant Bank’s newest location

“We needed a location that was more convenient to the Highway 45 North corridor and could also serve the medical community,” Bill West, the bank’s president, told The Dispatch this week. “Having access to Sixth Street North, through the Creekside complex, was a big factor in our location decision, as well.” The bank purchased the last parcel available in the Creekside Development from Mark Castleberry, a local developer, to build the 4,900 square foot branch on.

Read more:

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