Columbus councilmen will be in session this evening, where they will hear a progress report from the firm “The Retail Coach” (TRC) on their efforts to recruit new businesses to the city (in Leigh Mall, in particular). The city contracted out to the firm on a temporary basis a year ago to take over the role previously performed by the Golden Triangle LINK.
“The first phase of any retail recruitment project that we do is to come in and analyze the market and pull some figures,” Caroline Hearnsberger of TRC said.
The firm is also looking to fill spaces previously (or currently) occupied by nationwide chains: “Even as late as Friday evening, I was on the phone with a retailer that is, and remains, very interested in the Office Depot space,” she said. “There is so much interest in that space, and in the Kmart and JCPenney spaces as well.”
“I know it’s frustrating when you hear about businesses closing but … I think this is an exciting time for retail in Columbus,” she went on to say. “
Columbus COO David Armstrong commented: “We’re looking forward to hearing from (Hearnsberger) at the meeting,” he said. “We have high hopes that the work (The Retail Coach) is doing will have a significant impact.”
Veteran franchise owner Jason Ellis of Saltillo has announced that he will be opening a Little Caesars pizza store at the former location of Daylight Donuts on Hwy 278: “I opened my first Little Caesars store in 2013 in Booneville after working for Little Caesars for six years. Since then, I have expanded to Fulton, Ripley and Hamilton, Alabama. I have been wanting to build a store in Amory for several years but was unable to find a suitable location until now. I am excited to finally bring our brand to Amory,” he said.
He plans to open up shop in late March/Early April, with 2 full-time employees and about 40 part-timers.
“We look forward to serving the citizens of Amory and surrounding communities. Look for our mailer coming to a mailbox near you in March, which will have our menu and offers attached,” Ellis said.
Former employees Debbie Putt and Janis Kertsetter are now the new owners of The Purple Elephant on Wilkins Wise Road in Columbus. The shop had been closed briefly after the prior owner, Marca Glenn, retired.
“We hated to see another store close in Columbus,” Putt said. “We just felt like jumping in and doing it. Everything comes full circle.”
Putt went on to say that the shop will be the same as always, though they are open to carrying new and interesting items for their clientele to buy; also, they have retained the crew that worked under Ms. Glenn. The gift shop is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt, next to CJ’s in Columbus, has announced that they are closing their doors after being in business for six years.
Construction work has officially begun at Grand Junction condos, 509 University Drive. They are hoping to open Phase I for new homeowners in late August of this year. Tabor Development’s VP of development, Kay Regimbal, says that about one third of the condos have already been purchased.
The units vary in size from 1~3 bedrooms & 750~1,500 square feet, and in price from about $200,000 to $445,000.
MSU’s Colvard Student Union had a couple of changes quite recently:
State Fountain Bakery, which is now across the union, has penlty of goodies on offer just in time for Valentine’s Day. Mediterranean restaurant Olilo is now open in the student union.
Popular downtown yoga studio Firefly on S Lafayette St has shut its doors, and appears to be on the market.
Mossy Oak recently signed a multi-year deal with the NRA to offer a new camo design called “Overwatch,” to be used as the NRA’s official camoflage pattern.
The People’s Cup MicroRoastery is has opened its doors in Starkville. The shop, located at 12-1/2 Lummus Dr. near the Cotton District, roasts, brews, and serves its own hot, fresh coffee on weekdays from 7 AM to 2 PM.
The Greater Starkville Development will be holding its annual “SOUPerbowl” soup competition Saturday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Main Street. Hungry visitors seeking a variety of nice, hot soups may do so for $15 in advance of the event, or $20 at the door. At the end, patrons get to vote on whose soup is the cream of the crop!
Huntsville, Alabama-based Hometown Lenders is preparing to open up shop in Columbus, making it their third Mississippi location. Their office will be located at Second Ave. N. They have nearly 80 locations nationwide. Appointments only, please.
John and his crew have been providing us with the best sandwiches in town for over a decade. They keep us fed and happy, and ready to face whatever may come at work. Even the Mayor says so — and we thank His Honor for going around and supporting our local shops, restaurants, and entrepreneurs of all types…’cuz that’s Good for Business!
PRESS RELEASE – COLUMBUS MAYOR’S OFFICE United Deli and Grocery in Columbus is Mayor Robert Smith’s Business of the Week. The business is located at 212 Tuscaloosa Road on the corner of Tuscaloosa Rd and Gardner Blvd. “It’s an honor to recognize United Deli as our Business of the Week,” said Mayor Smith. “John and his staff serve amazing food and work hard to take care of their customers every day. I enjoy every meal here.”John Musa is the owner. He opened United Deli in 2006. In the past 12 years, he has found the key to success in the food business. “Listen to the customers,” John said. “The best ideas for our sandwiches have come from the customers. We have changed our menu with feedback from our customers, and we are always listening.” John learned the restaurant business from his uncle in Washington state. “I worked with my Uncle for about eight years before coming here. He taught me a lot, and I use his lessons every day.” The deli serves a large variety of sandwiches on bread that is made in the store. “We cook our bread twice a day,” John said. “We also slice and prepare our meats. That is what keeps everything fresh.” When asked what his favorite sandwich was, John was quick to answer. “Our cheeseburger is amazing,” he said. “Everything here is good, but the cheeseburger is my favorite.” United Deli does catering for group meals too. They are open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. They serve breakfast too. “There is great satisfaction in cooking a great meal for others,” John added. “We love to do that here.”
The state Senate recently passed legislation that, if signed by the Governor, will allow electric co-ops statewide to offer its customers a new utility service: high-speed internet. Current state law forbids this, but the new law will override the old once it is in effect.
Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley has been a driving force behind getting this measure put into law. He also notes that this will not mandate provision of such a service by the co-ops; it simply allows them to do so.
This will allow huge portions of rural Mississippi to gain access to affordable high-speed internet, a must if you’re doing business at all, and a great help for civilians, as well. Previously, the daunting cost of having lines run out to many areas was simply too much to take, as it was a cost that would be passed on to the consumer. With this law in place, existing wire infrastructure will become usable for the high-speed data lines.
Will Kline, project manager for The Retail Coach of Tupelo, reports that a number of developers have expressed buying Leigh Mall. Kline’s firm has a contract with the city to assist with retail development.
The mall will be going up for auction Tuesday evening, along with a number of other properties owned by Security National Properties; the interested developers may have to wait for the results of that auction before they can proceed.
While new ownership may not have an immediate effect on the mall, Kline said, “Ideally … a new owner comes to the table and breathes new life into the mall.” Many of the mall’s tenants have been lost in the past two years alone, including such stores as JCPenney, Sears, Payless, and Kirkland’s.
Joe Max Higgins, CEO for the Golden Triangle Development LINK, has stated in the past that there has been interest in purchasing and revitalization of the mall for some time.
The mall property’s assessed value is $12.1 million, according to the Lowndes County Tax Assessor’s Office.
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.