Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

To Buffet or Not To Buffet

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

While the Ryan’s Buffet building went up for sale a week ago,  their Director of Marketing, Mike Griffith, has announced the restaurant will be able to remain in operation until a final sale is made; it will be up to the buyer to decide whether or not to keep it open beyond that point. “It is not a certainty that the restaurant will close, as we are currently in negotiations with the landlord for a new lease agreement,” Griffith said. “A final decision to close the restaurant cannot be made until those negotiations are exhausted.”

Buyers have reportedly expressed interest in the site, and the current lease lasts until the end of June; Griffith denied a report claiming that the restaurant’s employees had been notified of the restaurant’s closure.

 

The landowner is currently asking approximately $900,000 for the site.

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Starkville to Get a Brand-New Dedicated Comic Shop

Starkville to Get a Brand-New Dedicated Comic Shop

A new bookstore specializing in comic books, The Last Page, will open its doors in downtown Starkville at the end of April. (Photo by Mary Rumore, SDN)

 

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News

A new dedicated book & comic shop, The Last Page, plans to open its doors in Starkville in the next couple of weeks. It will be located at 101 South Washington Street in downtown Starkville.

Owner Sky Thompson stated that “The main focus will be comic books. . . Starkville hasn’t had a comic book store in 10 or 15 years.” They also plan to offer buying and selling of used books, as well as a trading setup. They also plan to hold community events such as card nights weekly book club meetings:”We have plenty of space and there will be a lot of chairs and tables for people to come hang out,” she said.

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Graham Roofing Gets New Owner; Books & Boards Closing Its Doors

Graham Roofing Gets New Owner; Books & Boards Closing Its Doors

Golden Triangle – Courtesy of The Dispatch

 

Christee Holbrook – courtesy photo

West Point’s own Graham Roofing has recently seen Christee Holbrook promoted to president and CEO, following her buyout of the company last month.  The business has been serving the needs of locals for fifty years, and one of its founding members has finally retired after all those years. Holbrook originally  joined the company in 1997 as an accountant.

Two others were also chosen as managing partners in order to help run the business: “I chose Christee Holbrook, Suzanne Richardson, and Johnathan Poland to lead Graham Roofing into the future because I knew GRI would have a leadership team with vision, integrity and professionalism,” Hooks said in a company press release. “There was no doubt they would use our company history as their foundation, along with their fresh vision for direction and their faith to take GRI into its next generation of success.”

The primary office will remain at 680 Tibbee Road in West Point, with Tupelo’s location as a satellite branch.

Books & Boards/Three Sisters Pie Company (Photo By Jeremy Hammack)

The people of Columbus are getting ready to say goodby to a much newer shop that has been bringing joy to the community since it first opened fewer than two years ago: Books & Boards, a combination of a small, cozy bookstore and a board gaming cafe. They have shared the space on Main Street with the Three Sisters Pie Company almost since the beginning, and the pie shop will remain open at that location. They will continue to host several of Books and Boards’ most popular events, including poetry open mic nights, bingo nights and trivia nights.

“We are so incredibly proud of the community that Books and Boards has cultivated,” Owner Ashley Gressett said. “I’m sad to see it go, but I’m excited to know that the community we built will still have a place at Three Sisters Pie.” Books and Boards will host a farewell party on April 28. Gressett said the event will be open to the public and include pizza, games and “lots of laughter to go around.”

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MSU Breaks Ground on College View Project

MSU Breaks Ground on College View Project

Starkville – Courtesy of The Dispatch

From left, Vice President of Real Estate Development at EdR Mark Grambergs, EdR President Tom Trubiana, Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill, EdR CEO Randy Churchey, Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum, Mississippi State Institutions of Higher Learning board member Walter Starr and Executive Vice President and COO of EdR Chris Richards break ground on the new student housing site, College View, Monday. The housing complex and day care is expected to open in the summer of 2019. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

Work has officially begun at Mississippi State University for a mixed-space residential project that will be the first of its kind in the state. The university held a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday for the College View project, which is to be located at the location of the old Aiken Village apartments before they were torn down.

MSU President Mark Keenum said College View will have 656 beds, 46,000 square feet for retail and a new 7,000 square-foot day care center; if all goes according to plan, it will be complete by summer of next year.  He stated that the facility will provide much-needed housing for Seniors, as well as a convenient retail space: “This project is a bridge, a connector if you will, from the city onto our campus,” Keenum said. “It’s going to benefit this university, no doubt, but it’s definitely going to benefit Starkville. I always say what’s good for Mississippi State is good for the city, and what’s good for the city is good for Mississippi State.”

EdR CEO Randy Churchey said during Monday’s ceremony that he’s excited for the project, and that future planned expansions should bring the total  total housing capacity to around 1,800 beds: “I can really see this area being the area where alumni come back on game days, (or) come for graduations, and really be a gathering spot for alumni and students and faculty for all those special occasions that happen on college campuses,” Churchey said. “Other institutions are looking at this endeavor with, I hope, envy and jealousy. And they’re probably going to try to copy it one day,” he said. “But you guys were the first to get this accomplished, and we’re going to uphold our end of the bargain and get this building built. It’s going to be fantastic for the students, alumni, the city and the university.”

 

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MSU, Partnership to Help Oktibbeha Students Get a Taste of Running Businesses

MSU, Partnership to Help Oktibbeha Students Get a Taste of Running Businesses

 

Oktibbeha County – Courtesy of The Dispatch

The Partnership, in conjunction with the MSU Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach are working together to give local middle- and high-school students a taste of what it’s like to start a business. With help from International Paper, they will be hosting an Oktibbeha County Innovation Challenge for the students. An interest meeting for the challenge is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Glo office at 419 E. Lampkin St.

Partnership CEO Scott Maynard said that the challenge is open to all Oktibbeha MS/HS students: “The program is designed to really introduce students to entrepreneurship and business,” he said. “The goal is the students, individually or in teams, will come up with a project that they would like to see brought to market. Then they would participate in some training and seminars to show them how to develop a business plan. . .They will develop either a real prototype or a mocked-up prototype, and they will present in a shark tank environment to a group of people to sell their idea or their product.”

MSU College of Business Director of Outreach Jeffrey Rupp – Courtesy Photo

A $500 prize is at stake for the winners, along with scholarships for an entrepreneurship summer camp at MSU.

MSU College of Business Director of Outreach Jeffrey Rupp said, “Part of the mission of a land grant university like Mississippi State is to reach out and leverage our resources to boost communities. . . We are fortunate to have a fantastic relationship with the schools and the Partnership in Starkville.” If the first challenge bears fruit, he said, it may be replicated in other cities in the Golden Triangle.

Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Superintendent Eddie Peasant expressed his own excitement: “It is important for our students to experience real-world learning,” he said. “The Innovation Challenge combined project-based learning, critical thinking, problem solving and creativity with the resources of the E-Center at MSU for a unique hands-on opportunity for our students. It also provides a unique opportunity to work with (The Partnership) to develop future business leaders for our community.”

 

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WAUKAWAY SPRINGS BUILDING TO BE RENOVATED

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

The Waukaway Springs Bottling Company is in the process of restoring its College Street warehouse building to as close to its original look as possible.

Jataune James sorts and cleans bricks at Waukaway Springs in Columbus Tuesday afternoon. Waukaway Springs is being restored to its former look. The building formerly housed Brown Buick Company. Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff

Stephen Imes, Waukaway Springs president and owner, said, “Right now, we have the mindset of taking it back to what it looked like in the 40s. We really just want to bring it back to its former glory.” He stated that the interior wil lbe renovated and repaired, and some remodeling will be done to the exterior; in addition, extensive repairs will be done to the roof, which was beginning to cave in. Among the fixes will be structural reinforcements, such as replacing old wooden beams with steel ones.

He went on to say that they have been reclaiming as much of the original building materials as possible, and that they plan to re-use them as part of this project: “Several different types of brick have come out of this process,” Imes said. “We have seen a variety of manufacturers’ work, and we plan to use as much of it as we can.” He said that his  employees are sorting and cleaning every brick by hand in the warehouse for reuse.

“We did have a picture of the Brown Buick Company to base our renovations off of,” Jim Buck Vaughan, the project contractor said. “But it’s mainly making sure we update the building, without making it entirely too modern to where it does not match the other buildings in the area.”

The building is expected to reopen in about three months, or early summer.

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Slim Chickens Coming to Starkville

Director of Operations for Slim Chickens, David Bagwell said. “We have had college towns on the radar ever since we started this plan to develop into Mississippi,” Bagwell said. “The reason we are developing in Mississippi is because we’re Mississippi native folks and we love the brand and what the brand stands for and we felt like it would do really well here.”

They plan to make minimal changes to the building’s layout, leaving it as a “plain and simple” design. They anticipate whitewashed oak slats on the walls, with a white interior and an exposed ceiling: “It’s very open and airy feeling,” Bagwell said. “It’s just a nice easy going environment to enjoy.”

He went on to say that “We’re local people, we’re going to hire local people and try to affect a positive change in their life and our customer’s lives by being here each and every day providing that good hospitable service that people want.” Bagwell said. “That’s what we look to do when we go into a community.”

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Back Yard Burgers is on its Way Back, Baby!

Back Yard Burgers is on its Way Back, Baby!

COLUMBUS – Some info courtesy of the Dispatch

City building official Ken Wiegel reports that Back Yard Burgers is planning to reopen its Columbus store just off of Hwy 45 in front of Wal-Mart. While the location shut down in October of 2016, there is currently no formal re-opening date announced. However, Wiegel says that inspections of the property have been conducted. The company has dozens of locations open in the US, mostly in Tennessee, Mississippi, and the Midwest.

Originally founded in Cleveland, MS in 1987, the Back Yard Burgers chain has seen its ups and downs. A deal with Yum! Brands, owners of Pepsi and Taco Bell, in 2002~2004 ultimately fell through. Since going public, the company has passed through multiple hands, and even entered Bankruptcy reorganization in 2012; however, they emerged from this temporary setback and kept on going, thanks in part to investors who believe in the brand and want to see it thrive.

To this day, the company uses only Black Angus Beef in its burgers, and offeres a wide variety of optional sides (including vegetarian choices) for its more selective customers. Their menu also includes salads, turkey and chicken sandwiches, chili, potato soup, shakes, desserts, and a number of french fry and baked potato dishes.

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Traditional Italian Restaurant “Gondolier” Coming to Starkville This Summer

Traditional Italian Restaurant “Gondolier” Coming to Starkville This Summer

Gondolier Italian Restaurant & Pizza has announced that it will be opening a new location next to The Mill, right in Downtown Starkville, and that it plans to do so in June or July of this year. The family-owned chain began in Cleveland, TN in 1974, and all of their food is made from fresh ingredients in-house; they currently have about thirty other locations. They specialize in traditional Italian and Greek foods, pizza, and desserts.

“They make everything in the restaurant – nothing is frozen,” Castleberry, the owner of the property where the restaurant will be located, said. “One of their specialties is lasagna and pasta. It’s a traditional Italian restaurant, and they serve pizza and calzones. They also make a great tiramisu.”

The building will also house a Mugshots location, as well as two floors of condominium space – four units per floor.

“They [Gondolier] are a very community-minded company,” he said. “They are going to be very active in the community, and well within our vision of The Mill and that area to have a lot of buzz to it and being a nice community congregating place. They are going to fit in well, and their meals are in a good price point.”

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MSU’s New Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach Holds Open House in Starkville

MSU’s New Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach Holds Open House in Starkville

Courtesy of the MSU Newsroom

 

Pictured touring new business conference space designated for the MSU CEO Downtown at the Greater Starkville Development Partnership are (from left to right) Jacob Miller, a freshman mechanical engineering major from Lucedale who has started a company called Black Creek Innovation; GSDP President and CEO Scott Maynard; Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill; MSU College of Business Dean Sharon Oswald; Jeffrey Rupp, outreach director for MSU’s College of Business; Jerry Toney, president of Cadence Bank for Mississippi and national treasurer for the MSU Alumni Association; Rahul Gopal, MSU graduate and founder and CEO of CampusKnot Inc. and Benjamin Jordon, an MSU senior finance major from Starkville who also is vice president of sales for CampusKnot Inc. (Photo by Megan Bean)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—

MSU’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach, also known as the CEO, and the Greater Starkville Development Partnership recently held an open house in order to show off a special space that has been designated for business use by the university

“This is a very unique town and gown situation, and we have full support from the mayor and [MSU President] Dr. Keenum,” said Jeffrey Rupp, MSU outreach director for the College of Business.

“My hope is that we will have an explosion of this type of business activity. Entrepreneurs become tenants who become long-term tenants and residents of the community and a major part of the fabric of our overall town,” Mayor Lynn Spruill said.

Scott Maynard, GSDP president and CEO, spoke to the explosion of local entrepreneurs who are in need of dedicated, proper place to do business: “At the beginning of the year, we’ll open four additional office suites to be used as incubator space for new businesses,” said Maynard, who was named to his position this year after a long career as director of MSU’s Career Center.

Rahul Gopal, one such young entrepreneur, gave commentary from his own perspective: “Having this space lends legitimacy,” he explained. “You need to get people to a place where they are serving the community. It’s nice to have space where people can stop by and we can host meetings.”

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