Category Archives: Hotel & Hospitality

New Starkville Parks and Rec Head Sees Great Things in its Future

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Starkville Parks and Recreation Director Gerry Logan talks about his department to the Starkville Rotary Club – Logan talked about parks and recreation’s impact on Starkville – Photo by Alex Holloway, Dispatch Staff

Starkville Parks and Recreation recently appointed a new Director, Gerry Logan, who spoke with the Starkville Rotarians recently. He spoke about upcoming tournaments and events both past and future, all of which help to contribute to Starkville’s bottom line by way of tourist (and local!) dollars filling the coffers at hotels and local shops.

“Parks and Rec is an economic impact driver,” Logan said. “We host tournaments. We host events. We contribute to the economic development of the community. We deal with quality of life issues. We have sidewalks and areas for people to walk. We have a free walking track at the Travis Outlaw gym . . . It’s about contributing to the … soul, if you will, of the community.”

SP&R runs seven local parks, accounting for about two hundred acres of territory and facilities. With a $400K+ budget increase for 2019, Logan plans to put the additional funding to good use, with new projects on the horizon: “What the comprehensive plan said we needed is certainly some additional field space,” Logan said. “That’s proven. We are certainly short on field space, particularly diamond field space — baseball and softball fields. It also noted we have a lack of multi-use trail. Those are things we need and it’s certainly our goal to get there.

“As part of this new process, with any new facilities that come on we’re also going to look at renovating the Sportsplex,” he added. “A second entrance has certainly been talked about. It’s challenging because of the creek and overall layout of the land, but with any potential discussion of new facilities and a new park, the second part of that is renovating the Sportsplex to make it as efficient as it can be — parking, access roads, things like that.”

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Wedding and Catering Venue to Open in The Depot Early Next Year

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Matt and Kelly Pittman, with their daughter, Harper, go over plans for renovations at The Depot with Realtor Royce Hudspeth and contractor Gene Reid on Tuesday – Photo credit – Slim Smith, Dispatch Staff

Kelly and Matt Pittman will be opening a new events & catering venue which will be named after its historical location: “The Depot.” The business, to be located at the corner of Main and 13th St South, is planned to open in early 2019: “The name fits it really well and that’s what Columbus has been calling it,” Kelly Pittman said. “We just thought it was a good fit.”  The Pittmans are experienced wedding caterers and planners, having won couples Choice Awards (from Wedding Wire) for the past four years in a row.

“We love the town of Columbus,” Kelly added. “It is beautiful. When we drove down Main Street with the shops and buildings, we were just in awe.”

“[I and building owner Guynup have] got a reason for everyone to be excited,” Realtor Royce Hudspeth said. “Columbus needs to be excited about this. They do a first class job. For a young couple, it’s just amazing the practices (they’ve) built up, and (Kelly is) bringing that to the Golden Triangle.”

Pittman plans to have up to ten employees to help run the venue. It will have two large rooms, a reception and ceremony area, and a bridal room. A kitchen will also be built between those two rooms. The space will be available for rental for a wide variety of events.

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Starkville Coffehouse to Add Midtown Location

Starkville Coffehouse to Add Midtown Location

STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News

Starkville’s Midtown is a mixed-use development that will feature Orangetheory Fitness, 66 apartments and other businesses to be announced at a later date. (courtesy photo)

Strange Brew Coffeehouse owner Katelyn Reed recently announced the nascent opening of their second Starkville location; their intent is to open before September 1st. Their existing store, which has a drive-thru, is “busting at the seams,” Reed said. “So we are really excited to have some more space, and to now be walking distance from campus.” The new location will be in the Midtown development on University Drive, and is meant to be be “more of a ‘come sit a while’ feel,” Reed went on to say. Both locations will share the exiting menu, as well as new products that will soon be on offer.

A second Instagram and Twitter account was made for the Midtown location, and it can be found at @SBCoho for more updates

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Sunsations of Starkville Remodeling, Becoming Golden Glow

Sunsations of Starkville Remodeling, Becoming Golden Glow

STARKVILLE – From a PRESS RELEASE Courtesy of Golden Glow Salon

Starkville’s Sunsations tanning salon will be undergoing extensive renovations during the next month as they transition to becoming Golden Glow Tanning Salon! The store wil be changing to better match their Columbus location, in order to better serve all of their existing customers. Once the changeover is complete, customers will be able to utilize service packages purchased at either store in both stores.

You can find them on FaceBook here.

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New Steakhouse Restaurant to Open in Starkville

New Steakhouse Restaurant to Open in Starkville

STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News

1883 Smokehouse, a new family-friendly barbecue eatery, is set to open in the old Penn’s Fish House location on Avenue of the Patriots. (Photo by Mary Rumore, SDN)

Mark Welch, owner of Sturgis Smokehouse,has stated that he will be opening the 1883 Smokehouse in Starkville in just a few weeks. The family-friendly venue will be at the former location of Penn’s Fish House, at Hwy 12 and Avenue of the Patriots. He added that the menu will be similar, but with some changes: “It’s basically the same, but it’s a casual steakhouse at night, and it’s going to have the largest salad bar in Starkville,” Welch said. “It’s going to be six feet long. We’re really hitting on pork chops, ribeye steak sandwiches, filets and catfish at night.” They will also serve blue plate lunches.

Welch said that the name is a tribute to Sturgis’ itself: “The 1883 is the homage to Sturgis,” Welch said “That’s the year Sturgis was developed. So we’re basically tying it back into Sturgis with The 1883 where we got started.”

The Sturgis location will remain open, Welch said. “We wanted to do the one in Sturgis to test all the menu items out, but basically we want to open up a bigger location.”

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Restaurant Tax’s Future Up In Air

Restaurant Tax’s Future Up In Air

Columbus – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Robert Smith and Harry Sanders – Courtesy photo

The fate of the joint Lowndes/Columbus 2% restaurant tax is currently being hotly debated, as it is due to expire at the end of June. It normally brings in about $2 million per year in tax revenue from restaurants that make over $325,000 per year in prepared food and beverage sales. One of the primary issues that caused the tax’s renewal to die in committee a few weeks ago was the debate over whether the $325K floor should be in there at all; without it, all restaurants would be assessed the tax; another is whether the city of Columbus should simply go ahead and assess its own version of the tax, should the State fail to reinstate it sometime soon. The tax revenue goes primarily to fund tourism, parks and economic development.

“My thing is that if our legislators aren’t going to take out the ($325,000) floor, we’d be crazy to send anything down there that says otherwise,” Columbus Mayor Robert Smith said. “Two-million dollars is at stake here. That’s what we have to remember. So if the only way to get this tax back in place is to have the floor, that’s what we would have to do. If that means the county isn’t a part of it, that’s their decision.”

Should the city move forward with its own tax, it may mean changing how the existing Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau’s is funded; the new tax, in this case, would provide said funding in lieu of the old one. Mayor Smith remarked that “[W]ith [CVB Executive Director Nancy Carpenter’s] contacts and experience, we’d be foolish not to use that. . . We’d have to do something about the board because if it were to be city only, we’d need a board with [only] city people on it. But as far as running tourism, I still think the CVB is the best way to do it.”

The county, in contrast, wants to remove the “floor” on the tax, but keep it the way it was – a joint county/city tax. Lowndes County Board of Supervisors President Harry Sanders said, “The county has as much interest in tourism as anybody. . . We want to keep it exactly as it is, with the tax in place like it’s always been. … The only difference is taking away the floor because having that floor doesn’t make any sense. That’s been our position all along and I don’t see any reason why it would change.”

As it stands, if the tax is allowed to die later this year, any reinstatements or changes will have to wait until the Legislature reconvenes next January; this would mean losing out on a year or more of tax revenue. While it is theoretically possible to get a short-term, one-year version of the tax added to an upcoming State special session, it seems that it is unlikely that a local tax would be able to get onto the agenda at such a meeting.

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Please click here for a Dispatch editorial on this topic.

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6th Annual Restaurant Week Charities Announced

Starkville – Courtesy of The Dispatch

The Partnership revealed the three charities that will be eligible to win up to $5,000 from Cadence Bank during the sixth annual Restaurant Week later this month.

Jennifer Prather (courtesy photo)

Partnership Director of Tourism Jennifer Prather has announced that The Partnership has selected this year’s charities who will be receiving grants based on patronage during Restaurant Week, later this April: Christian World Missions, the Oktibbeha County Humane Society and the United Way of North Central Mississippi. These were selected from a pool of nominations sent in by the community. During Restaurant Week, patrons at certain restaurants will be given the opportunity to “vote” for one of the three charities; the winning charity will receive $5,000 from Cadence Bank; 2nd Place will receive $1,000; the last will receive $500.

Restaurant week is set for April 22-29. “During that time, we encourage the community and visitors to eat out as many times as they can,” Prather said. “Every time they eat out at a participating restaurant, they can cast their ballot for a participating charity of their choice . . .We encourage everyone to be ready on April 22-29 to eat out as much as they can and help these organizations share the message of the work they’re doing and to get everyone excited about them,” She went on to say.

Partnership CEO Scott Maynard said Restaurant Week stated that both local restaurants and local charities benefit from the arrangement: “I think it’s graduated to the point where people recognize it now and really look forward to not only participating in the nomination process, but also through the thousands of votes we receive from people dining out each year,” he said.

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La Quinta Planning to Open On Hwy 45 by May

La Quinta Planning to Open On Hwy 45 by May

Columbus, MS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Construction continues on the La Quinta Inn in Columbus Monday. Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff

The construction of the new La Quinta hotel on the site formerly occupied by the Ramada Inn will soon be completed, with the opening of the hotel quickly to follow.

John Tampa, owner of the La Quinta hotel which is currently under construction at the site of the former Ramada Inn at 1200 Hey 45 N, recently announced, “We’re looking at opening in mid-May . . . Like any projects, there have been some delays, but we’re back on schedule.”

Contractor Larry Holden reports that “The interior units are about 90-percent complete.” He noted that one of the aforementioned inevitable delays was a result of code issues leftover from the prior tenants: “It’s something that happens with older buildings,” he said. “A lot of times you don’t know about them until you get into the demolition. That was what happened here.”

Kenneth Wiegel, the city’s building inspector, stated that “Once they got into demolition, there was an electrical code issue that had to be corrected . . .Then there was some post-tension concrete issues that they had to bring in an expert to deal with. Both of those issues have been addressed.”

The construction is anticipated to be complete by late April, in time for the 105-room facility to open in mid-May.

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MSU Will Soon Break Ground on New Student Housing Complex

MSU Will Soon Break Ground on New Student Housing Complex

STARKVILLE—Courtesy of MSU

MSU proposed College View Residential area. Photo courtesy of MSU

The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning approved an joint agreement between MSU and collegiate housing specialists Memphis Education Realty Trust (EdR). They recently completed a feasibility study, and with that in hand, soaughtand obtained approval for development of a $67-million, 34-acre mixed-use university village. The location of the College View complex will be where the old Aiken Village apartments used to be, on the NW edge of campus. Groundbreaking may happen as soon as this Spring; if so, Phase I (residential housing for college seniors) should be complete by Fall of next year.

“I appreciate the support of the Board of Trustees as we have worked steadily over the past three years to bring this first-of-its kind project to a Mississippi university campus,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “We believe that our partnership with EdR will help us meet the needs of our students and their families, and College View will also become a destination for members of the community, alumni and other visitors to Starkville and Mississippi State,” he went on to say.

For details about EdR, please visit the company’s Web site at www.EdRtrust.com.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

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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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