Category Archives: Business

CAFB and Other Bases to Receive New Training Jets, Simulators

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

CNN reports that Boeing recently agreed to a contract to produce a number of new T-X trainer jets, which will replace the T-38 trainer jets, which have been in use for nearly six decades.

“The Air Force currently plans to purchase 351 T-X aircraft, 46 simulators, and associated ground equipment,” the Air Force said in a statement announcing the award, according to CNN.

CAFB’s PAO, 1st Lt. Kara Crennan reported that the contract calls for as many as 475 new jets to be built and distributed among air bases; CAFB is one of the nation’s three major training bases.

“Columbus Air Force Base is excited to get a new trainer,” Crennan went on to say. “This is showing the progress that the Air Force is making as far as innovation and ensuring we are keeping up with the advancements in technology. While the T-38 is a wonderful trainer and aircraft and has served us faithfully the last 60 years, we are excited for what the future holds in this new T-X aircraft that Boeing is going to make for us.”

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4-County Electric Welcomes its New CEO

GTR Region – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Incoming 4-County Chief Executive Officer Brian Clark works at his desk Wednesday – Clark will replace Joe Cade, who plans to retire at the end of the month, as CEO and general manager Oct 1 – Photo by Isabelle Altman, Dispatch Staff

4-County Electric Power Association’s Asst General Manager Brian Clark has been named the non-profit cooperative’s new CEO in a recent press release; he will take over for outgoing CEO Joe Cade, who will retire at the end of the month. Clark first joined the company as a staff accountant about thirteen years ago, and worked his way up the corporate ladder to CFO in 2013m and then AGM in February.

Cade, who took over as CEO in 2010, is credited with working closely with the GTR LINK to help bring big businesses such as Yokohama to the area, as well as improving efficiency, work safety, and community engagement in the nine counties they serve. Clark means to continue and improve upon those successes: “I think 4-County’s in a great place,” Clark said. “I know that’s easy to say, but Mr. Joe and the board, they really have done the right things at the right time, which makes my job easy coming in. But it’s kind of like being a pristine athlete at a pro level. You have to work hard at staying in physical shape, so we have to work hard at maintaining what they’ve already built for us.”

Clark also serves as the LCSD board of trustees’ President, having been a member since 2010. Superintendent Lynn Wright speaks highly of him:  “He’s willing to ask good, tough questions and he expects solid answers,” Wright said.

“He’s well-educated, he knows what he’s doing and he’s been real good in his jobs here so I don’t have any doubts about him,” Outgoing CEO Cade said. “I think he’ll do a really good job. . . I’ve had over 25 years of good relationships with everyone I’ve worked with and I know Brian has got the personality to do very well,” he added. “He’s a rock-solid good Christian man.”

 

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Starkville Recognizes its Own in Awards Program

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of the Dispatch

 

The Starkville Main Street Association presented its 2018 Partner of the Year Award to Brian Kelley and Ty Thames with Eat Local Starkville. The association held its annual awards ceremony on Thursday.
Photo by: Alex Holloway/Dispatch Staff

Starkville’s Main Street Association recently recognized a number of local businesses and developers during its annual awards program. GDST Interim CEO Jennifer Prather spoke to recent additions such as the breezeway lights near Starkville Cafe and the street pianos on Main as improvements that “create a sense of place for people to want to be downtown and stay downtown, and they want to spend money.” She went on to say that these, as well as investment in community events, “create an impact on our city, but it also created a unique experience for visitors to our city who may have been in our community for the first time,” she added. “Now they want to come back, and they want to dive more into what we have going on here.”

 

Michelle Jones, who is now past President of the Main Stree Assn Board, presided over the meeting immediately prior to the awards ceremony. “I moved to Starkville in 1998. At that point, when you drove downtown at 5 o’clock, there was no activity,” she said. “There was no night life. There was not a lot going on. Today, I showed up at 5:15 (p.m.) and almost couldn’t get a parking spot. It’s so exciting, and our sales tax base keeps increasing, which increases what our community can do. It’s all about economic development and protecting what is special and important to Starkville.”

Among the award recipients were: Eat Local Starkville (Partner of the year for 2018), Pop Porium, Glo, Jackson Square, The Gin, 550 Russel Street, and George Mary’s.

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Football and Spices and Bars, Oh My!

GTR REGION – Courtesy of the Dispatch

1920 Hwy 45 in Columbus will soon be the home of a new sports bar called “Yo’Bar.” The venue is the brainchild of Ledrico Isaac, who has been working hard on the idea for nearly five years.  The place will have food and drink as well as a mechanical bull, karaoke, football games on the TV’s.

On a related note, The Elbow Room will re-open (under its original ownership) while they look for a buyer. They’re asking for just under $190K, including their recipes book.

Rex’s Direct Foods on Alabama St. was recently purchased by Slyvia Graham, a loyal customer who jumped at the chance to buy the store when the original owner decided to retire. She hopes to expand the variety of items on offer.

In Starkville, variety shop Tuesday Morning has moved to its new location at 402 Mississippi Hwy 12.

In Clay County:

Peco Foods will be holding a job fair this Saturday from 10AMto 2PM at the EMCC CMTE Building in Mayhew. Interested applicants should register with www.mdes.ms.gov.

The West Point Peco location is hiring maintenance technicians, management-supervisors, management trainees, experienced forklift operators, and refrigerator technicians.

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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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Lowndes Community Foundation Seeks to Help Locals Help Themselves

LOWNDES COUNTY – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Matt Bogue, co-chair for the Lowndes Community Foundation, outlines five key focus areas for Columbus and Lowndes County – Photo by Deanna Robinson, Dispatch Staff

The Lowndes County Foundation has put together a steering committee comprised of many local community leaders in order to help decide how best to distribute grants intended to identify and address community challenges on a grand scale. The LCF is a local branch of the Tupelo-based CREATE Foundation, which has given out more than $109,000 among dozens of organizations and projects in Lowndes County since 2005.

At a recent meeting of the committee, attended by 44 members, Matt Bogue (co-chair of the LCF and VP of Dutch Oil) stated that “(We have) people from business, people from education, people from social service, people from all walks of life . . . These are people who are engaged and very invested in Columbus and Lowndes County. It’s a solid group.” He went on to say, “We’re business owners, people who work and teach in the community, people who live here. Our kids play ball in the parks . . . Organizations are working on these problems and get hung up. What we’re saying is, you tell us where you’re running into dead ends and let us see where we can help you.”

The group seeks to address many issues in the area, from blight and poverty to crime and educational issues. They know that no one group can fix every problem, so they are working on finding ways to address small portions of every issue that they can, conquering one problem at a time.

“(For example) I think ‘How do we solve the poverty problem?’ is almost the wrong question,” Bogue said. “It’s too big of a question. Instead, how do we take action in ways that reduce the impact of that issue? There are great organizations in the community trying to address poverty in Columbus. How does this task force plug in with those and bring those together instead of duplicating those efforts . . . That takes coordination. You can’t look at the problems of crime or educational proficiency in Lowndes County as ‘I’m going to address this (broad) problem.'”

“We’re good at arresting people for drugs, but what happens next?” Columbus Police Chief Fred Shelton, said. “We need to do things that help get people off drugs and return them to being productive citizens . . . I like the holistic approach the Lowndes Community Foundation is taking here,” Shelton said. “By (better educating our children and implementing other improvements), I believe it will work.”

“We always gravitate toward the bad,” said Bogue, as he remarked upon the community’s view of itself, especially with regards to crime. “Things aren’t that bad. We live in a great community.”

Colin Krieger, a Re/MAX Realtor serving on the community engagement task force, feels the same way; he believes that we need to rid ourselves of our own apathy before we can truly move forward: “We’re often our own worst enemy with our narrative, when in fact, Columbus is a lot better off than many other communities,” he said. “Economically, we’re growing.”

LCF is not the first group to make such an attempt; some have done better than others: “There are generations of brilliant people who have tackled these problems, and yet they still persist,” Bogue said. “It doesn’t mean they didn’t do their job or do a fantastic job. What it means is these are very complex issues. Solving them is an overwhelming task. But hopefully, we can leave our community in a little bit better place for the next generation than where it was when we inherited it.”

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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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Local Business News in the GTR – Sept 9, 2018

Local Business News in the GTR – Sept 9, 2018

GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION, MS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

WEST POINT

The nonprofit group The Regional Foundation for Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities recently announced that they had purchased Hoover’s Bakery, and that they are planning to reopen it this October at its new location at 58 Hwy 45 N in West Point, replacing the former Wendy’s location at that spot. The recipes will stay the same, according to the announcement. The new owners are also hoping to hire some people with either mental or intellectual disabilities in order to provide them with gainful employment, in addition to its normal complement of bakers and other staff.

STARKVILLE

The owner of Cappe’s Steak and Seafood, Eric Hallberg, announced that the venue has been closed, and that the building is up for sale. Starkville Properties is listing the 2,091 sq ft building for $450,000. Mr. Hallber has elected to focus his efforts more on am existing new venue – Cappe’s in the Park, at 60 Technology Blvd; as well as a new venue which is scheduled to open in 2019.

Hallberg is also planning to open another new restaurant: Chicken Salad Chick, an Alabama franchise, which should be open this coming January at 602 Highway 12.

This weekend, a locally owned hardware store is celebrating its 80 years of business with free refreshments and hot dogs. East Mississippi Lumber Company, 300 Russell St., will have the food from 11 AM to 2 PM, and they will also have a “bucket sale” going on all weekend: 20 percent off anything that fits in the hardware bucket they provide.

NEW HOPE

Work has begun on a new Dollar General store at 1642 Pleasant Hill Rd in New Hope. They are planning to hire up to ten employees and to open up early next year.

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Paccar Planning to More Than Double Existing Space

Paccar Planning to More Than Double Existing Space

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) –

CEO of the Golden Triangle LINK, Joe-Max Higgins recently announced that Paccar plans to invest about $7 million in additional warehousing and shipping space, adding 150,000 square feet to their existing 100,000 logistics center facility. Once the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors approves the project, groundbreaking is expected to take place almost immediately.

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West Point Is Getting Bigger and Better for Business

West Point Is Getting Bigger and Better for Business

WEST POINT, Miss. (Courtesy of WCBI)

Hwy 45 Alternate in West Point has been enjoying the presence of several new businesses both large and small as of late. Mayor Robbie Robinson credits these venues for increasing commerce to the city, and therefore, increasing the tax base, to the benefit of the city and its residents: “We’ve had significant positive commercial development on Highway 45 South and West Point is the magnet. There’s so much activity down there. It’s attracted a lot of growth. In fact, our growth here in the city has been about 5% for tax base and we are very grateful for it,” said Mayor Robinson.

While a variety of new shops of all kinds have appeared recently, local resident and restauranteur Dorothy Floyd  feels that Yokohama’s nearby plant deserves much of the credit: “Since Yokohama came here we have begun to see the incline of businesses and people just had an upbeat, you know, they felt better about being here. Since Bryan left, you know, it’s like a death tone everybody was just down and out about businesses leaving. Yokohama came and then we have a couple of more companies come. . .“We began to see the business getting a little bit slow, and we realized how many other restaurants were moving to the highway and me and my husband, we sat down we had a long conversation about it. We said let’s give it a try and move to the highway, and it has been wonderful,” she went on to say.

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