Category Archives: Business

Unemployment Rate Spiking But Still Lower Than Last Year

Unemployment Rate Spiking But Still Lower Than Last Year

GOLDEN TRIANGLE – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Data that was recently made public by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security is showing that unemployment in the area (Clay, Lowndes, Oktibbeha and Noxubee counties) has flattened out as of late, helping to mollify the effects of spikes over the past year; the overall number is actually lower than last year at this time. The most recent spike is believed to be a possible result of teenage students who are seeking summertime jobs.

Despite the recent jump, more able-bodied Mississippians are working today than at any time since July 2008. As of May, there were 1,218,700 people in the state with jobs.

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Master Plan Has Been Approved for Starkville Athletic Complex

Master Plan Has Been Approved for Starkville Athletic Complex

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Starkville aldermen recently approved a contract with Dalhoff Thomas, a Memphis architecture firm. They are to be awarded $61,000  for a master plan of a proposed athletic complex at Cornerstone Park off Highway 25. Ward 4 Alderman Jason Walker reports that this will become integrated with the master plan the city already has for its overall parks system. “This is for design purposes to get you to a master plan level,” he said. It is to be a basic, non-final plan/proposal for a possible athletic facility at Cornerstone Park, allowing the city to move ahead on getting the actual project in motion, pending approval.

Walker continued, “This is going to be the plan for us to decide how we want to do it, what we want to do and from that standpoint, there would be a separate contract that would go to construction documents to actually get the project built.” It will likely include things such as a projected square footage, drainage and other infrastructure requirements, et al.

Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill (courtesy photo)

Mayor Lynn Spruill said that the city might be eligible to receive roughly 114 acres in Cornerstone Park from the Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority. “That gives us a whole lot of options we can use because we keep McKee, we keep the Sportsplex, and we have a real serious competitive opportunity we can use here,” she said. She also pointed out that success in this venture would eliminate the need to acquire similar land nearer the existing facilities: “Unless Cornerstone has … a huge wetland issue for mitigation, then the amount of acreage we were looking at (near the Sportsplex) was half of what we’d get at Cornerstone,” she said.

“We want to do high-end ball fields,” Spruill went on to say. “We want to be as competitive or more competitive than anyone out there. We want to do amenities to go with it — maybe a splash pad or a batting area. A jogging track — it’s very easy to put something around a facility to allow other facilities.”

Ward 5 Alderman Patrick Miller commented: “When the Outlaw Center at the Sportsplex fills up or there’s an event going on, I’d like to make sure that our youth or whoever it might have the opportunity to play basketball in other parts of the city as well and have good, nice facilities just like everywhere else in the city.”

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CRA Says They Have Faith in Former Lee Middle Development Project

CRA Says They Have Faith in Former Lee Middle Development Project

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Ward 6 Councilman Bill Gavin (courtesy photo)

The Columbus Redevelopment Authority is banking on tax incentives and the reputation of the development group (Military Lee, L.L.C.) to ensure that the plans for the pending sale of Lee Middle School property come to fruition as promised. “You’d be a fool to buy all that land, and not do anything with it,” said Jeff Turnage, attorney for both the city and CRA

CRA announced Saturday that Military Lee had agreed to purchase the former Lee Middle School Property — approx. 15 acres — for $450,000. The Columbus Municipal School District owns the property, and its board of trustees must first approve a $1 sale of the property to CRA before the authority can execute the sale to the developer.

“I know they’re very serious,” Ward 6 Councilman Bill Gavin said. “They do have a history of a development in Jackson that turned out real well.”

Military Lee, which did not yet have a formal name at at that time, threw their hat into the ring with plans to turn the site into a mixed-use development of residential and commercial entities, while preserving as much of the original structures as possible.

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New Cajun Fusion Eatery to Open Soon on Hwy 45

New Cajun Fusion Eatery to Open Soon on Hwy 45

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Breaux Bridge, a new restaurant named after the crawfish capital of the world, will be opening soon in Columbus in the old Chili’s location on Highway 45. Photo by: Mary Pollitz/Dispatch Staff

NeonFROG marketing agent Karen Stanley has announced that the owners of Breaux Bridge – a new restaurant that has taken over the old Chili’s location on Hwy 45 – is slated to open for business by late Summer. The venue is named after the Louisiana town dubbed “The Crawfish Capital of the World” by the Louisiana Legislature in 1959. The menu will be a fusion of Cajun and Asian cuisine, including dishes such as gumbo, po’boys, crawfish fried rice, and much, much more.

The interior of the building is ready to roll, so they’re finishing up the final details. The outside signage just went up on Tuesday. “We’ve worked with local artists and artists down in the New Orleans area,” Stanley said. “There are a lot of bright colors. It has very much an eclectic, Cajun feel. . .”The inside is fully set. It’s just getting the fine details together. . .When we open the doors, we want to have everything as perfect as possible.”

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New Tariffs May Pose Problem for Steel Dynamics

New Tariffs May Pose Problem for Steel Dynamics

COLUMBUS — Courtesy of The Dispatch

The Trump Administration recently announced that its 25% tariffs on steel – which had exempted the EU, Canada, and Mexico – will now be imposed unilaterally, triggering Mexico to retaliate in kind. Some are concerned that this could be bad news for Golden Triangle businesses, such as Steel Dynamics.

Mark Millet, CEO of SDI

During a January 2018 conference call, SDI President and CEO Mark Millett pointed out the Columbus flat-roll steel plant’s stellar role in boosting the company’s profits to record highs: “We, I think, shipped about 220,000 tons of automotive (steel) from Columbus just last year, which is a massive increase,” Millett told investors. “And we’re on platforms to increase that to about 400,000 tons over the next 18 months …We continue to gain market share, especially at the Columbus flat roll division with our focus on automotive direct sales. We also benefit there from a cost effective access into Mexico.”

Much of the local plant’s steel is exported to Mexican auto manufacturing plants. They imported roughly 3.7 metric tons of flat roll steel, according to the International Trade Assn.; this number made up about 2/3 of Mexico’s total steel imports that year.

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Caledonia’s Market on Main a Success

Caledonia’s Market on Main a Success

CALEDONIA – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Amanda Boltwood (courtesy photo)

Caledonia has joined the Golden Triangle’s habit of hosting Farmer’s Markets this time of year, and they have been met with rapid success. Their first outing (on May 4) featured eight vendors of all kinds, and this number promptly doubled for the second one. Market on Main in downtown Caledonia is open on designated Fridays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The idea originated with Amanda Boltwood, who also chairs the annual fall Caledonia Days festival. “I just really love being involved in the town,” Boltwood said. “I thought this would be a great way to get everyone out on Main Street and bring the community together for the summer.”

Alderwoman Tammy McCool remarked, “It invites people into our town; they’ll visit our restaurants and our businesses here. It’s just another way to showcase Caledonia.”

Vendor Callie Shelnut remarked, “I was just amazed, for such a small town, the number of people who came out — but then, this town pulls together so well.”

Market on Main dates in downtown Caledonia are Fridays June 1 and 22, and July 13 and 27, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. If interest warrants, more dates may be added in August.

For more information, interested vendors may contact Boltwood at 662-251-2875 or visit facebook.com/marketonmaincaledonia. There is no fee to participate.

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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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New Burger King to Open in Starkville on Monday

New Burger King to Open in Starkville on Monday

The new Burger King in Starkville – photo credit: Alex Holloway

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Starkville is just days away from its newest Burger King opening its doors. The location is situated near Hardee’s at 409 Hwy 12 East, and they plan to start serving hungry crowds come Monday morning.

Tom Barlow of Cambridge Franchise Holdings said, “We’re firing up all of the equipment and getting the final inspections. . .We’re meeting with the chamber of commerce to, hopefully, that Thursday (May 24) have a ribbon cutting. . .We’re very excited about being part of the community,” he went on to say. “We want everyone to come see us and visit us. We’re excited to be here and think it’s an honor to be here as well.”

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Yokohama Reports Significant Job Growth at West Point Facility

Yokohama Reports Significant Job Growth at West Point Facility

Stacey Perusse, senior human resources manager for Yokohama Tire Corporation’s West Point plant (Photo by: Alex Holloway/Dispatch Staff)

WEST POINT – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Yokohama Tire Corporation’s West Point plant opened in fall 2015. They have reported that they are “continually” hiring new employees, bringing the current total to over 650, despite having been here for only about three years. Senior Human Resources Manager Stacey Perussespoke to the Rotary Club recently: “About a year ago, we were right around 500 (employees),” she said. “We actually had a job fair here in Starkville last August and we had over 700 people come.” She reports that they hire about fifteen new people every Monday, and that they’re always looking for new talent; they start employees at $14.50/hr, with semiannual pay raises for the first six years.

Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins said, “We’re pleased with Yokohama’s progress thus far,” Higgins said. “They have already exceeded all of their obligations for phase one, including employing more than 500 people and investing more than $300 million.”

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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.”

 

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