Category Archives: Business

Developer Interested in Purchasing Former Lee Middle School Site

 

Developer Interested in Purchasing Former Lee Middle School Site

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

A developer that has not yet been named has expressed interest in the former Lee Middle School property on Military Road near the Bluecutt Road intersection (photo courtesy of The DIspatch)

An unnamed developer has expressed interest in purchasing the former Lee Middle School property on Military Road.

John Acker, president of the Columbus Redevelopment Authority, said that the developer has entered an option with the CRA to purchase the approx. 15-acre site for commercial development. The potential buyer has requested anonymity for now, Acker said.

“They will be conducting due diligence and have until late May 2018 to finalize purchase or walk away,” Acker said in an email to The Dispatch.

Appraisal Services in Columbus estimates that the cost to develop the property could range between $1.1 million and $1.8 million.

 

The buildings on the property are known to have asbestos present, which any buyer would have to remove, which is quite expensive; however, the Mississippi Economic Redevelopment Act includes provisions which would allow the buyer to recoup up to two and a half times the clean-up costs over a period of up to 15 years.

Please click here for the full article.

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Allegro to Acquire North Columbus Medical Clinic & Lowndes Medical Clinic

Allegro to Acquire North Columbus Medical Clinic & Lowndes Medical Clinic

PRESS RELEASE (excerpt) – Courtesy of the C-L Chamber of Commerce

COLUMBUS, MS – November 28, 2017

Allegro Family Clinics, a subsidiary of Dutch Health Services, Inc., announced today that it will acquire two clinics in Columbus, MS from North Mississippi Medical Clinics, Inc. – the North Columbus Medical Clinic, located at 4508 Highway 45 North, and the Lowndes Medical Clinic, located at 56 Dutch Lane. The purchase will be effective December 1, 2017.

Patients should expect only a change in name, not in the care they have come to expect at these clinics.  Practitioners have stated that only the names have changed, and that they look forward to offering the same great service as always. The North Columbus Medical Clinic will become the Allegro Family Clinic of North Columbus, and the Lowndes Medical Clinic will be renamed the Allegro Family Clinic of East Columbus. Clinic telephone numbers will remain the same.

“Our addition of these two clinics strengthens our ability to provide families in the Lowndes County area with convenient, high-quality medical care focused on the needs of the patients. The providers and staff at the new clinics are exceptional and experienced,” said Joe Gillis, founder of Dutch Health Services. “This investment represents an important strategic commitment to improving the health of the people of Columbus and Lowndes County, and we look forward to collaborating with North Mississippi Health Services to achieve this mission for our patients.”

Please click here for the full text of the press release.

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GT Regional Airport Doing Record Business

GT Regional Airport Doing Record Business

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Warren Housley, left, visits with Golden Triangle Regional Airport Director Mike Hainsey. The airport director spoke to Starkville Rotary Club on Monday. Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff

Golden Triangle Regional Airport Director Mike Hainsey recently spoke to the Starkville Rotary Club, where he told them that the airport has been doing record business: “Last month, we put more people on airplanes than any other October in the history of the airport,” he said. “That was a big number — we were running 90 percent full. … This month, we’re doing the same, which means we’ll have another record month. We’ll have a record November, if it continues.”

The airport, has done about $3.5 million in improvements in the last 18 months. Hainsey said that the improvements include work on the commercial and general aviation ramps, as well as a taxiway renovation that should finish this week. GTRA is also replacing old ramp and terminal lightning with more modern, energy efficient lights.

A 4,000 sq ft expansion is also in the works:”Our plan for the future is, as the airport grows, we’ll have bigger airplanes and we’ll need jet bridges so we’ll move everything upstairs,” he said.

He did note, however, that a shortage of pilots for the major airlines is likely to cause business to suffer in the future – especially for GTR and other smaller, regional airports: “This is, for us in the business, the single biggest threat to air service at my airport,” Hainsey said.

 

While airports are able to offer incentives to get more flights coming through them, the issue isn’t that, so much as the fact that the pilot population is dwindling as more and more pilots reach the mandatory pilot retirement age of 65. “They told me they have no new markets out of Dallas this next year,” he said. “They don’t know if they can man their existing markets. They can’t grow if they can’t — until it’s sure what’s going to happen with the pilot shortage. It’s getting that bad.”

“The bottom line on all this–for us to get air service, we have to take it from someone else,” he said. ” … For us to get air service, we’ll have to convince the airlines they’ll make more money at GTR than they will at other places. So we’re working that. We have a good case.”

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Columbus Brick Vows to Stay Just the Way It Is After Sale

Columbus Brick Vows to Stay Just the Way It Is After Sale

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Al Puckett of Columbus Brick. Photo Courtesy of The Dispatch

Al Puckett, the latest generation of owners at Columbus Brick Company, recently sold the company to Tennessee-based General Shale, more than 120 years after the company’s original founding by his great-great-grandfather. Puckett sees all of his workers and managers as family, and the sales agreement will see to it that they all keep their jobs, and, in fact, will be vital to bringing the business forward into the 21st century.

“[General Shale’s people] want everybody to stay,” Puckett said. “They will not put a person here. I’m going to stay on for at least four years and our general manager, Ed Thebaud, will continue to manage the day-to-day operations. Nobody is going to lose their job. It’s Columbus Brick, and it will stay that way.”

Puckett notes that this decision has been under consideration for many years, and is not one he took lightly: “Sure, there are always things you want to pursue,” he said. “But life is life. You may want those things, but really, what you have to do is walk through the doors that are before you.”

From left, Columbus Brick Company employees Kenneth Webb, Carl Summerville and Randy Macon shape bricks. Photo Courtesy of The Dispatch

Today, the company cranks out 140 million bricks every month, a volume which would have been unheard of back in the 1800s. Back then, you could find brickmakers just about everywhere; these days, not so much. However, Puckett says that his company is thriving in a day when the industry itself is on the verge of dying out: “The company is in great shape,” he said. “It’s not like (the sale) was something we were forced into. . . Our industry is in dire straits, about 30 percent of the brick companies are sitting idle, so nobody needs to go buy more capacity,” he added. “I think probably the biggest thing we were known for is the people we have accumulated. I’m often told I have the best people in the industry. I think that’s what made us appealing to General Shale. They know us. We know them.”

 

 

For the full article, please click here.

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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.”

Please click here for the full article.

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Starkville’s Newest (And Only) Vinyl Record Store to Open This Week

Starkville’s Newest (And Only) Vinyl Record Store to Open This Week

STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News

Scooter’s Records on University Drive in Starkville (photo courtesy of SDN – Ryan Philips)

Independent vinyl record shop, Scooter’s Records, moved into a former tanning salon’s location on University Drive this October; its owner, Scott Thomas, has been working hard since then to make his dream a reality: “I wanted to be where there’s walking traffic,” Thomas said. “If I had to be in a strip mall or on Highway 12, I didn’t think that was going to work out for me or I would be happy. I wanted to be in the middle of the students.” Plans are to formally open this Wednesday, making it Starkville’s only dedicated record store; he hopes to hold a formal Grand Opening sometime after Thanksgiving. At first, he will be open from 11AMto 8PM, seven days a week, though his hours may change based on how much business he gets, church crowds on Sundays, etc.

 

Thomas is excited about the prospect of filling this increasingly popular niche, and he is eagerly looking forward to future endeavors: “Eventually, I would like to get coffee into my place and push the hours back, open up earlier so people could come in and do coffee,” Thomas said. “ I want to have, when the weather is nice, set up a tent out front and still do these pop-up things.”

Thomas used to work for the City of Starkville; after 28 years of service, he retired and decided to dedicate his time to starting his own business. While he first became interested back in the early 90’s, he noted that “…records were going away,” Thomas said. “Records are going back in style and all of the college towns around here have record stores.”

Please click here for the full article.

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MEC Emphasizes Need for Workforce Development in Order to Help Improve State Economy

MEC Emphasizes Need for Workforce Development in Order to Help Improve State Economy

Courtesy of The Dispatch

Scott Waller, interim CEO and president of the Mississippi Economic Council, speaks to Starkville Rotarians Monday at The Mill at MSU. Waller addressed the need for workforce development to help improve Mississippi’s economy. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

Scott Waller, interim president and CEO of the Mississippi Economic Council (MEC) recently addressed the Starkville Rotary Club. While there, he stated that Mississippi, in order to improve itself economically and rise to its potential, must begin to find new ways to continue improving its economic development; he feels that a strong focus on workforce development is the key to our future. He went on to ask his audience what they believed were the most important factors in helping our state to improve. The results were: 58% said that we need a skilled workforce more than anything else; 27% emphasized the need to improve the state’s image; and fewer than 10% of respondents said that lowering taxes, improving infrastructure, or other concserns should be the top priority.

Waller then revealed that their responses were in line with many other groups he had met with across the state, and that most people agreed that we need to help our workforce grow more skilled: “Today alone, there are over 40,000 unfilled jobs in the state of Mississippi,” Waller said. “If we don’t work on having a skilled workforce, we definitely are going to miss out on those opportunities, particularly when it comes to population growth.”

Waller also addressed an umber of other concerns from those present, but he still feels that “…[W]hat we’re learning is workforce development is probably at the top of the list as it would stand.”

To close the meeting, Waller asked what audience members what they felt was the most important aspect to make a positive impact in the community. Forty-four percent chose improving schools, which was the highest of six choices. Improving the workforce, which drew 33 percent, was the second-highest choice by far.

Waller said that strengthening the workforce is a challenge that must begin early on in life, from pre-kindergarten to lifelong learning: “What it tells me when I see these results is at least I think we’re focused on the right thing,” he said. “We’re focused on the thing that’s going to make a difference and move the needle as we move forward.”

Please click here to view the full article.

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C-L Chamber Announces New Members

C-L Chamber Announces New Members

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch – PRESS RELEASE (Exerpts)

From left, Matt Bogue, Greg Stewart and Jill Savely (courtesy photo)

Columbus Lowndes Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the results of the 2017 board election. The new members are: New CLCC Board members elected are Matt Bogue, The Dutch Oil Group; Greg Stewart, Aurora Flight Sciences; and Jill Savely, EMCC Golden Triangle Early College High School. Bogue, Stewart, and Savely will serve a three year term from October 2017- September 2020 and were elected by majority vote by the Chamber membership.

The CLCC Board Chair for 2017-2018 is Melinda Lowe, Director for the Office of Outreach and Innovation at the Mississippi University for Women.

“The Chamber would not be where we are today without their leadership, and I am grateful. I look forward to working with such a great group of inspiring leaders and a great representation of our membership,” said Lisa James, CLCC President. “Together with the staff, this group will help build a successful future for the Columbus Lowndes Chamber of Commerce.”

Board members serve staggered terms and are elected by the Chamber membership from a slate of 6 approved by the Executive Committee of the Golden Triangle Development LINK.

To see the full press release, please click here.

 

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Local Florist Picked to Help Brighten Up the White House

Local Florist Picked to Help Brighten Up the White House

Courtesy of The Dispatch – West Point, MS

 

West Point florist Scott Reed, owner of Petal Pushers recently received official word from The White House last week that he was accepted into the 2017 holiday volunteer program.

West Point florist Scott Reed has been selected to decorate the White House for Christmas. He owns Petal Pushers floral shop. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

“I’ve always worked with design,” Reed said. “And I just remember hearing about this program years ago and thinking ‘how neat would it be to be a part of something like this?'”

He will serve as part of a volunteer team that will go up to the big house on Pennsylvania Avenue for a four-day decorating spree, along with others who have successfully petitioned to do so. “It was really exciting to see something that I’ve wanted to do for so long come to be,” Reed said. “But I was automatically a little bit nervous because, well, I’m decorating the White House.” He has applied for the program multiple times since 2000, and was elated that he has finally be selected to help.

Reed went to MSU, where he earned a degree in ornamental horticulture. This eventually led to his opening Petal Pushers, a shop that specializes in making floral arrangements, as well as selling gifts, collectibles, and antiques to go along with them. His shop is located at 651 Commerce St.

“I’m just so honored to be chosen to do this, especially after trying unsuccessfully a few times,” Reed said. “I know my staff is just as excited as I am too.”

Please click here to see the full article.

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Solar Companies’ Future Looking Bright in the Golden Triangle

Courtesy of The Dispatch (GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION)

 

From left, Macaulay Whitaker, Orlando Trainer and Harry Sanders (Courtesy of the Dispatch)

The Boards of Supervisors in both Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties are looking to attract the attention of E.ON Climate and Renewables North America Inc, in an effort to provide it with desirable tax incentives as they consider opening up a new location in southern Lowndes, southern Oktibbeha, or possibly both. The Boards approved a matching set of resolutions of intent for E.ON, according to Golden Triangle Development LINK Chief Operating Officer Macaulay Whitaker; the bulk of the property he described is in Lowndes County. The Lowndes Board also passed a separate resolution targeting NextEra Energy, Inc., which is looking at land in south Lowndes County.

 

Whitaker went on to say that both companies are looking for upwards of a thousand acres of land apiece: “Both are in the same state,” Whitaker said. “They’re gathering as much info as they can to make proposals to (the Tennessee Valley Authority). . . This doesn’t mean this is all that’s looking at the area,” she added. “These are just the ones who have contacted us for assistance to determine what their options might be.”

 

Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors President Orlando Trainer said that he hopes these resolutions will show E.ON that area leaders are serious about bringing their business to our area:

“We’re hoping that by doing this we can help this project become a reality,” Trainer said.

Silicon Ranch and Synergetics, both solar companies, have local operations in the area that are doing well.

Please click here to view the full article.

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