Category Archives: Business

New Italian Restaurant to Open Soon in Starkville

New Italian Restaurant to Open Soon in Starkville

Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News – STARKVILLE, MS

Gondolier Italian Restaurant and Pizza, a family-owned chain out of Cleveland, TN, Is planning to open their newest location in Starkville next weekend. The location is in the building at 550 Russell, next door to Mugshots and the Mill on Russel Street. They plan to offer an extensive menu, including plenty of traditional Italian eatery fare, as well as Greek pitas and other items, as well.

Their website can be found at https://gondolierpizza.com

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Yokohama Going Strong as it Approaches its Third Year in West Point

Yokohama Going Strong as it Approaches its Third Year in West Point

WEST POINT, MS – Courtesy of the Mississippi Business Journal

The front entrance of the Yokohama Tire plant in West Point. (credit: The MS Business Journal)

About three years back, Yokohama Tire Corp. president Hikomitsu Noji had been looking at sites in nearly every state of the union to find the perfect location for their first “built from scratch” U.S. Facility. Once he got a good look at West Point, he decided that this was the place for his $300 million baby. The city and county, at the time, was still suffering the long-term aftereffects of the 2007 closing of the Bryan Foods plant, which eliminated over 1,200 jobs. Fast forward to today, and the plant employs 650 full-time employees – they had originally anticipated 500 – and they hope to add nearly triple that in the future.

“It’s been all positive and we couldn’t be more pleased with having Yokohama here,” said West Point mayor Robbie Robinson. “There’s always hiccups with any new venture and there have been some. When they chose to build the facility here, it was like we hit the lottery. . .West Point and Clay County are very happy.”

Joe Max Higgins, GTR LINK CEO and vocal  promoter of entrepreneurship in the GTR, took Noji and others on a helicopter ride that included the ruins of the old Bryan plant: “The Yokohama president told me ‘I want to see Sara Lee’ and we loaded up in the helicopter we’d rented for the day and took three or four passes over the demolished site”, said Higgins. “After the fourth pass, the man just looked at me and nodded without a word. There was an emotional connection. . . I knew at that moment that we’d landed Yokohama.”

Dan Funkhouser, Yokohama’s vice-president of commercial sales noted that the addition of the West Point plant is critical to the company’s continued growth in North America: “The commercial tire market is very strong and growing,” he said. “Both the replacement and OEM tire markets are expanding. This fits in perfectly with the Mississippi plant, which will increase our capabilities to service our OEM and replacement partners as they grow.”

Higgins proudly stated,“I think West Point and Clay County have turned the corner.”

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Starkville Looking to Beat the Heat with First Annual Lemonade Day

Starkville Looking to Beat the Heat with First Annual Lemonade Day

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Starkville will be taking part in its first annual Lemonade Day – an extension of National Lemonade Day – in conjunction with a bunch of young entrepreneurs and Cadence Bank. The purpose of the vent is to help parents and their enterprising children learn more about running a business – both the good (profits) and the not so good (dealing with loans and permits). Signup is at 9AM sharp at the Glo office at 419 419 East Lampkin Street in Starkville.

Cadence Bank will be offering small loans to the participants to help them get started, and the organizers are set up to accept a hundred or so applicants: “Loosely, we’re thinking it will be for ages K-7th grade, but we’re not going to limit that if an older kid wants to participate,” said Jeffrey Rupp, Director of Outreach for the Mississippi State Entrepreneurship Center. “This is fun.” MSU and seventeen businesses have agreed to let the nascent shopkeepers set up on their sites.

Registrants will also receive a backpack with an entrepreneur workbook and access to an online interactive program that teaches them the lessons that Lemonade Day was designed to impart.

To learn more or to register for Lemonade Day Starkville, visit: https://lemonadeday.org/starkville

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Broadband Summit Opens Up Possibility of High-Speed Internet in Rural Areas

Broadband Summit Opens Up Possibility of High-Speed Internet in Rural Areas

HAMILTON, AL – Courtesy of WCBI

Last year, the Tombigbee Electric Cooperative began making high-speed internet available to some rural areas as part of a new program called “Freedom Fiber.”

“Fourteen miles east of the Mississippi line, some of the fastest internet speeds in the US at some of the cheapest prices are being offered, in some of the most rural parts of Alabama. If they can do it in Alabama, we can do it in Mississippi,” said Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley. This idea spurred Presley to hold a “Broadband Summit” at TEC’s offices in Hamilton, Alabama. The hope is that they will soon be able to make inroads towards making such services easily available to the people of Mississippi for a reasonable price.

While the results look promising, one hurdle that will need to be jumped is current Mississippi law, under which electric co-op’s are not allowed to provide internet service to rural areas, just power. They are hoping that the issue will be raised in earnest in the next legislative session: “That has to be changed by the legislature first and foremost and I think it will, beyond that we’ve got to sell the co-ops on it, it’s going to be a heavy investment on the co-ops,” said Rep. Steve Holland.

A federal initiative has set aside about $600 million in grants to fund infrastructure and other costs that will be required to expand high-speed internet to rural areas.

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MS SoS Sees Educated Workforce as Vital for State’s Future

MS SoS Sees Educated Workforce as Vital for State’s Future

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann speaks to Rotary Club members at the Starkville Country Club Monday – Photo by Luisa Porter, Dispatch Staff

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann spoke to the Starkville Rotary Club on Monday, emphasizing the importance of education in order to help further improve the state’s future workforce. He noted that this need not always mean a four-year college degree, and that proper training via career tech centers can be just as valuable for students who are willing to undertake whatever training suits them:”Taking that silo, where we have a university, junior college, a high school, all of that needs to be towards one goal and that one goal would be to have an educated workforce,” he said. “And about 60-70 percent of that educated workforce will not have a college degree. That’s critical — I want you to have that college degree if that’s what you want to do. If you want to work with your hands and be a plumber, you can come to Jackson in the winter and make a million dollars.”

Hosemann said that it is vital to expose students to as many different career path options as early as is practical in their education, to get youths interested in learning about career paths that suit their own interests and talents. He also noted that, while our Unemployment level is low at the moment, that number only includes adults who are actively looking for work, and have been doing so only up to a certain amount of time: “The most significant number that we have in Mississippi is not what our percentage unemployment is,” he said. “It is workforce participation. We are at 55 percent between 18 and 64 (years old). That number is one of the lowest in the country. . .If there were 65 percent working, we could build bridges everywhere,” he went on to say. “We could have schools everywhere. We’d have plenty of money to go around. We’d have another 100,000 or 200,000 people working in Mississippi.”

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Steel Dynamics to Increase Steel Production at Columbus Location

Steel Dynamics to Increase Steel Production at Columbus Location

 

 

COLUMBUS, MS – Courtesy of WTVA

The GTR LINK recently announced Steel Dynamics’ plans to invest $200 million into its flat roll steel plant here in Columbus. They anticipate that the expansion will add as many as 45 jobs to the plant over the next three years as the changes are phased in.

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Ryan’s Buffet Shutters its Doors

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Ryan’s closed earlier this month, and the property is for sale for $900,000. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

Another of Columbus’ eateries has shut its doors. Ryan’s Buffet on Hwy 45 recently closed down, leaving a note on the door to inform visitors. While the future of the establishment has been up in the air for some time now, it’s official: Escondido, California’s Realty Income Corp. is under contract to purchase the property.

Royce Hudspeth, the listing agent for the property, said, “We never stopped marketing the property . . . We have received two letters of intent from prospective buyers and are currently negotiating with one of those buyers. We will see if a deal can be done.”

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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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