Category Archives: Retail

Back Yard Burgers is on its Way Back, Baby!

Back Yard Burgers is on its Way Back, Baby!

COLUMBUS – Some info courtesy of the Dispatch

City building official Ken Wiegel reports that Back Yard Burgers is planning to reopen its Columbus store just off of Hwy 45 in front of Wal-Mart. While the location shut down in October of 2016, there is currently no formal re-opening date announced. However, Wiegel says that inspections of the property have been conducted. The company has dozens of locations open in the US, mostly in Tennessee, Mississippi, and the Midwest.

Originally founded in Cleveland, MS in 1987, the Back Yard Burgers chain has seen its ups and downs. A deal with Yum! Brands, owners of Pepsi and Taco Bell, in 2002~2004 ultimately fell through. Since going public, the company has passed through multiple hands, and even entered Bankruptcy reorganization in 2012; however, they emerged from this temporary setback and kept on going, thanks in part to investors who believe in the brand and want to see it thrive.

To this day, the company uses only Black Angus Beef in its burgers, and offeres a wide variety of optional sides (including vegetarian choices) for its more selective customers. Their menu also includes salads, turkey and chicken sandwiches, chili, potato soup, shakes, desserts, and a number of french fry and baked potato dishes.

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Traditional Italian Restaurant “Gondolier” Coming to Starkville This Summer

Traditional Italian Restaurant “Gondolier” Coming to Starkville This Summer

Gondolier Italian Restaurant & Pizza has announced that it will be opening a new location next to The Mill, right in Downtown Starkville, and that it plans to do so in June or July of this year. The family-owned chain began in Cleveland, TN in 1974, and all of their food is made from fresh ingredients in-house; they currently have about thirty other locations. They specialize in traditional Italian and Greek foods, pizza, and desserts.

“They make everything in the restaurant – nothing is frozen,” Castleberry, the owner of the property where the restaurant will be located, said. “One of their specialties is lasagna and pasta. It’s a traditional Italian restaurant, and they serve pizza and calzones. They also make a great tiramisu.”

The building will also house a Mugshots location, as well as two floors of condominium space – four units per floor.

“They [Gondolier] are a very community-minded company,” he said. “They are going to be very active in the community, and well within our vision of The Mill and that area to have a lot of buzz to it and being a nice community congregating place. They are going to fit in well, and their meals are in a good price point.”

Please click here for the full article.

 

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Walmart Neighborhood Market to Open Soon in Starkville

Starkville’s new Walmart Neighborhood Market, which is a greatly scaled-down store intended to function more like a traditional grocery, is expected to open for business on Wednesday, January 17th. They are located off of Hwy 12 at 105 Market Street. The store is about 41 thousand square feet, or roughly a quarter of the size of a typical Wal-Mart store.

Walmart Director of Communication Anne Hatfield said that the new store will include a full produce department, bakery, deli, pharmacy, gas station, and a health and beauty department: “The focus is groceries,” Hatfield said. “It is a classic grocery store geared toward convenience. . . “If you need to run in and grab a gallon of milk or something to cook for dinner, this store is perfect for that,” she said. “If you need to make a full grocery shopping run, this store will offer everything you need for that too.” The store will also offer online ordering and pickup options.

Hatfield said the Walmart Neighborhood Market will create about 95 full-time and part-time jobs, many of which have been filled, with the employees undergoing initial training in the weeks leading up to their grand opening.

Please click here for the full article.

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Starkville Looks to the Future with Plans for Expansion

Starkville Looks to the Future with Plans for Expansion

STARKVILLE  – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill, who took office a short six months back, recently addressed the local Rotary Club to speak about her intentions for the city’s future: “I’d like to say that everything we have going on is from my administration,” Spruill said, “but every administration builds on the administrations that come before. There were a lot of code changes that had to be made, especially in Parker’s first administration, that made a difference, no matter how you slice it.”

Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill talks with Stuart Vance after speaking to Starkville Rotarians at the Starkville Country Club Monday afternoon – Photo by Deanna Robinson -Dispatch Staff

She spoke of some significant achievements the city has made since her arrival on the scene this summer, such as the approval of $7 million in bonds to support the new industrial park, chnages to the billboard ordinances, and changes to the alcohol ordinance that expanded hours businesses can serve alcohol and reduced the minimum distance such businesses can be from a church, school or funeral home: “I realized it was controversial,” Spruill said. “I ran on this, it was part of my platform, because I thought that this was critical to allow the area of our downtown to bring in more restaurants.”

Spruill went on to speak, among other things, about an annexation study that could potentially increase the city’s population by as much as 25%:”This is purely a study,” Spruill said. “We are looking to see if it would be feasible with being exorbitantly expensive for residents or the city. We’re looking at people who are enjoying the benefits of living in an urban area without sharing the expenses that go along with it. My hope is that we find it feasible.”

Please click here for the full article.

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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.”

Please click here for the full article.

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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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Selling a Ton of the Best Fried Chicken Around…Every Day!

Selling a Ton of the Best Fried Chicken Around…Every Day!

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Fried chicken is just one of those foods that is synonymous with the South – and people flock from literally hundreds of miles around to get their fried chicken at Columbus’ own Food Goant supermarket, which has been supplying the all of their customers with tender, juicy birds for a decade or so.

Head fry cook Bobby Hill and Matt Critcher, one of Hill’s five fry cooks, batter chicken at Food Giant in Columbus Wednesday afternoon.
Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff

Bobbie Reese, the store’s deli manager, says that ” . . . [We] sell about 3,800 pieces a day; more on weekends,” she said. “It’s hard to say. I do know we order 275 cases of chicken each week and by the time Monday rolls around, we’ll have two, maybe three cases left before the next order comes in.” That works out to over six tons of of chicken sold every every week, year-round – nor far short of a ton a day. On average, their deli has 1,400 customers per week, according to store manager Ty Dankins, who has been there from the beginning.

“Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Macon, West Point,” Reese said. “There is a church in Birmingham that comes in once a month to pick up an 800-piece order. They say they can’t find chicken that tastes like ours anywhere else.” To what does she credit such amazing customer loyalty? “It’s the batter,” Reese said. “That’s all I’m going to say. It’s a secret.”

The store uses four commercial-grade frying machines, each capable of cooking 112 pieces of chicken per hour from 7 AM to 6:30 PM daily. Each one is drained of oil, cleaned, and refilled twice a day with peanut oil to guarantee a fresh, clean taste, and an end product that is much less greasy than many place’s fare.

“There’s little bit of a lull until around 4,” Bobby Hill, the store’s head fry cook and manager of all things chicken-related, said. “Then people start coming in to pick up supper . . . I’ve been frying chicken since Day 1,” he went on to say. “When I came in for the job interview, they told me, ‘We sell a lot of chicken. Don’t let the chicken whoop you.’ I said, ‘No, I’m going to whoop that chicken.’ That first day, I couldn’t believe it. I came here from Flint, Michigan. People like fried chicken there, and I guess people everywhere like fried chicken. But it’s not like what it is here. It’s amazing.”

The store is well-equipped to handle unusually large orders, though they suggest that you call well in advance for the really big ones: “If you’re going to make a big order like 800 pieces, you better do it about a week ahead of time because the order book fills up pretty quick,” Hill said.  “If somebody walks in and orders 100 pieces, we tell them, ‘Sure, we can do that, but you might have to wait 10 or 15 minutes,'” Hill said. “I bet if you walk into one of those fried chicken order places and tried to order 100 pieces, they’d tell you you’re crazy.”

The display case is piled high with freshly fried chicken by 8 am each morning at Food Giant in Columbus – Photo by Deanna Robinson – Dispatch Staff

“Sunday is our biggest day,” Reese said. “We’ll have people lined up all the way to the back of the store. People don’t mind waiting.”

Food Giant, an employee-owned company, operates more than 100 stores across the Southern U.S., under names including Food Giant, Piggly Wiggly, Cost Plus, Pick ‘n Save, Market Place, Sureway and Mad Butcher. Their workers and managers are all allowed the opportunity to purchase stock in their own store, which tends to lead to a sense of pride in their store, and a personal investment in its success. This means that more of the money made literally stays right here in Columbus, in the hands of the people who work hardest to keep it running smoothly – and THAT’S Good for Business!

Please click here to view the full article.

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Local Entrepreneurs Picking Up Steam

Local Entrepreneurs Picking Up Steam

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

MUW played host to a small business seminar Tuesday night, that was put on by BancorpSouth and the Columbus-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce. The hall was packed with people young and old who wished to learn more about how to go about starting up their own small businesses.

“The majority (who attended) were people who were just thinking about (starting a business) or have ideas to do it and needed to know where to start,” said Emily McConnell, director of programs and events at the CoC. “The seminar was great for that, just in encouraging them to do it, to get out there and try.”

Mary Jennifer Russell (courtesy photo)

One of the featured speakers was Mary Jennifer Russell of New Albany. In 1997, she had been moving from job to job while dabbling in baking on the side, as a way to bring in supplemental income. She gradually grew her business, and, a year after beginning, she had (what was then) her first major sale — ten cakes, sold to a yogurt shop. Fast forward nearly twenty years, and now Russell’s Sugarees Bakery puts out a thousand cakes a week, while employing 37 people. Her story has been featured in publications such as the New York Times and Oprah’s Magazine, and Russel earned her place as this year’s Mississippi Small Business Administration (SBA) Small Business Person of the Year.

She had this advice to give to people just starting out: “What do you want to see?” she said. “What do you want to smell? Really, really envision it with lots of detail.” She also emphasized the need to keep good books, constantly improving the business even after it’s up and running and – in particular – making sure to take good care of good employees.

Russell went on to offer this piece of advice: “It’s easy enough if you start with low-risk,” she said. “…It can be done. It should be done.” She recommends keeping your old job for as many years as it takes to get the new venture to a profitable stage; it took her four years to do so, herself, resulting in her opening her own dedicated shop after proving that her business concept was viable simply by doing exactly what she set out to do.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy – The more of them we have, the more people who are willing to take on that risk – The more success stories we’ll hear, given time, investment, and a lot of hard work. And that’s Good for Business!

You can read the full article by clicking here.

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Columbus To Get New Places To Go To For Fresh Burgers And Trucker Service

Courtesy of The Dispatch

BURGER TIME!

Wythe Rhett of Rhett Real Estate recently confirmed that Cook Out, the North Carolina-based burger chain that set up a successful location in Starkville about a year ago, plans to open a location in North Columbus. Cook Out recently finalized the purchase of the old Immanuel Baptist Church property on 18th Ave N, which had not been in use in the past two years.  Their current intention is to “demolish the (church) building and carve out enough of the property to put Cook Out on, then look at the possibility of adding another motel or strip (mall).”

Cook Out eateries are known for grilled burgers, barbecue and more than 40 kinds of milkshakes. The Starkville location employs approximately 50 and is open 10:30 a.m.-3 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and 10:30 a.m.-4 a.m. Friday-Saturday. This would be the fourth Cook Out location in the state, joining its over 170 brethren nationwide.

TRUCKERS’ HEAVEN!

The Volume Freight shipping company, owned by Doug Estes, is currently building a new steel structure on Hwy 82 near the Vibrant Church West location. The finished building will serve as a two-floor terminal with a three-vehicle bay shop to maintain Volume’s fleet of 65 trucks. Next up once that’s ready is a planned 150-thousand square foot warehouse and approximately 35 new trucks. The company employs about 80 drivers, who service the contiguous 48 states, plus about eight local mechanics; roughly half of the trucks  are based locally, as well. Volume Freight, a local company, has been in business since 1988.

 

 

Please click here to see the full article.

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