Category Archives: Golden Triangle

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!

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Greater Starkville Development Partnership – October 4th 2017

Announcement from the Greater Starkville Development Partnership

Join us Wednesday, October 4th at 7:30 a.m. for the GSDP Power Breakfast at The Mill Conference Center. We are proud to host a Candidate Forum for the Mississippi House of Representatives, District 38, and we hope that you will join us for this opportunity to hear from the candidates.

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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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EMCC Wins Top Honors in Online Associate’s Degree Ranking

EMCC Wins Top Honors in Online Associate’s Degree Ranking

SCOOBA, Miss. (FROM PRESS RELEASE) –

East Mississippi Community College recently earned the number one spot in Nonprofit Colleges Online’s “The 50 Best College’s for Online Associate’s Degrees.”

EMCC President Dr. Thomas Huebner stated that “The world of higher education is changing as more colleges and universities work to supplement brick-and-mortar classrooms with online offerings that provide students more options and flexible scheduling,” Huebner said. “We have worked hard at EMCC to ensure that we are on the forefront of that growing trend. Just this semester, we began offering an E-Commerce Technology program in which all classes are available online and a cyber security program that gives students the option of taking all of their sophomore classes online.”

NCO had this to say about EMCC: “Offering university-parallel programs, career-technical programs, and workforce programs, EMCC is dedicated to improving the quality of life for its students, communities, and personnel through instructional opportunities, with specific focus on a healthy mind, body and spirit.

“EMCC provides online learning opportunities for individuals who are unable, for a variety of reasons to attend classes on one of the college’s campuses. To ensure all students are receiving an excellent education, the online classes meet all the quality standards proposed for the college’s traditional, on-campus programs.”

The school also garnered high honors last year in lists published by three other national organizations. It’s great to see that EMCC continues to prove that it’s among the best of the bunch, and THAT’S Good For Business!

“These rankings validates our efforts to ensure that students at EMCC not only have access to an exceptional education but one that makes sound economic sense,” Huebner said.

Please click here for the full article.

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EMCC’s DR Shaunak Receives Excellence in Government Award from Governor

EMCC’s DR Shaunak Receives Excellence in Government Award from Governor

MAYHEW – Courtesy eastms.edu

Dr. Raj Shaunak first began teaching at EMCC in 1991, where he gives mathematics instruction to adult basic education students. Prior to that, the Kenyan-born entrepreneur became a Starkville transplant in 1972, built a business with his brother during the 1980’s, and retired as a millionaire at age 42, in 1989.

Fast forward to the modern day, and Shaunak, who is EMCC’s vice president for Workforce and Community Services, has now become the recent recipient of both the 2017 Excellence in Local and District Government Award and one of two recipients of governor’s 2017 Excellence in Government Awards, which recognizes and encourages innovation in public administration.

The Mississippi Personnel Board lauded Shaunak: “He played a crucial role in the recruitment of companies including Airbus, PACCAR, and Yokohama Tire Company to Mississippi’s Golden Triangle,” the press release states. “He has partnered with the Mississippi Development Authority to lead workforce development efforts for these companies locating to Mississippi. Dr. Shaunak is also a leader in innovative educational programming; he spearheaded the efforts to create EMCC’s Communiversity, a state-of-the-art career-technical facility with a hands-on museum.  Finally, he has partnered, authored, secured, and implemented many successful grants to benefit Mississippians.”

When Shaunak first joined EMCC as a volunteer teacher, “Nobody knew anything about workforce development at the time,” Shaunak said. “It was a new thing starting at some of the community colleges. We had three or four people in what was called the Skill Tech Center.” He went on to emphasize the need for a close relationship between high-tech manufacturers and the schools capable of giving them highly-educated canididates: “We listen to what our industry wants,” Shaunak said. “EMCC is absolutely the trend setter in providing training for these high-tech manufacturing jobs. Our students are trained on cutting edge machinery and equipment by instructors who are not only passionate about their work but who have worked in business and industry and understand the language. We have earned a reputation as a top-notch, quality institution.”

 

Please click here for the full article.

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Infinity Megasite Could Be an Excellent Car Plant Location, Says GTR LINK

Infinity Megasite Could Be an Excellent Car Plant Location, Says GTR LINK

Courtesy of The Dispatch

Toyota and Mazda announced just a few weeks ago that they are  looking and a number of sites nationwide to build a joint auto production plant. Our own Joe Max Higgins says that the recently-set up Infinity Megasite (IMS) right here in the Golden Triangle is the best candidate within the State of Mississippi for such a project. The IMS now controls 1,444 acres of the Golden Triangle Industrial Aerospace Park on Hwy 82 west of Columbus: “We believe that if Mississippi’s putting its best foot forward, we’re probably the first pick,” Higgins said.

Joe Max Higgins, left, and Harry Sanders

While the proposed plant is still in its very earliest days of consideration, Bloomberg seems to agree saying that the IMS could very well be one of the top few candidates for the $1.6 billion project, which is expected to bring roughly 4,000 jobs to the general area.

“Understand this –Toyota’s not an unknown commodity,” Higgins said. “. . .If Toyota knocks on your door, you open it and you offer them some coffee, some Coke, some pastries if you got them and you say ‘What can I do for you?'”

Lowndes BoS  President Harry Sanders said that, “The thing about it is, think what it would do for Lowndes County and this portion of the Golden Triangle, with all the high-quality jobs. I think it would be great to get an automotive industry here.”

“In Mississippi, look at the battles that have been won,” Higgins said. “If we roll the clock back 20 years, most people would tell you there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell Mississippi could get a car plant. But in 15, 16 years we’ve gotten two (Nissan in Canton, Toyota in Blue Springs). I think that’s a good testament to the state of Mississippi. Could we support a third one? Yeah, I think we could.”

He also stated his confidence in the region’s ability to meet the potential plant’s needs, and that its proximity to MSU’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, could also be a major factor in any decision to be made: “Everybody wants to sell that their workforce can be retrained to make steel, or retrained to make cars or retrained to make tires,” Higgins said. “I don’t think most communities are selling that 20-, 30- and 40-year sustainable workforce. See, I’m not worried about where I’m getting my initial tranche of people to run my plant. These plants are worried about who’s gonna be running that son of a gun in 10, 15, or 20 or 40 years.”

 

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New Terry Brown Amphitheater Phase 1 Done, Usable for Free Events. Phase 2 Next Up

New Terry Brown Amphitheater Phase 1 Done, Usable for Free Events. Phase 2 Next Up

Columbus, MS – The Dispatch

The Terry Brown Amphitheater (Phase I) on the Westbank of the river

The new Terry Brown Amphitheater, located on the west bank of the river, as part of the Columbus Riverwalk, has completed Phase 1 of its construction, and they’re ready for Phase 2 to begin as soon as funding can be raised. The work thus far has cost about $3 million, and another $2.5 million or so is being called for in order to finish everything up.

City Engineer Kevin Stafford said that going over the usual list of making sure every little thing works properly is all that needs to be done before formally turning over the keys to the City itself: “We’ll be testing all the systems next week to make sure everything’s ready to go,” Stafford said. “What you have is basically the same thing as across the river (an existing outdoor stage under the Old Highway 82 bridge with grass seating). It’s just bigger, less likely to flood and is fully ADA accessible.”

Once these tests and inspections are all done, the amphitheater facility will be usable for free events; once everything else is done (such as fencing, ticketing, permanent restrooms, etc), it will be usable for private and paid events, as well. Stafford says that, once funding is secured, “I would estimate it would take about nine months, start to finish.” All of the physical infrastructure and groundwork is in place already.

“It’s a great facility,” said Barbara Bigelow, director of Main Street Columbus. “At this point, I haven’t discussed how we might use it. Sounds of Summer could certainly be held there, but people love where it is now, so I’m not sure my board would want to move. But I do think there is a lot of potential for the new facility. It’s another attraction for our downtown and we’re excited to see what happens there.”

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MSU and EMCC Working Together to Take Advantage of $3.11 Million Grant for Cybersecurity Scholarship

MSU and EMCC Working Together to Take Advantage of $3.11 Million Grant for Cybersecurity Scholarship

STARKVILLE, Miss.— Courtesy of EMCC

MSU and EMCC are joining forces to help educate highly-qualified students about cybersecurity, thanks to a $3.11 million grant from the National Science Foundation. MSU will be awarding two dozen of these highly-competitive scholarships to both their own students, and to a select few EMCC students who will be continuing their study in the field at MSU after graduating from EMCC. The end goal is to prepare these students with a thorough grounding in their chosen field, so that they may work as cybersecurity government experts as soon as possible after graduation.

“Mississippi State is a national leader in training top cybersecurity professionals, many of whom are on the front lines today fighting wide-ranging cyber threats in the private and public sectors, including very significant challenges to our national security,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “This grant will enable MSU, in partnership with EMCC, to further strengthen these important efforts.” “Mississippi State is a national leader in training top cybersecurity professionals, many of whom are on the front lines today fighting wide-ranging cyber threats in the private and public sectors, including very significant challenges to our national security,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “This grant will enable MSU, in partnership with EMCC, to further strengthen these important efforts.”

“These dollars will open doors for many outstanding students to seek education and employment in the expanding and vitally important field of cybersecurity,” EMCC President Thomas M. Huebner said. “We could not be more pleased than to partner with MSU and believe it will pay dividends for our students, the industries we serve, and the state of Mississippi.”

MSU is among the nation’s most prolific in terms of CyberCorps students, and the school has also been the source of over 70 peer-reviewed publications on the subject.

Please click here for the full article.

For more on the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Program, visit http://web.cse.msstate.edu/~hamilton/SFS/.

MSU : www.msstate.edu.

 

 

 

 

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Enterprising Local Businessman Making a Living Reselling Old Housing Materials

 

Enterprising Local Businessman Making a Living Reselling Old Housing Materials

COLUMBUS – The Dispatch

Columbus native Jacob Parnell has be running a successful business for the past three years that purchases unwanted, reclaimed constructions materials from older demolished houses and resells them to interested buyers. Things such as timbers from as little as a century ago, bricks, and other handcrafted bits and pieces, etc.,  have all proven very popular: “I’ve got stuff spread around all over the place,” he said.

Parnell went on to say that he hopes to move to a larger warehouse facility in a year or so.

Jacob Parnell of Mississippi Reclaimed (courtesy photo)

Others have also followed in his footsteps, albeit on a smaller scale. Kathy Arinder, director of the Columbus-Lowndes Habitat for Humanity, did so earlier this year. The owner of a large 1880’s-era house on 7th Street donated it to Habitat; Arinder and the Habitat board decided to salvage the house and resell the usable materials at their Gardner Ave location; it took about three months to complete the salvage operation.

Arinder said the store had sold the last of the material earlier this month: “I knew this stuff would be popular,” she said. “But I had no idea how popular it really was. It just flew out of our store.”

Pannell was one of the major buyers from this reclamation: “I bought quite a lot of their stuff,” he said.

He explained how he got started: “My mom had an old brick building that was falling apart,” Pannell said. “I knew that the bricks could be resold. So I tore the building down, salvaged what I could.”

He went on to explain that getting materials isn’t all that hard in the area, but that transporting them is very expensive. As a result, he has switched from an all-in-one service (demolition, hauling off, etc) to one where he simply buys and resells the materials.

His website can be found at mississippireclaimed.com.

For the full article, click here

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Report Says CAFB has had $260+ Million Impact on Local Area

Report Says CAFB has had $260+ Million Impact on Local Area

COLUMBUS – The Dispatch

14th Flying Training Wing Commander Col. Douglas Gosney recently announced the findings of a report on CAFB’s economic impact on the area to the Base Community Council, showing an increase of over $11 million as compared to last year. Much of the increase came in the form of salaries issued to new civil service workers filling vacant positions on-base, and to raises for airmen who had increased in rank over the past year. Other sources included things such as new construction, street maintenance and repair, vehicle maintenance, and jobs created in the local area which are auxiliary to the base’s needs.

Col. Douglas Gosney, CAFB (photo credit: The Dispatch)

“These are jobs that come into the community as a result of the increased population of Columbus Air Force Base and our airmen living in and around the area,” Gosney said. “You need extra teachers, you need extra doctors, you need extra restaurant staff, just from the increased population.”

He went on to stress the importance of maintaining positive relationships with the people of our area: “As proud as we are of the economic boost that this base brings to the community, we’re really more proud of the relationships and the support that we show for each other,” he said. “Neither of us could be as good at what we do without the support from the other . . . [I]t’s nice that we bring a lot of money to the area, but we’re really just proud that of those relationships. We’re proud to be part of this community. We’re proud that you welcome us into your homes, your schools and your churches and we can’t thank you enough for that.”

For the full article: please click here

 

 

 

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