Category Archives: Golden Triangle

PUBLIC RELEASE: High Quality of Life in the GTR


The Golden Triangle offers multiple options to allow residents and visitors to experience the highest quality of life.

Columbus, Starkville and West Point Mississippi – a trifecta of quality living. Three distinct communities each with their own unique offerings for residents to find the best fit for their best life.

A low cost of living means that residents make the most of every hard-earned dollar while building the life they want. A diverse range of educational options ranging from quality daycare to top-tier universities spans the region.

The Golden Triangle region offers a desirable place to work and a delightful place to live. World-class recreational attractions, cultural enrichment opportunities, the unparalleled athletics of the Southeastern Conference and a people whose arms are as wide and welcoming as the Mighty Mississippi.

Visit the sites below to learn which community holds your golden opportunity for a better business, and a better life.

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International Paper Keeps Going On Strong in Columbus

International Paper Keeps Going On Strong in Columbus

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

David Phillips, Columbus Mill manager for International Paper – Photo by Mary Pollitz

Columbus Mill Manager David Phillips recently spoke to the Rotarians at Lion Hills Center in Columbus about his facility, which was acquired by International Paper a couple of years ago, and the company’s plans for the future. They have begun a new initiative called “IP Way Forward,” having already invested $135,000 within the local community as a way of giving back to the good people of Columbus. Their initiative calls for the company to focus on “[I]nvesting in people, sustaining forests, improving the planet, innovative products and inspiring performance.” This includes helping out the less fortunate by assisting with education, hunger, and medical programs.

Kellum Kim, mill communications manager said that they wish to continue the good works done by Weyerhauser, the prior owners of the mill, with regards to the community in Lowndes County: “People that know Weyerhaeuser, know that they did a lot of great things in the community, they just did more behind the scenes,” Kim said. “What we are really trying to change is getting more hands-on, (and) get more of our team members involved.”

“Part of the IP Way Forward is to provide value for stakeholders,” Phillips said. “One of our stakeholders is the community and so we want to make sure we are providing value for the community that our employees live in.”

Kim added: “It’s all about investing in our communities and being a good steward of our communities and what we can do to make our community a better place for everyone in Lowndes County.”

The mill currently has about 325 full-time employees, including thirty who were brought on board this year. They also contract up to a hundred workers per day, and their average pay rate is about $28/hr. Philips noted that the mill is largely self-sustaining, as they generate all of their own power by harnessing the steam generated by burning tree bark that might not otherwise be useful; they also use the surrounding 65-acre marsh to treat their wastewater.

International Paper and their Columbus Mill are giving back to their local community while making products that we use every day — and THAT’S Good for Business!

Please click here for the original article.


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Starkville Habitat for Humanity and MSU Collaborate on Tenth Maroon Edition Home

Starkville Habitat for Humanity and MSU Collaborate on Tenth Maroon Edition Home

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Courtesy of MSU

Habitat for Humanity groundbreaking in Starkville (photo courtesy of MSU)

Mississippi State University and Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity recently broke ground on their tenth Maroon Edition home. The project, which has been going on for about a decade, provides homes to Habitat-eligible families in the area who need the help, with emphasis on those who are students and/or otherwise associated with MSU. Construction on the home will take place this Fall, with the help of Habitat and MSU volunteers.

MSU President Mark E. Keenum Habitat for Humanity with a $5,000 check from the university during the event. “I’ve now been a part of 10 homes and it’s something that I’m very proud of,” Keenum said. “We’re about helping other people. A lot of the people working to build this home will be employees, retirees, and more importantly, students of Mississippi State. What better experience for students to share than to help someone have a new home?”

All in all, the Starkville Area HfH has now built, or otherwise supplied, over sixty homes to local families in need. Students are encouraged to volunteer to help out on these projects; roughly 3,600 volunteers have become involved and generously donated their time, effort, and expertise over the years.

“When you look at the Habitat website, it says that we solidify and build strong communities,” said Charles Ware, Starkville Area HfH president. “What it doesn’t say is that it’s a game-changer for the new homeowner.”

The new homeowner, Lou-Quan “Quan” Lucious, pitched in to help build a new home for a friend of hers last year: “I learned a lot working on [the] house,” Lucious said. “It showed me that I have to work hard for something I really want. I had to put work into it to get this. I had to put my mind to it.”

“Habitat, for me, is about creating homes and creating spaces where families can live and grow and learn and love each other,” said MSU Vice President for Student Affairs Regina Hyatt. “We are delighted at Mississippi State to be able to send students here to help create hope.”

More information about the program, for both potential homeowners and for volunteers, can be found in the full article here.

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Joe Max Higgins on Bringing Industry to Starkville

Joe Max Higgins on Bringing Industry to Starkville

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of the Dispatch

GTR LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins recently met with the Starkville board of aldermen, Oktibbeha County board of supervisors and Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority to talk about the issue of trust. He feels that economic development depends on it.

Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins and SV Industrial Park — Photo by Alex Holloway, Dispatch staff

From his perspective, he needs to know that he and the LINK can trust that they know what the area’s county and local officials expect, so as to make sure that proposals for economic investment will get heard and acted upon. He stated that, in Lowndes and Clay counties, he has a pretty good grasp on that; for Oktibbeha, not so much: “I do (know) in the other places,” Higgins said. “I don’t have that comfort here. . .there’s some of you that I don’t know how you’re going to vote and it’s scary,” he added.

On the flip side, Higgins stated that local leaders will need to know that they can trust the LINK to keep the cities’ and counties’ best interests in mind when bringing them new prospects and proposals: “We don’t go after and heavily incentivize deals that don’t pay more than our county averages,” Higgins said. “You can’t make your place be a better place by going after jobs. You need to go after good jobs.”

District 3 Supervisor Marvell Howard spoke on the importance of such trust: “We’ve just got to trust Joe Max and his team. To this point, they’ve been good about keeping us in the loop,” Howard said. “But as things speed up, we’re not going to be able to call everybody together every time. He’s going to have to be comfortable that we trust him enough to say, ‘Joe Max is not going to bring us a bad deal.'”


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Columbus Superfund Site Cleanup Well Under Way

Columbus Superfund Site Cleanup Well Under Way

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

EPA Region 4 Director Franklin Hill – Photo by Mary Pollitz

The EPA recently brought together local officials at each of ten Superfund cleanup sites across the country in order to recognize the solid progress on each of them, and the Kerr-McGee site here in the Memphis Town area of Columbus was one of them. In part, they celebrated the fact many of the 42 officially-recognized recommendations from a list put together last year were things that the KMG cleanup crew had been doing for as long as seven years already: “We’re already on the cusp of that . . . We’re already taking early actions in this community,” said EPA Region 4 Superfund Director Franklin Hill.

Kerr-McGee once had a wood treatment plant here that was in operation from about 1928 to 2003; the resulting waste product, creosote, contaminated the site and local grounds, making it one of the 1,800 Superfund sites in the US, and one of the top 30 “priority” SF sites which are being given special attention and expedited funding.

Hill went on to say, “We did that collectively … and this community [of Columbus] was at the forefront of it. This community are the people who held us to task. … Even though we slipped schedules from time to time, they would remind us when we were slipping schedules.”

“We no longer want to clean up the site and walk away from it and leave it and it becomes just an open field,” Hill said. “We’d like to see that property return to the tax rolls. We’d like to see that property make a contribution to the local municipality and government, and we’d also like to see the community realize a benefit from their community being revitalized from years of the plight that’s been associated with the site that’s basically (been) dormant in this community since 2003.”

Please click here for the full article

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In Business News: Starkville Getting New Butcher Shop; Columbus Coffee Shop Under New Ownership; Tax-Free Weekend Starts Friday

In Business News: Starkville Getting New Butcher Shop; Columbus Coffee Shop Under New Ownership; Tax-Free Weekend Starts Friday

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Noxubee County native Eric King hopes to have his new shop, King’s Craft Butcher and Cafe, open by the end of August in Starkville. The shop will be located at 211 S. Jackson St., Suite B. Having honed his craft at a New York butcher shop, King brings plenty of experience and expertise to the chopping block. His goal is to focuis primarily on meat and other produce from local farmers, as well as prodiving cuts that are not often seen in grocery stores, such as Denver steaks.  The venue will also include an 80-seat cafe and full bar, where patrons can order from the dry-aged meats on display as well as from vegan and vegetarian selections.


C.J. Andrews, owner of Coffee House on Fifth, recently finalized the purchase of the city’s oldest coffeeshop, Beans and Cream. Andrews said that the shops will remain independent from one another, but that there are plans to expand the menu somewhat. Andrews also purchased Southbound Coffee, B&C’s provider of ground & roasted coffee beans.


Beginning 12:01 AM this Friday, the state’s tax-free weekend will begin; it will last until 11:59 PM Saturday evening. The exemption applies to “clothing” items such as clothes, shoes & boots, costumes, swimsuits, and the like, but not to accessories such as jewelry and wallets. The purchase price must be under $100 per item, not including discounts due to manufacturer’s coupons; items that cost $100.00 or more each will be taxed at the full normal rate. Check with your local store for details on their eligible items when you arrive; a list is available at the first link below. The exemption also applies to relevant items purchased online or over the phone during this time period.

Please click here to download a list of eligible items.


Please click here for the full article.

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Lowndes County Port to Receive ~$450K Port Expansion Grant

Lowndes County Port to Receive $450K Port Expansion Grant

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Will Sanders

The Mississippi Department of Transportation recently authorized a grant worth roughly $476,317, to be used to add a 250-foot crane rail extension to the Lowndes County Port in order to increase its capacity.

“We’re very fortunate that MDOT allows this grant every year,” said Will Sanders, director for the Port Authority. “Without these types of funds, we would not be able to continue these economic development projects every year.” He went on to say that the port will initially increase its current tonnage by at least 20 percent, and that they may eventually double the current amount.

SDI General Manager Madhu Ranade remarked that “It will improve the barge unloading capabilities,” Ranade said. “So we can get our raw materials faster to the plant. With the increased capacity, we may consider bringing in other materials there as well. It is a benefit to us, our key raw materials come in through that part of the port. Just having that extra crane would make the unloading go a lot faster and smoother. It’s a good situation for the port as well as for us.”

“These improvements will make the Lowndes County Port more efficient and allow for increased through-put,” said Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins in a prepared statement. “The more product moved on the Tenn-Tom, the stronger the waterway becomes as an asset for our region.”

Please click here for the full article.

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Starkville Wants to Keep Downtown Historic

Starkville Wants to Keep Downtown Historic

STARKVILLE, Miss. Courtesy of WCBI

Starkville is looking into ways to help its Historic Downtown area remain just that – Historic and beautiful. They are looking into working with the Carl Small Town Center and soliciting funding from the state to help protect the historic buildings.

Buddy Sanders

Local citizen Buddy Sanders hopes “[to] put together a design guidelines for downtown Starkville and they would not be any type of regulatory document. Something suggestive to a person that is buying a building or going into a building for their store of how to appropriately renovate the building in a historical fashion . . . To protect the character of downtown. To give someone an idea of how to keep their store while maintaining their brand also keeping the storefront like a historical 1920’s 1910 building,” he went on to say.

Rebecca Tabb is a store owner in Starkville. “Keeping Main Street historic, I think there’s a draw to that, versus necessarily like Highway 12 or a high traffic street. I think people really have come back to shopping local and wanting to shop downtown and wanting things not necessarily be exactly how they were built really but really try to keep that downtown hometown feel,” said Tabb.

“We hope the Carl Small Town Center can use it as a template for other Mississippi communities to use so that they can use it to essentially either start some type of redevelopment in their downtown or just try to keep character historical character of their downtown,” said Sanders.

Please click here for the original article.

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Glo Shines on in one of Mississippi’s Favorite Towns [VIDEO]

Glo Shines on in one of Mississippi’s Favorite Towns

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of

Hagan Walker of Glo with some of their glowing ice cubes – courtesy of the Starkville Daily News

Hagan Walker of Glo, am innovative local company that makes liquid-activated glowing ice cubes, among other clever items, recently released a video celebrating Starkville businesses and the beauty of the town in general. This is the third in a series that they call “East Lampkin,” and it was inspired by Mississippi Magazine’s recent announcement that they had voted Starkville as their “Best Place to Live” in the state. Their youthful energy could very well serve as a positive example for us all.

An excerpt of his blog follows:

“Pals of Glo,
Right after Episode One of East Lampkin aired, it was really amazing to see how many people tuned in – almost 10,000! Thank you! We had people all over the USA, and beyond, that watched the first episode.

Our small town of Starkville was just named “Best Place to Live” by Mississippi Magazine and we couldn’t agree more – so we’ve taken a slight segue in this video to simply show Starkville – and list below how this small town has been a huge positive for our company.

The probability of a company becoming “successful”, which we’ll define as being profitable, correlates strongly with cost of living, various support structures, the product/service offering, among others. In Starkville, we’re able to pay our employees decent wages, we have wonderful community support, and we want to showcase that. We believe more than having a successful company is having a company that is creating jobs, creating a positive impact on the community, and working to create products that people love. Our town of Starkville has allowed us to do that, and we’d love for you to see the town that we slowly have learned to love.”

Please click here for the full article and their video showcasing some of the best Starkville has to offer!

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MSU Drops Concession Prices at Home Games to the Delight of Fans

MSU Drops Concession Prices at Home Games to the Delight of Fans

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Courtesy of

As part of its #MoorValue campaign, MSU Athletics has announced that their concession prices will drop considerably for its home games – by about a third to a half across the board. Two bucks instead of five for a hot dog or nachos; four bucks instead of seven for a 44oz drink. The move comes in answer to feedback from the MSU community, and MSU Director of Athletics John Cohen says he’s only too happy to oblige: “Reducing the price of concessions has been something I have been very excited about since becoming Director of Athletics. Providing our fans and families with more affordable food and beverage options is extremely important. We will continue to explore innovative ways to enhance the game-day experience for our Bulldog family. We would like to thank Aramark for their collaboration in this process.”

MSU President Mark E. Keenum said, “High-quality refreshments, more sensible pricing, faster service and new policies that address items of input from our fan base are a winning combination for a better game day experience. I congratulate Athletics and Aramark on their innovation and collaboration on this plan.”

All MSU home venues are included in this price drop – Davis Wade Stadium, Humphrey Coliseum, Dudy Noble Field, Newell-Grissom Building, MSU Soccer Field, Nusz Park and the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. Davis Wade Stadium will also see football season price decreases in several of its sections.

Season tickets for the 2018 Bulldog season start at $200 and can be purchased at, by calling 1-888-GO-DAWGS or in person at the MSU Athletic Ticket Office on the first floor of the Bryan Athletic Administration Building (288 Lakeview Drive), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Many sports organizations around the country are starting to realize the added value of a happy fan. Charging reasonable prices for concessions adds to the fan experience, which adds to the brand value of a sports team- increasing loyalty, viewership – and spending.

Please click here for the original article, including a list of concession price drops.

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