Category Archives: Starkville

Kids Become Makers in Starkville Schools

STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Sudduth Elementary first graders Gianna Russell and Sirita Chanachai build with plastic cups in their Makerspace Friday afternoon – Mary Politz, The Dispatch

Sudduth Elementary librarian Leslie Hunt helped to bring a Makerspace to the school – an area filled with myriad materials that can help to inspire young minds to build, solve problems, and even get some learning in without them even realizing it. “I just started thinking, it would be awesome to have it all in one room for everyone to utilize,” Hunt said. “(The kids) love it with just being creative and it helps them with behavior issues. It is amazing (because) some of the kids … have had difficulty doing certain things, but in here it’s kind of like everyone is on the same level.”  she also noted that students tend to get more creative and imaginative when using simpler materials such as plastic cups and unsharpened pencils.

First grade teacher Mya Floyd said that she makes an effort to book a weekly session in the Makerspace weekly whenever possible. “It helps them analyze and work on communication,” Floyd said. “The communication skills they learn here, they take that back to the classroom in academics. They’ve started working better together in both reading and math and are even helping each other. I love bringing them here … We talk about things that aren’t academic in here. I ask them about their family and weekend, and I get to tell them about myself, too.”

Hunt isn’t the only educator who is helping to bring the concept to local schools. Brandi Burton, Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District grants and innovative strategy specialist, has been working on expanding the program throughout the district: “Maker movement is pretty much across the nation, and we wanted to bring that to Starkville,” Burton said. “The libraries are supposed to be the hub of each of the schools, so that’s where we started.”

Librarians from each of the SOCSD schools met recently to discuss the project. The current hope is to bring a Makerspace, in at least some form, to every school in the district by the end of the school year. For campuses that are short on space, this may simply be a cart packed to bursting with materials, but it’s a start. Burton went on to say, “I think it’s so important for us to join this movement, so that the kids that are hands-on learners and out-of-the-box thinkers, that they have just as much of an advantage as the students that are just academic … We just need to make sure we have opportunities for every type of learner, and with the things that will be available in these spaces, every type of learner will be catered to in some way.”

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Local Businesses Stand Out During Holiday Season

The Purple Elephant employees Dixie Belue and Sherri Dyer decorate a Christmas tree with handmade ornaments Monday afternoon- Photo by Mary Politz, Dispatch Staff

COLUMBUS & STARKVILLE – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Many local stores have been doing gangbusters as the holiday season roars into full swing, thanks to the special services they provide and the superior customer service they offer – And THAT’S Good for Business!

Sarah Barefield, manager at The Purple Elephant on Wilkins Wise Road in COlumbus, reports that their customers come for the great pottery items from Mississippi crafters, and leave delighted by the staff’s impressive skill at gift-wrapping.

“We do a great job gift wrapping,” Barefield said. “A lot of people come and shop just for our gift-wrapping. We also just try to be as nice as possible. . .  It was just better this year. We were very happy with the customers that came in, and if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be here.” 

Gloria Herriott, owner of Hollyhocks in Downtown Columbus, credits the strong economy:  “Small businesses know when it’s real. We’re off to a really good Christmas season. People have more money to spend and they feel comfortable spending it.” 

Main Street Director Barbara Bigelow  had this to say: “I’ve had great responses from our merchants from both days — Black Friday and Shop Small Saturday . . . We certainly appreciate people supporting them. It’s so good for our economy. Everything we spend with our local merchants, of course, stays in our community and it feeds our economy. That’s always good for the community. It’s just important to keep your money local.”  

In Starkville, George Sherman’s clothing store on Russell Street did well, despite the Egg Bowl being in Oxford this year. His Black Friday sales were such a success that he will be extending them through the end of the month of Novermber.

“We specialize in service. We really talk to our customers and find out what their needs are and meet those needs,” Sherman said. “We were pleasantly surprised. . . Shop local, because those dollars turn back to the community.”

The Lodge, an apparel store, fell a bit short of expectations, but they still did quite well for themselves. Owner John Hendricks said, “You just can’t beat that football traffic.” he went on to say that customers still poured in to purchase Egg Bowl victory t-shirts and cowbells for the holiday season.  

“We’re very excited about the holiday season,” Hendricks said. “We always hope (people) shop locally because it affects local people.”

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Entrepreneurship is Alive and Well in Columbus & Starkville

GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

STARKVILLE

Hungry for some fresh, piping hot cinnamon buns? Then head on over to Big Buns and More, a cinnamon roll bakery at 332 Hwy 12 W in Starkville. The bakery just held a Grand Opening lately, and is already bringing in rave reviews from locals. Hours: Tue~Thu 7:30am – 5:30pm, Fri 7:30am – 10pm, Sat 8 – 4.

Once you’ve had your fill, work off some of those delicious calories at Orange Theory Fitness. The new gym had its own Grand Opening recently; they’re located at 401 University Dr, and they offer one-hour fitness classes every day from 5 a.m.-6:45 p.m. Better yet, your first class is free to new members!

Head Over Heels clothing shop and boutique’s newest location at 450 Hwy 12, Ste B, has just opened for business. They’re open Mon~Sat from 11 to 6.

The Flower Company plans to open up shop at its new, bigger location at 401 E Lampkin St in the next few days. They plan to be open from 9 to 5 Mon~Fri, and Sat from 9 to 1, starting this Monday.

COLUMBUS

423 Main St now plays host to Faith Salon and Faith Fabulous Boutique! They are in business and ready to go; they currently offer mainly women’s clothes and services, but they will be adding both men’s clothing and new employees soon! Open Tues~Sat from 9 to 6.

Party and Paper has closed its doors, but owner Susan Mackay will hold the Grand Opening of her new shop, Impressions by Susan this evening (Thursday, Nov 1) from 4 to 7 pm. It is located at 424 Main St. The shop will be open for business Tues~Fri from 10 to 5.

The former location of Front Door/Back Door and Old 82 Restaurant at the corner or Catfish Alley and Main St is up for sale.

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Bank of Vernon Coming to Columbus

COLUMBUS, WEST POINT – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Andy Johnson, CEO of Bank of Vernon, has announced that they plan to open a new branch – only their second outside of Vernon – on Bluecutt and Chubby Drive in Columbus. No date has been set, however. The bank first opened in Vernon, Alabama in 1911 and made it through the Great Depression. In 2017, it opened up in Caledonia, which is currently its only other branch outside Vernon.

Aaron’s on 45, a rent-to-own place, has moved its inventory over to its Starkville location at 424 Hwy 12 W and shuttered its local building.

The Uniform Center has opened for business at 443 Wilkins Wise Road in Columbus. New owners Leroy and Pam Lacy moved the business from Highway 45.

Belk on Hwy 45 N just recently held its Grand Re-opening this past Wednesday after extensive renovations. They are listed as #14 out of their 150 division stores.

Hoover’s Bakery in West Point has re-opened its doors! They will open at 5 AM Tuesdays through Fridays, closing not long after lunchtime. So, bring your appetite and be sure to wake up bright and early!

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Columbus and Starkville Have Some New and Returning Businesses to Support

Courtesy of the Dispatch

COLUMBUS

Columbus Inn & Suites across from the Magnolia Bowl is up for sale to the right entrepreneur. The building, located at 506 Hwy 45 N, has 90 rooms, a fully-equipped restaurant, kitchen, pool and meeting areas. The asking price is $1.45 million.

Window World recently opened its doors at 134 Lincoln Road, next to Walmart, earlier this month. It is part of a 200-store chain that services both interior and exterior window needs of all kinds. They are open Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-5p.m and Saturdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Waldrop and Co. Real Estate has now moved in to the old Cross Golf Cart building at 5736 Hwy. 45 N.

Grassroots Natural Candle Company has come back, having moved across the street to 127 Fifth St. N. Offering a wide variety of fragrance products (not just great candles!), they are open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday from noon-5 p.m.

STARKVILLE

Twigs Nursery and Landscaping at 7653 Oktoc Road opened for business last week. MSU graduates Kody and Kandiace Brown offer a variety of plants, flowers, arrangements, seeds, pots, garden tools, Mississippi-made items, pottery and of course landscaping. It’s open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Wednesdays from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

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Mississippi Steel, Liberty Steel Announce New Partnership; New Shops in Columbus and in Starkville

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Columbus’ Mississippi Steel Processing has announced their majority acquisition by North Jackson, Ohio’s Liberty Steel Products Holding. MSP processes rolls of steel to the tune of 750 thousand tons annually; the company also runs and makes handcrafted steel and wooden furniture for their downtown shop, Steel Forest Furniture. Their president, Chip Gerber, made the announcement Wednesday night via press release: “We are excited for the future of MSP and our partnership with Liberty,” Gerber said. “The experience and reputation of Liberty in the industry is a welcome addition to our team at MSP.”

Susan McKay, the owner of Party and Paper, plans to open her new shop, Impressions by Susan, at 424 Main St by November. The new venue mainly offers event printing, personalized invitations, gift-wrapping, and the like. The store will be open from Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Kate Cryder will be opening an organic spray-tan business for those interested in safer methods of getting tanned in the next few weeks. Gypsy will be located at 109 5th St S, in the location formerly occupied by Fin’s Bobby Pin. She will be open from Tuesdays through Saturdays. Appointments can be scheduled online at tangyspy.co, and a personal consultation is included for each client.

Brickerton Day Spa now has new ownership: Amy and Matt Bogue will continue the spa as it is now, but they are looking to expand its services in the future, with medical treatments as the first thing on the list.

STARKVILLE

Starkville Nutrition, which offers healthy shakes and teas, has opened up at 500 Russel St, Ste 18. They had their grand opening in August, and will be open from Mondays through Saturdays.

Thrive Health, which used to be located on Hwy 12, has moved to the same building; their new address is 500 Russel St, Ste 29. They offer Chinese medicine, acupuncture, CBD oil, etc. They accept walk-ins from Mondays through Fridays.

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Starkville Recognizes its Own in Awards Program

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of the Dispatch

 

The Starkville Main Street Association presented its 2018 Partner of the Year Award to Brian Kelley and Ty Thames with Eat Local Starkville. The association held its annual awards ceremony on Thursday.
Photo by: Alex Holloway/Dispatch Staff

Starkville’s Main Street Association recently recognized a number of local businesses and developers during its annual awards program. GDST Interim CEO Jennifer Prather spoke to recent additions such as the breezeway lights near Starkville Cafe and the street pianos on Main as improvements that “create a sense of place for people to want to be downtown and stay downtown, and they want to spend money.” She went on to say that these, as well as investment in community events, “create an impact on our city, but it also created a unique experience for visitors to our city who may have been in our community for the first time,” she added. “Now they want to come back, and they want to dive more into what we have going on here.”

 

Michelle Jones, who is now past President of the Main Stree Assn Board, presided over the meeting immediately prior to the awards ceremony. “I moved to Starkville in 1998. At that point, when you drove downtown at 5 o’clock, there was no activity,” she said. “There was no night life. There was not a lot going on. Today, I showed up at 5:15 (p.m.) and almost couldn’t get a parking spot. It’s so exciting, and our sales tax base keeps increasing, which increases what our community can do. It’s all about economic development and protecting what is special and important to Starkville.”

Among the award recipients were: Eat Local Starkville (Partner of the year for 2018), Pop Porium, Glo, Jackson Square, The Gin, 550 Russel Street, and George Mary’s.

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Football and Spices and Bars, Oh My!

GTR REGION – Courtesy of the Dispatch

1920 Hwy 45 in Columbus will soon be the home of a new sports bar called “Yo’Bar.” The venue is the brainchild of Ledrico Isaac, who has been working hard on the idea for nearly five years.  The place will have food and drink as well as a mechanical bull, karaoke, football games on the TV’s.

On a related note, The Elbow Room will re-open (under its original ownership) while they look for a buyer. They’re asking for just under $190K, including their recipes book.

Rex’s Direct Foods on Alabama St. was recently purchased by Slyvia Graham, a loyal customer who jumped at the chance to buy the store when the original owner decided to retire. She hopes to expand the variety of items on offer.

In Starkville, variety shop Tuesday Morning has moved to its new location at 402 Mississippi Hwy 12.

In Clay County:

Peco Foods will be holding a job fair this Saturday from 10AMto 2PM at the EMCC CMTE Building in Mayhew. Interested applicants should register with www.mdes.ms.gov.

The West Point Peco location is hiring maintenance technicians, management-supervisors, management trainees, experienced forklift operators, and refrigerator technicians.

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New Starkville Parks and Rec Head Sees Great Things in its Future

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Starkville Parks and Recreation Director Gerry Logan talks about his department to the Starkville Rotary Club – Logan talked about parks and recreation’s impact on Starkville – Photo by Alex Holloway, Dispatch Staff

Starkville Parks and Recreation recently appointed a new Director, Gerry Logan, who spoke with the Starkville Rotarians recently. He spoke about upcoming tournaments and events both past and future, all of which help to contribute to Starkville’s bottom line by way of tourist (and local!) dollars filling the coffers at hotels and local shops.

“Parks and Rec is an economic impact driver,” Logan said. “We host tournaments. We host events. We contribute to the economic development of the community. We deal with quality of life issues. We have sidewalks and areas for people to walk. We have a free walking track at the Travis Outlaw gym . . . It’s about contributing to the … soul, if you will, of the community.”

SP&R runs seven local parks, accounting for about two hundred acres of territory and facilities. With a $400K+ budget increase for 2019, Logan plans to put the additional funding to good use, with new projects on the horizon: “What the comprehensive plan said we needed is certainly some additional field space,” Logan said. “That’s proven. We are certainly short on field space, particularly diamond field space — baseball and softball fields. It also noted we have a lack of multi-use trail. Those are things we need and it’s certainly our goal to get there.

“As part of this new process, with any new facilities that come on we’re also going to look at renovating the Sportsplex,” he added. “A second entrance has certainly been talked about. It’s challenging because of the creek and overall layout of the land, but with any potential discussion of new facilities and a new park, the second part of that is renovating the Sportsplex to make it as efficient as it can be — parking, access roads, things like that.”

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Local Business News in the GTR – Sept 9, 2018

Local Business News in the GTR – Sept 9, 2018

GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION, MS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

WEST POINT

The nonprofit group The Regional Foundation for Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities recently announced that they had purchased Hoover’s Bakery, and that they are planning to reopen it this October at its new location at 58 Hwy 45 N in West Point, replacing the former Wendy’s location at that spot. The recipes will stay the same, according to the announcement. The new owners are also hoping to hire some people with either mental or intellectual disabilities in order to provide them with gainful employment, in addition to its normal complement of bakers and other staff.

STARKVILLE

The owner of Cappe’s Steak and Seafood, Eric Hallberg, announced that the venue has been closed, and that the building is up for sale. Starkville Properties is listing the 2,091 sq ft building for $450,000. Mr. Hallber has elected to focus his efforts more on am existing new venue – Cappe’s in the Park, at 60 Technology Blvd; as well as a new venue which is scheduled to open in 2019.

Hallberg is also planning to open another new restaurant: Chicken Salad Chick, an Alabama franchise, which should be open this coming January at 602 Highway 12.

This weekend, a locally owned hardware store is celebrating its 80 years of business with free refreshments and hot dogs. East Mississippi Lumber Company, 300 Russell St., will have the food from 11 AM to 2 PM, and they will also have a “bucket sale” going on all weekend: 20 percent off anything that fits in the hardware bucket they provide.

NEW HOPE

Work has begun on a new Dollar General store at 1642 Pleasant Hill Rd in New Hope. They are planning to hire up to ten employees and to open up early next year.

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