Former employees Debbie Putt and Janis Kertsetter are now the new owners of The Purple Elephant on Wilkins Wise Road in Columbus. The shop had been closed briefly after the prior owner, Marca Glenn, retired.
“We hated to see another store close in Columbus,” Putt said. “We just felt like jumping in and doing it. Everything comes full circle.”
Putt went on to say that the shop will be the same as always, though they are open to carrying new and interesting items for their clientele to buy; also, they have retained the crew that worked under Ms. Glenn. The gift shop is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt, next to CJ’s in Columbus, has announced that they are closing their doors after being in business for six years.
Construction work has officially begun at Grand Junction condos, 509 University Drive. They are hoping to open Phase I for new homeowners in late August of this year. Tabor Development’s VP of development, Kay Regimbal, says that about one third of the condos have already been purchased.
The units vary in size from 1~3 bedrooms & 750~1,500 square feet, and in price from about $200,000 to $445,000.
MSU’s Colvard Student Union had a couple of changes quite recently:
State Fountain Bakery, which is now across the union, has penlty of goodies on offer just in time for Valentine’s Day. Mediterranean restaurant Olilo is now open in the student union.
Popular downtown yoga studio Firefly on S Lafayette St has shut its doors, and appears to be on the market.
Mossy Oak recently signed a multi-year deal with the NRA to offer a new camo design called “Overwatch,” to be used as the NRA’s official camoflage pattern.
The People’s Cup MicroRoastery is has opened its doors in Starkville. The shop, located at 12-1/2 Lummus Dr. near the Cotton District, roasts, brews, and serves its own hot, fresh coffee on weekdays from 7 AM to 2 PM.
The Greater Starkville Development will be holding its annual “SOUPerbowl” soup competition Saturday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Main Street. Hungry visitors seeking a variety of nice, hot soups may do so for $15 in advance of the event, or $20 at the door. At the end, patrons get to vote on whose soup is the cream of the crop!
Huntsville, Alabama-based Hometown Lenders is preparing to open up shop in Columbus, making it their third Mississippi location. Their office will be located at Second Ave. N. They have nearly 80 locations nationwide. Appointments only, please.
The recent NSF Higher Education Research and Development Survey for Fiscal Year 2017 has awarded MSU 94th place overall nationwide among both private and public institutions. The schools also ranked highly among non-medical school institutions (58th), and among public institutions (64th).
The survey ranks school primarily based on their research efforts, personnel, and funding; MSU ranked first in terms of research personnel nationwide. It also drew top marks in the fields of computer science, agricultural science, life science, mathematical sciences, psychology, social science, and education for the state.
“We are very pleased to see our research portfolio growing and diversifying. It’s a true testament to the extraordinary people—the faculty, staff, and students—we have here at MSU,” said David Shaw, vice president for research and economic development. “Research is also a very significant economic development success story for our entire state with Mississippi Research Consortium institutions seeing more than $475 million in R&D expenditures,” He went on to say.
Moreover, MSU is the only Mississippi university to have earned the Innovation and Economic Prosperity University distinction from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and its Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity. The designation recognizes Mississippi State for working to advance engagement and economic well-being in the state, region, and nation.
STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News
Personal finance website Wallet Hub recently released its rankings of the best college towns in the country. Starkville came in at 25th in the overall rankings, and 9th among small cities (population under 125,000). Over 400 US cities were taken into consideration.
“We have a good relationship with the students and the university and I think this reflects that,” Mayor Lynn Spruill said. “We want [students] to feel like they’re at home when they’re here with us and I think that’s part of what we seem to be achieving and this validates that.”
“We want those students to want to come here and we want more to come here,” Spruill went on to say. “That’s part of what makes us grow and be better and be smarter. And that increase in youth and vitality gives that well-rounded sense of who you are. It makes you dynamic; it makes you progressive.”
“The community and the university have to work together to make a place where these students want to be,” Spruill concluded. “And obviously when they’re done with college we’d like them to stay here so that’s all a part of that. If we can make them feel like this is home, we staunch some of that brain drain that we keep hearing about. because we want them to stay with us. We want them to continue to be a part of the community.”
Pizza and buffet chain Godfather’s Pizza is opening a local store in Midtown at 301 University Drive, Suite 2. They plan to open their doors sometime this spring. The chain has been in business since 1978, and currently has more than 600 locations in 40 states. More options for tasty food in this burgeoning town are always good to have!
Starkville’s Cadence Bank main branch building, located at 301 E. Main St., is back on the market. The Board of Aldermen considered buying the property in 2014, but the project was eventually voted down. The 30 thousand sq ft building is currently listed at $2.5 million.
Ceco Building Systems, which makes materials needs to construct pre-fab homes, will be moving to a new location a few blocks down Hwy 45 N, according to Human Resources Director Tim Lamm.
Nails and Spa, located at 1726 Hwy 45, has put up an “opening soon” sign, but no date has yet been announced. The nail salon will be open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
K-Mart has officially closed its doors here as of late November. Future plans for the retail space, if any, have not yet been announced.
Penny Ridge Grocery, located at 2003 Ridge Road between Caledonia and Columbus, is on the market. Owners Deanna Jordan and John Wooten have said that they are in the process of finding a buyer, but that they would close for business by the end of the week.
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.”
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.”
GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION, MS – Courtesy of the Dispatch
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.
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.
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!