Author Archives: Colin Krieger

Students to See What’s Cooking at the W

COLUMBUS, Mississippi – Courtesy of MUW and Tyler Wheat

The Mississippi University for Women will soon be holding two sessions for over a hundred interested students from Mississippi high schools to their Culinary Arts Institute building in order to show them how everything works, and perhaps entice them into someday attending the W pursuit of the only BS in Culinary Science offered in the entire state. The two-story facility encompasses over 40 thousand square feet and includes several full, commercial-grade kitchens, a giant bakery with a chocolate room, and classrooms, including one with its own demonstration area up front for hands-on learning.

“We look forward to meeting the state’s future culinary leaders, and are proud to have them on campus,” said Dr. Tracee Watkins, director of the Culinary Arts Institute at The W.

The sessions will include hands-on demonstrations, info about daily life & admissions for program students, followed by a tour of the campus. These events will be held on February 27th and March 26th.

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#muw #mississippiuniversityforwomen #culinarycareers #culinaryschool

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Apex Ammo Takes Aim at New, Bigger Location

COLUMBUS, Mississippi – Courtesy of the Dispatch and Mary Pollitz

Apex Ammunition, maker of shotgun shells, has been growing quickly as of late, so they have been investing time and money into their new production facility just off of Yorkville Park Square in order to better meet consumer demand. Production is already underway on some products at the new facility, with more to come; they anticipate being at full operation status by the end of June. At 120,000 sq ft, the new location is nearly 20x the size of the old one, which will allow them to significantly ramp up production and employ a number of new workers as time goes on.

Boomer Brown of Apex spoke on the move: “We were busting at the seams at our old facility on Phillips Hill. . . A lot of states have lobbied for us to move, but being from Lowndes County we wanted to stay here. … We found this building and the rest is history.”

Revive Church of Columbus will begin renting the old First Baptist Church at 202 Seventh St. N. in March and plans to hold its first service there soon, though an exact date has not yet been announced. Developer and building owner Vince Rapisarda expressed his appreciation: “I am happy that we have been able to find a tenant like Revive to move into the sanctuary,” Rapisarda said. “We are looking forward to a long-term relationship and excited to help them grow their congregation. It is a beautiful historic building that will still be available for the public for weddings, funerals and other events.”

Redwood Business and Wellness Center, 5374 Hwy. 45 N. near S Perkins Rd, has been filling up its spaces with local businesses looking to get a foothold. Owner Anna Pantano said, “We’re excited to be there. I would encourage people who have something they want to show the community, to give it a try and go ahead and take a chance on themselves and teach a class or a workshop.”

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#columbusms #entrepreneurship #apexammunition #manufacturing

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Aldermen Hear Arguments for New Furniture Store in Former Vowell’s Location

STARKVILLE, Mississippi – Courtesy of the Dispatch and Zack Plair

Attorney Julie Brown, representing Roy Oswalt of 44 Properties, speaks to Starkville aldermen Tuesday evening in City Hall – Zack Plair – The Dispatch

Attorney Julie Brown spoke to Starkville aldermen recently on behalf of Pearl’s Miskelly Furniture. Their company purchased the old Vowell’s Marketplace property after shut down in 2021. they are looking into what incentives the City might offer them to open up there, as they have put over $3 million into renovating the building for future retail use, and they are already bringing in Dollar Tree and Ace Hardware as tenants. They are asking that the City allow them a 10-year property tax exemption. “They could have gone to Oxford, Tupelo, or Columbus. But they picked Starkville,” Brown said. “But, of course, they’re like everybody else. They’ve got a budget, and they need to make it work.” Brown argued that the sales tax income would more than make up for the temporary loss in property tax revenue.

The aldermen discussed the matter during the hearing, but chose to table the matter for now. Some expressed their concerns, including Ward 3’s Jeffrey Rupp: “I want to be cautious on how much sales tax it’s going to generate because if you’re going to Ace Hardware, does that mean you’re not going to East Mississippi Lumber?” he asked. “Does that mean you’re not going to Lowe’s? Is that creating new tax dollars? I think it will with Miskelly. I think (that’s) a great get.”

Ward 1 Alderwoman Kim Moreland, serving her first meeting on the board, said, “I’m for getting them here, but I don’t want to give more than we have to to get them here.”

Corner Market had been looking at the location at one point, but decided against it last year.

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#starkvillems #pearlms #aldermen #vowells #miskellyfurniture

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Burns Bottom Redevelopment Proposals Sought

COLUMBUS, Mississippi – Courtesy of the Dispatch and Kevin Edwards

The Columbus Redevelopment Authority recently decided to seek proposals for the potential redevelopment of the Burns Bottom area from developers. The zone covers a five-block area between Third & Fourth Street and Second & Seventh Avenue North. Formal advertising will begin on Feb. 22nd, with the hopes that a selection will be made by the end of August; proposals will be accepted until April 26th.

Jason Spears, Marthalie Porter, Dennis Erby, and Jeff Turnage (L-R) look over the Burns Bottom request for proposal document – Kevin Edwards, Dispatch Staff

The CRA, which has already purchased dozens of plots there (mostly ones that are vacant or dilapidated), says that they “[seek] to transform the site into a destination for residential living accompanied by dining, shopping and other amenities.” It also says the developer selected would ideally “incorporate a variety of uses to stimulate activity at the site, such as street-facing retail.

“We want to show (developers) that (the CRA has) gone through enough hoops to know that the property is viable for development,” said City Engineer Kevin Stafford, one of the authors of the RFP.

The CRA has a $3 million fund available to them for use on infrastructure projects in the area. “That’s a big incentive with cash in hand,” Stafford said. “All these other things are things we could offer you. This is something on the table that you’re going to need to use.”

A public interest meeting has been tentatively scheduled for March of this year so that residents can weigh in with their own concerns and questions; the CAC has offered to play host to the event at no cost.

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#columbusms #columbusredevelopmentauthority #bursnbottom #redevelopment #urbanrenewal

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GTRA Gets the State’s First Electric Aircraft Charging Station

COLUMBUS, Mississippi – Courtesy of the Dispatch and Kevin Edwards

The Golden Triangle Regional Airport, in cooperation with Avflight and Beta Technologies, has installed Mississippi’s first charging station usable by electrically-powered aircraft. This is one step along the path to establishing a proper infrastructure for the technology across the nation. Eighteen other such stations are already in service, with another fifty in the works as of this time. “We’re really excited about it because it’s another option when it comes to supporting advanced aviation and aircraft,” Matt Dowell, the airport’s executive director, told The Dispatch. “Electric aircraft are in development right now (and) being certified. We like to have as much infrastructure to support aviation as possible.”

Emma Davis, flight test engineer with Beta Technologies – Kevin Edwards, Dispatch Staff

It was noted that the station is designed to work with aircraft from a variety of different manufacturers and operators, and also serves as a charger for electric automobiles; the car charger is open to the public, and both chargers operate off of an app to allow for easy payment. The current range of a sample small aircraft is about 350-400 miles/2.5 hours of flight time at 120 knots (enough to reach Augusta, GA, for example); it costs only about $50 in power to reach that far, as opposed to a few hundred dollars in aviation fuel for a standard plane.

“The whole picture is, there isn’t the charge station infrastructure out there for electric aviation, so someone’s got to do that,” flight test engineer Emma Davis said. “If we want to fly our aircraft throughout the country, what’s the best way to do that? It’s to have a charge station that we’ve built (and) implemented in place.”

They expect the chargers to primarily be used by ground vehicles, at least at first, as FAA approval is gained for more and more electric aircraft over the years – but that means having the chargers available first. In the meantime, the airport is making sure that they will have the needed structures and personnel in place to support them.

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#gtra #goldentriangle #electriccharging #aviation #columbusms

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The LINK Continues to Prepare its Members for the Future

Golden Triangle, Mississippi – Courtesy of the GTD LINK

Leah Upton (courtesy photo/GTD LINK)

The LINK’s Director of Finance, Leah Upton, recently graduated from the MDEC’s 2023 Emerging Leaders Fellows program. The ELF seeks to help emerging financial professionals in the state via a program of year-long training and immersion in their field. We here at GfB offer our Congratulations to Leah and all of the other graduates, as we wish them luck in their future endeavors!

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Glo Pals is Glowing Up!


Glo Pals is a local company that began just a few years ago, offering items such as children’s sensory toys & cubes that light up in water. They brought in some veteran talent from its founders’ alma mater, MSU, some time back to help mentor the company, and now, they have become executives at the rapidly-growing firm. The items they sell are offered via their own website (below) and at major retailers such as Macy’s, Target, and more. Their designs include original characters, as well as ones licensed by Sesame Street and Mr Rogers/Daniel Tiger.

image courtesy of Glo

New COO Eric Hill said, “I’ve seen Glo rise from a small yet ambitious startup to a leading industry player with multiple product lines that touch every corner of the globe. Joining the leadership team at this critical point is an incredible opportunity to further expand Glo’s business and brand.”

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Liquor Store, Montessori School Coming soon


Park Place owner Gail Stevens expressed her gratitude for the many customers who have supported her Main Street salon/boutique over the past decade as they prepare to move to their new location at 3451 New Hope Road: “We love downtown, we absolutely loved it,” Stevens said. “We were just able to find a building within a mile from our house.” Her daughter, Tina Beth Cruse, will run the salon in its new digs. Once they reopen – which will be soon – their hours will be Tu~Fri 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sat 10-4

Tupelo’s Little Legends Montessori Academy plans to open its doors to students at its new Columbus location, at 420 31st Ave. N., beginning this March. Shemeka Williams, program director and owner, said, “I can just feel the need,” Williams said. “I asked God to lead me, and everything just fell into place. . . I love [the Montessori model],” Williams said. “I love to cater to my children.” They are currently accepting applications for 3- to 6-year-old children.

Finally, construction vehicles have been put to work at 2212 Military Road, across from Lowes. Gill Fani, owner of King’s Court near downtown, said Military Express is slated to be open by this summer. It will feature a convenience store with a kitchen & dining area, a liquor store, and a laundromat all under one roof.

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Go See the Music Man

STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News and Devin Ammons

From a young age, Scott “Scooter” Thomas always wanted to run a record store. With the advents of CDs and later, digital music, it appeared that he might never get that chance. However, the renaissance of vinyl records in the past several years granted him the opportunity to realize his dream; he opened “Scooter’s” in 2017 and he has been going strong ever since. His shop stocks a variety of media, but specializes primarily in vinyl.

Scott Thomas of Scooter’s
– Devin Ammons, SDN

“This is something I always wanted to do,” said Thomas. “I went to school out of state and I was done in the early 90s. I wanted to do this then but records had kind of gone away, and it was all CDs, and I hate CDs. When I was a kid, my aunt worked in a record store. She gave me some of my first records. You know, I grew up with records. I’ve always been into records, and I knew where all the record stores were that still had records within a 200 mile radius. There was a record store called Crossroads that was over by where George Sherman’s is, and the guy that owned that place had baskets and baskets and baskets of records, and he was trying to get rid of them. So he would let me take crates of records home for like $10. So, I sort of built up a pretty good record collection then, but that really helped out.”

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