Main Street, Tourism Professionals take road trip on Mississippi’s Heritage Highway 82
MISSISSIPPI MAIN STREET, TOURISM PROFESSIONALS TAKE ROAD TRIP ON HERITAGE HIGHWAY
JACKSON, Miss. -- Representatives from Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) and Mississippi Development Authority (MDA), Division of Tourism, recently traveled along Mississippi Highway 82 as part of a regional tourism initiative to celebrate its designation as the state's first Heritage Highway.
MMSA and MDA Tourism representatives explored the towns and cities of Columbus, Eupora, Greenville, Greenwood, Indianola, Kilmichael, Leland, Starkville, Vaiden and Winona from May 10-12 during National Tourism Week.
The travelers convened at designated times and places; otherwise, everyone ate, shopped and toured on their as cultural heritage tourists.
Each individual kept up with his or her own expenses and an estimated $4,528 was spent during the weekend. Money was spent on lodging, food and beverage, transportation (gasoline), and retail.
The group recorded and captured the road trip through social media. More than 25,000 hits were recorded on Facebook over the 3-day period.
"The diverse cultural heritage assets along Heritage Highway 82 – architecture, literary, music, culinary, history, art – all provide a rich, authentic Mississippi cultural heritage experience," said Sarah McCullough, Cultural Heritage Program Manager, MDA Tourism. "To fully experience all of Heritage Highway 82 would take several days."
"Given that $4,500 was spent by a small number of independent travelers in only two days, the potential economic impact on these communities and rural areas is immeasurable," McCullough said. "Cultural heritage travelers also spend more, travel more, and stay longer than other travelers."
Part of the Heritage Highway 82 Road Trip included a reception at the Cotesworth Center for Culture and Heritage in North Carrollton.
Members of the Williams family, who have owned the historic home and surrounding farm for generations, were present as well as state legislators, mayors and local and state leaders in tourism.
Legislators attending included: Senator Lydia Chassaniol, Tourism Chair, Winona; Senator Terry Brown, President Pro Tempore, Columbus; Senator John Polk, Universities and Colleges Chair, Hattiesburg; Senator Giles Ward, Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Chair, Louisville; Senator Chris Massey, Nesbit; and Representative Rita Martinson, Tourism Chair, Madison.
"I will not soon forget walking up the front walk at Coteswoth, listening to Dr. Sanders and being amazed that this jewel existed for all to enjoy," said Bob Wilson, MMSA Executive Director. "I really wanted to share that image, feeling and experience with everyone I knew in Mississippi and throughout the country."
"Thanks to Sen. Chassaniol, Rep. Martinson, Gloria Kellum and everyone else for their hard work over the years and for allowing us to be a part of Cotesworth in the future," Wilson said.
See Road Trip photos and Facebook posts:
Mississippi Main Street
Visit Mississippi's culinary trail at
Ripley Main Street awarded grant to turn vacant Renfrow’s lot into park and Amphitheatre
Ripley Main Street Awarded Grant to Turn Vacant Renfrow’s Lot into Park and Amphitheatre
For Immediate Release
Press Release Contact: Libbi Bryant 662-587-3722
Project Coordinator: Allison Windham 662-837-1868
Four community “Sparkplugs” and Ripley Main Street volunteers recently attended a 2 day state-sponsored grant writing workshop where they were awarded a $3,000 grant. Their winning proposal, “Renfrow’s Corner”, an open air building concept will begin construction immediately. The plan includes a picnic area that will consist of movable tables, chairs and umbrellas for shade and color; an amphitheatre utilizing the existing property slope; large border planting to create the feeling of an entrance and “walls” along the property edge; and an outdoor movie screen and stage to be used for events. Once completed, this space will be available for public use.
Allison Windham, Libbi Bryant, Whitney Bridges and Paige McKenzie were part of the Appalachian Community Learning Project (ACLP) workshop created by the Rensselaerville Institute. ACLP uses citizen sparkplugs to create the community change needed to jumpstart projects that benefit local communities. By starting with small projects such as, Renfrow’s Corner, a small community can gain the experience needed to move on to more complex strategic development activities. Eight Mississippi communities, including groups from Vardamen, Lamar, New Albany, Louisville, Columbus, Brooksville and Bruce attended the workshop at the BancorpSouth Conference Center in Tupelo, MS on May 20-21 and were awarded grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission; training services were provided by the Rensselaerville Institute (http://www.rinstitute.org) and Mississippi State University Stennis Institute (www.sig.msstate.edu).
Main Street Retail Expert to speak in three North Miss. Cities, June 3-5
Main Street Retail Expert to speak in three North Miss. Cities, June 3-5
One of the country's leading retail experts returns to Mississippi to work in three north Mississippi cities on June 3, 4 and 5.
Margie Johnson of ShopTalk will present a seminar on "Trends Reshaping Small Businesses" in Tupelo on June 3, Water Valley on June 4 and Grenada on June 5. Johnson will also consult with selected business owners in each city based on items with which they need assistance.
"We are excited to bring Margie's services to this region," said Jan Miller, MMSA District Director. "We hope business owners will embrace this as an opportunity to energize their businesses."
Area retailers and businesses, as well as Main Street and Chamber members, are invited to attend the free seminar in the city of closest proximity. Each seminar will begin at 8 a.m. and end by 10 a.m.
The three cities were selected by Mississippi Main Street in partnership with the Mississippi Press Association and Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo, North Mississippi Herald in Water Valley, and GrenadaStar in Grenada.
Last fall, Johnson was hired by Mississippi Main Street Association and Mississippi Press Association to work in the cities of Philadelphia, Brookhaven and Natchez. Johnson has also worked with merchants and store owners on the Mississippi coast.
The purpose of the seminars is to promote economic development and aid retailers in a challenging economic environment.
Johnson has more than 30 years of experience as an owner/entrepreneur in the retail world. Her "customer centered" training sessions and approach to solving business problems have assisted hundreds of clients to develop their competitive edge that is so necessary in the business world today.
Johnson is a frequently requested retail expert speaker at national conventions, as well as a frequent contributor and writer for regional trade publications.
"Trends Reshaping Small Businesses" is designed to stimulate, educate, and challenge business owners and managers regarding the new realities that are facing independent businesses including retail, restaurants and hospitality services.
"As we move through 2013, we will see how trends establish themselves as prominent factors for small business growth," Johnson said. "To successfully compete in this hyper–competitive marketplace, business owners must rethink all of the rules."
The seminar will cover an overview of the following:
- Key consumer trends that are impacting and shaping all businesses
- Factors that are reshaping the retail landscape, including major “hot buttons”
- Trends in consumer buying habits that are being impacted by social media
- Tips on how small businesses can capitalize on these trends and grow their business
- How to use simple best practices that lead to extraordinary customer service translating to great customer experience/sales
- We will explore creative marketing ideas to review along with a timely list of resources
- How to best distinguish your business to have a competitive differentiator
Each business owner will leave with a timely handout that will be useful to their business.
"Trends Reshaping Small Businesses" is a free seminar for small businesses and Main Street members. Please sign up ahead of time by registering through the appropriate local contact.
June 3, 2013 @ 8:00 a.m. - Tupelo: Community Development Foundation, 398 East Main Street
June 4, 2013 @ 8:00 a.m. - Water Valley: BTC Old Time Grocery, 301 North Main
June 5, 2013 @ 8:00 a.m. - Grenada: Grenada Economic Development District office, Regions Bank Building, 2000 Gateway Street, Suite A
About Mississippi Main Street Association
MMSA is a downtown revitalization program of the National Main Street Center, Inc. and the Mississippi Development Authority with many strategic partners like the Mississippi Press Association. MMSA works with more than 50 cities and towns in Mississippi to provide training, technical assistance and resources to local programs. As the coordinating state Main Street program, MMSA helps establish local programs, plan revitalization strategies, develop detailed implementation plans, and solve specific problems in Main Street areas as well as provide ongoing training for Main Street managers and members based on the Main Street Four-Point Approach®: Organization, Promotion, Design and Economic Restructuring. For more information, visit www.msmainstreet.com
About the Mississippi Press Association
Founded in 1866, the Mississippi Press Association is the sixth-oldest association of its kind in the United States. Mississippi Press Services, the for-profit business subsidiary of MPA, was founded in 1978. The two organizations work jointly to promote the newspaper industry, community journalism and Freedom of Information in Mississippi. The MPA Education Foundation was created in 1983 to foster journalism education at in-state institutions of higher learning and continuing education of MPA members. For more information, visit http://mspress.org/
Remembering the Old Country Store
Remembering the Old Country Store
By Lise Foy, MS Agriculture & Forestry Museum
On summer afternoons, Daddy would take us to Mr. Hoover’s store at the intersection of Lodi Road and Highway 82 for a snack. It usually consisted of a hunk of hoop cheese, crackers, a slice of bologna or a can of Vienna sausages and a coke. I fondly remember the smell of the old store where you could buy garden seeds, fencing materials and feed. I was always fascinated by the combination and range of items for sale in his store.
In post-antebellum Mississippi, changes came about in the economics of daily life that opened the way for the development of the country store. Owners of plantations began to use sharecroppers or tenant farmers for labor. Because money was practically non-existent for production of crops, trade under a crop-lien system of credit developed. Farmers pledged their anticipated crop as security for furnishings and supplies necessary to produce a crop.
While this seemed like a great way to trade, Merle Travis may have just hit the nail on the head with the lyrics, “another day older and deeper in debt, I owe my soul to the company store.” Even though he was singing about the life of a coal miner in 1946, the notion rings true for the Mississippi sharecropper of the Reconstruction era.
Commissaries were opened on plantations and at crossroad sites. The owners of these commercial enterprises dominated community life perhaps more effectively and completely than had antebellum planters. Their power base was both protected and secured by crop lien laws which stifled commercial development in small trade towns.
After 1900, improved roads and transportation by automobile enabled farmers to produce a larger variety of goods for sale and promoted competitive markets. Business and cash flow increased in Mississippi during this period. Small trade towns became business centers.
Typical businesses that flourished in these small towns included the filling station, cotton gin, sawmill, grist mill and, at the center of commerce in town, the general merchandise store. Former residents of rural areas moved their families to town, built homes, and increased economic activity which created new jobs. And, so began economic development as we know it today in Mississippi.
Like so many of its kind that have been lost to fire, changes in population centers or ‘progress’ in general, Mr. Hoover’s store was a victim to the widening of Mississippi Highway 82 between Winona and Starkville. Still, others remain as flourishing modern businesses on Main Streets across the state.
There are a few that come to mind that are thriving today. People will drive out of their way to visit these wonderful pieces of nostalgia. Or, maybe you live near one and shop there because it is convenient and the service is personal.
William’s Brothers General Store in Philadelphia, Mississippi is over 100 years old. According to an August 2012 article in the Mississippi Business Journal, this store employs 50 to 60 people and carries things like horse tack, smoked hams, cowboy boots, men’s blue denim overalls and chicken feed. The store once featured in National Geographic, still looks much like it did when it opened.
The General Store located at the heart of Small Town, Mississippi at the Ag Museum is a replica of the old time general store in the 1920’s. Visitors can see displays of items that were for sale during this period, while enjoying an ice-cold Coca-Cola in a glass bottle with candy sticks, old-fashioned rock candy or a moon pie. There is a checker board on the front porch and rocking chairs just across the way that invite you to ‘sit a spell’ and reminiscence about the country store from your childhood.
The Museum General Store also carries a wide assortment of toys including jacks, marbles, yo-yo's, tops, pick-up sticks, and local Mississippi products including Mississippi Bees Honey, Hillside Vineyards Jelly and Jams, Daddy's Barbeque Sauce and Rubs, Mississippi Cheese Straws, Smith Farms Pepper Sauce, Hidden Arrow's Farm goats milk products, BearCreek Herbals scrubs and spritz's and JR Webb Pottery. We can build a basket just for you featuring any of our Mississippi products.
Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/msagmuseum, visit our website at www.msagmuseum.org and sign up for our monthly newsletter to track the progress of the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum renovations.
Ocean Springs, a town with a reputation as an “arts community” has several art galleries and was hometown to the late Walter Inglis Anderson, a nationally renowned painter and muralist.