Archive for January 2013

New Viking Range owner cuts 20 percent of workers

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New Viking Range Corp. owner Middleby Corp., laid off about 140 of  Viking’s 700 workers, or 20 percent of its workforce, on Thursday, the Associated Press reported.

Middleby, based near Chicago, bought Greenwood-based Viking earlier this month for $380 million. The company said it could see growing Viking’s market share 25 percent to 30 percent, and its international sales to grow to 20 percent of company sales from its current 5 percent. But  Middleby also said profit improvement would come from reducing costs and incorporating some of its commercial technologies into Viking equipment.

Here’s what the AP said today:

Layoffs are effective immediately, with a majority in Viking’s hometown of Greenwood. Spokeswoman Darcy Bretz says she doesn’t know if fired workers are receiving severance pay.

Viking cooking schools in Ridgeland, Miss., and Memphis, Tenn., will close.

Middleby bought Viking for $380 million from shareholders including founder Fred Carl andArkansas’ Stephens family.

The purchaser aims to increase Viking’s sales and profits while cutting costs. Bretz says layoffs were spread across the company but were heavier in some departments

Carl and Viking have worked to revitalize Greenwood’s downtown, including a luxury hotel and cooking school there. Those operations will stay open.


Written by Dennis Seid

January 31, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Room to Room adds Bassett Furniture

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Room to Room Furniture in Tupelo has added another brand to its portfolio – BassettRoom to room logo

“We are so excited about bringing the Bassett line to Room to Room Furniture,” said owner Lisa Hawkins. “This is a tremendous opportunity  for both us and the customer as Bassett is one of the most trusted brands in America.”

Bassett, the company says, has gained a new reputation for high quality, custom furniture that enables the customer to express their unique sense of style with a large variety of options, including upholstered furniture, dining, bedroom and home entertainment.


Written by Dennis Seid

January 31, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Inspections: Pizza Hut, Taco Bell 1/31/13

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Good news. We are on our second straight week of all A’s.

image via MSDH

image via MSDH

The state Department of Health regularly inspects restaurants and food facilities.

The facilities are graded from A to C. “A” is the best. “C” is the equivalent of failing, but the inspection isn’t bad enough to merit the closure of the restaurant.

The following Lee County facilities were inspected between Jan. 25 and today.

The facilities are listed as they are in the MSDH system, even if there are typos.

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Written by Carlie Kollath Wells

January 31, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Sonic opens in Nettleton

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Press release from Sonic Drive-in: sonic logo

(Oklahoma City)  – Sonic Restaurants, Inc., franchisor of America’s largest chain of drive-in fast food restaurants, today announced the opening of a new SONIC Drive-In in Nettleton, Miss.

“We are very excited to open a new SONIC in Nettleton,” said Trey Ellison, manager. “We are looking forward to serving the community and delivering the great service SONIC Drive-Ins are known for across the country.”

Ronald McClain and Bruce Vaughn are the principal owners of the restaurant located at 7224 Highway 45 North. The restaurant features 17 drive-in stalls, four walk-up ordering stations and a drive-thru.

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Written by Carlie Kollath Wells

January 31, 2013 at 11:28 am

Chickasaw museum meeting draws a crowd in Tupelo

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More than 100 people today visited the Natchez Trace Parkway headquarters to offer their opinions about the proposed Chickasaw heritage center and museum.

photo by Carlie Kollath Wells/Daily Journal

photo by Carlie Kollath Wells/Daily Journal

The come-and-go event was geared at explaining the proposed project to the public and getting feedback.

The project is in the preliminary stages, according to Dale Wilkerson, acting superintendent of the Natchez Trace Parkway.

“The only thing we’ve decided is it’s going to be at Chickasaw Village,” he said, referencing a Tupelo site on the parkway.

Attendees at the meeting were city officials, tourism leaders, history buffs, Native American culture enthusiasts and Natchez Trace staff members and fans.

Brady Davis represented the Chickasaw Nation at the meeting. He is the historic site manager for the Chickasaw preserve in Lee County. The preserve was created in 2005 and is not open to the public.

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Written by Carlie Kollath Wells

January 30, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Gap Factory Store open; new bank opens Friday

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UPDATE: On Wednesday, I mistakenly wrote that Farmers & Merchants Bank would be opening today. It’s actually Friday. The headline on this post reflects that. Sorry about that!


New openings are always a good thing, and while it’s old news if you’ve been following on Biz Buzz and the Daily Journal, you’ll be

The Gap Factory Store is now open. This is the store a week ago as final preparations were being made. (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells/Daily Journal)

The Gap Factory Store is now open. This is the store a week ago as final preparations were being made. (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells/Daily Journal)

happy to know the Gap Factory Store is officially open today.

And if you’re hearing it for the first time, here’s the quick summary: The Gap store in The Mall at Barnes Crossing closed on Saturday, making way for the move to the Gap Factory Store, which is located in the former Circuit City location. And if you forgot where that was, it’s next to Old Navy.

Employees from the mall store were transferred over to the Factory Store.


Speaking of openings, the new Farmers & Merchants Bank office in Tupelo opens tomorrow.

FMB, based in Baldwyn, is opening in the former BancorpSouth branch on West Main Street across from the Link Centre.

The office will have six employees.

FMB also has locations in Booneville, Mantachie, Marietta and Mooreville.

Written by Dennis Seid

January 30, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Natchez Trace to have Chickasaw Museum meeting today

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Reminder:  Chickasaw Nation seal

The Natchez Trace Parkway and the Chickasaw Nation have a public meeting scheduled today from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

At these meetings, the National Park Service and the Chickasaw Nation will discuss the proposal to establish a museum and cultural center at the Chickasaw Village site along the Natchez Trace Parkway near Tupelo, Mississippi.

Information will include preliminary alternatives, site characteristics, impact topics, and project purpose and need. The public meetings will be held in an informal open house format where staff will be available to answer questions about the proposed project and the scope of the EA. Meetings will be held on January  30 and February 5, 2013 at the following locations:

January 30, 2013—4:00 PM to 7:00 PM in the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center, located at 2680 Natchez Trace Parkway (Milepost 266) in Tupelo, Mississippi, 2 miles north of Highway 78.

Click here to read our previous coverage.

Written by Carlie Kollath Wells

January 30, 2013 at 1:43 pm