Archive for November 2013

Biz Buzz on holiday break until Monday

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Hope you’re enjoying the long holiday weekend and spending quality time with family and friends.Be back soon

That’s what Biz Buzz is doing starting today, taking a few days off.  But, BB will be back Monday.

Thanks for checking in on us to get key business news in Northeast Mississippi – the Buzz appreciates it.

Have a great weekend!


Written by Dennis Seid

November 29, 2013 at 6:00 am

Forget Black Friday; it’s Black Thursday

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Some 33 million people were expected to shop today on Thanksgiving, and among them was Stormey Billiot.

A handful of shoppers were in line early Thursday afternoon at Toys R Us, waiting for the store's 5 p.m.

A handful of shoppers were in line early Thursday afternoon at Toys R Us, waiting for the store’s 5 p.m.

She was third in line at Toys R Us at 12:30 this afternoon, while her husband was at GameStop. Their goal – get one of the most popular gifts of the season, the new Sony PlayStation 4.

“We didn’t preorder the PS4, so I hope one of us can get it,” Billiot said. “It’s for him. We don’t have any kids. I want a diamond bracelet.”

Billiot came up empty at Toys R Us, which opened at 5 p.m., but she was hopeful her husband got what he wanted.

Traditionally, the day after Thanksgiving kicked off the holiday selling season. “Black Friday” still is the biggest shopping day of the year, but more retailers are opening on Thanksgiving to get a jump on the competition. And with seven fewer shopping days this year than last between Thanksgiving and Christmas, many have dubbed Thanksgiving as “Gray Thursday.

Ahead of her at Toys R Us were Whitney and Dustin Kenton. Thanksgiving lunch consisted of a trip through the drive-through at McDonald’s. They were helping Santa out by getting a Power Wheels Jeep that cost $150 less than regular price.

Meanwhile, April Otts and Matthew Palmer were looking to get three LeapPad 2 devices, for their kids. They were third in line and were able to get two of the LeapPads, the maximum.

“They only had 20 and we could only get two,” Otts said. “It was just crazy in there. It was like a maze.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dennis Seid

November 28, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Early food inspections report for this week

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Because of the Thanksgiving  holiday and earlier deadlines, we’re giving you the food  inspections report a couple of days early, The inspections were filed from last Friday through today.

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 Northeast Mississippi facilities were inspected between Nov. 22-26.  The facilities are listed as they are in the MSDH system, even if there are typos.

LEE COUNTY: Old W Fish & Steak
LAFAYETTE COUNTY: Tiena El Carreton, BP 334, Blue Bunnie BP 334
ALCORN COUNTY: Subway #15568 (N. Harper Road, Corinth), Qaulity Inn, Ginger’s, Sweet Pepper’s
CHICKASAW COUNTY: Sonic Drive In (Okolona, Shearer-Richardson Nursing Home, M&M Mart (Okolona)
CLAY COUNTY: Hoovers Bakery, Cathy’s Restaurant, Chad’s Cafe, Anthony’s Good Food Market, Cafe Ritz
ITAWAMBA COUNTY: Pizza Hut, Dynast 78
MONROE COUNTY: (Amory )Kentucky Fried Chicken, Golden Living Center, Pizza Hut, El Rey Mexican Restaurant, Gilmore Memorial Hospital/Morrison Healthcare
OKTIBBEHA COUNTY: Zaxby’s, Mugshots Grill  & Bar, Vickers Personal Care Home, Days Inn & Suites
PRENIISS COUNTY:Wheeler Grocery, Baldwyn Mini Mart
TIPPAH COUNTY: City Avenue Catering (Ripley)

Huddle House (Amory), Mi Hacienda (Starkville), Blue  Mountain BP, Food Giant #272 (Ripley)
T Mart (206 Hwy 278 East, Amory)


Written by Dennis Seid

November 27, 2013 at 2:15 pm

New furniture store to open in Tupelo Commons

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Stash Home, which sells name-brand furniture at discounted prices, should be opening its Tupelo store around Christmas in the

Stash Home is located between Ashley Furniture HomeStore and Hancock Fabrics.

Stash Home is located between Ashley Furniture HomeStore and Hancock Fabrics.

Tupelo Commons retail development on North Gloster Street .

The store is located between Ashley Furniture HomeStore and Hancock Fabrics.

What is Stash exactly? From its website: “Our team buys factory overruns, closeouts, overstocks, factory closings, factory direct products, photography samples and designer trials. All product is new, high-quality merchandise at 30-75 percent off, and often more. Stash gives you top brands at the lowest prices possible.”

The company now has two stores – one in Memphis and one in Oxford, but is opening in Tupelo and looking to expand in more locations next summer.

Stash is the brainchild of DSG, or the Dufresne Spencer Group, the Saltillo-based company that owns 19 furniture stores – including 14 Ashley stores – in Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. It recently acquired seven KHF Holding stores in Kentucky and Indiana

The Tupelo store covers 15,000 to 16,000 square feet, and it will employ about 10 people.

Stash is headed by Greg Roy, the former Lane Furniture and Furniture Brands executive who joined DSG in August.


Written by Dennis Seid

November 27, 2013 at 12:14 pm

No time to cook? Some Tupelo restaurants open for Thanksgiving

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If you missed it in today’s Daily Journal, here’s a story about restaurants open on Thanksgiving. If you’re outside Tupelo, be sure to check with your local favorite eatery. Just didn’t have time to call everybody in Northeast Mississippi, so we concentrated on where a lot of folks will be shopping on Turkey Day.Thanksgiving turkey

  • The Hilton Garden Inn will serve breakfast from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. – but it won’t serve lunch or dinner.
  • At the Summit Center, serving a Thanksgiving meal has been a tradition, and owner Jimmy Pappas expects several hundred people to enjoy turkey, fried catfish, pork medallions, ham, roast beef, soups, salads and desserts.
  • For some Greek, Italian as well as some Thanksgiving fare, Vanelli’s is open all day.
  • Woody’s is again serving lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with ham, roast turkey, deep fried turkey, vegetables, breads and desserts.
  • Todd’s Big Star will be open, and its deli will have turkey and ham among its choices. The store is open from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m.
  • Dodges, Cracker Barrel, Ryan’s, Waffle House, Huddle House and IHOP are open with regular hours.
  • Most fast-food restaurants will be closed, but all McDonald’s locations are open 24 hours.
  • Sonic on West Main Street will open at 3 p.m., while the location on North Gloster Street opens at 9 a.m. and stays open until 3 a.m. Friday.
  • Pizza Hut on West Main Street is open at 4 p.m., but other locations are closed all day.
  • JP’s Funky Little Shack opens at 4 p.m., as does Applebee’s and Subway locations.
  • Some stores at The Mall at Barnes Crossing will open at 8 p.m. – the mall itself opens at midnight – and some food court restaurants will open as well. Sbarro, Peppers Express and Steak Escape will open at 8 p.m., while Chick-Fil-A and Magic Wok open at midnight.

Written by Dennis Seid

November 27, 2013 at 10:01 am

Report: Miss. State ‘actively engaged’ in economic development

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From Mississippi State University:

A new report finds Mississippi State actively engaged with a wide variety of industries that are growing local, regional and state MSU sealeconomies, while also contributing to partnerships that foster international exchange and trade.

“Our central economic development objective is to strengthen collaborations between the university, organizations and businesses to create high-wage jobs,” said Melvin Ray, the university’s associate vice president for economic development.

The MSU Office of Research and Economic Development today released “University-Industry Engagement Report, FY2013″ that details the university’s economic development-related activities and their impact. The entire report is available here.

The document provides a summary of the land-grant institution’s efforts to enhance economic opportunity in Mississippi and beyond, based on a survey of participating MSU research centers, institutes and the campus-based Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.

According to its chief research officer, the university’s commitment to help expand the state’s economy is by design.

“We have taken purposeful steps to make innovation, entrepreneurship and community engagement priorities on our campus; we have been building that culture with students, faculty and staff,” said David Shaw, vice president for research and economic development.

Among other points, the report notes that:

  • The highest number of completed projects was in Oktibbeha (60), Lee (29) and Hinds (28) counties.
  • Sizes of companies receiving assistance in the 2013 fiscal year ranged from student-led start-ups to multi-national corporations.
  • A neutral, third-party has estimated that, in collaborative work with a number of companies, the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems Extension Office had a $1 billion annual impact over the past five years.

“We deploy a wide range of tools to enhance opportunity and establish profitable connections, such as the Economic Development Assistance Network,” Ray said.

“EDAN was created as a resource for economic developers, business owners, entrepreneurs and others in business and industry, and is designed to quickly connect them with Mississippi State experts and their expertise,” he added.

Written by Dennis Seid

November 26, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Tupelo furniture company gets Duck Commander license

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Tupelo-based Prime Designs is building recliners, sofas and other furniture emblazoned with the Duck Commander logo, following a two-year licensing agreement the companies reached a few weeks ago.

The Duck Commander logo is embroidered on the recliner, a detail Prime Designs said the company liked over other ideas

The Duck Commander logo is embroidered on the recliner, a detail Prime Designs said the company liked over other ideas

Prime Designs, which now employs about 120, is investing $500,000 and adding up to 120 jobs in the next year to build the Duck Commader-licensed products.

The furniture maker is the first to get a licensing agreement from Duck Commander, the company behind the popular “Duck Dynasty” show featured on A&E.

Prime Designs co-founder Tim Richey said the sales potential of the Duck Commander-licenced line is unlimited.

“It could be $60 million to $100 million – we’re just not sure at this point,” he said.

At the end of the two-year agreement, the two companies will review the results.

“If they’re happy with the results, we can continue the license.” Richey said. “We hope we make them very happy.”

A big selling point was that Prime Designs opted to embroider the logo onto the furniture, rather than have it as a sewn-on decal. In addition, the logo is prominently displayed.

While the camo pattern is an obvious link, other patterns are available, too, said PD national sales manager Jerry Marlin.

“We’ve have solids, cotton, leather and even wood trim,” he said.

Prime Designs was apparently the first furniture manufacturer to approach Phil Robertson and the Duck Commander crew about licensing the company’s name on products, and the first to get a license.

“‘Duck Dynasty’ is the name of the A&E show, but Duck Commander is the name, the company behind why the show exists,” Marlin said. “We were fortunate to be the first to ask. There have been others after us. And there’s Duck Dynasty-licensed products, but we don’t have anything to do with that. We’re strictly Duck Commander.”

Several top 100 national furniture retailers have already placed orders with Prime Designs, and the company is negotiating with Walmart, Sam’s and other large chains.

Written by Dennis Seid

November 26, 2013 at 12:15 pm