Archive for the ‘Business newsmakers’ Category

TVA CEO takes economic development tour in Northeast Mississippi

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One of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s main missions is economic development, and the utility company’s top executive is seeing first-hand what is happening across its footprint.

“Our job is to help attract and keep bring businesses here, and I want to know why people come here,” said TVA chief executive officer Bill Johnson. “I’m interesting in seeing what we can learn and what more we can do.”

Tecumseh general manager Joe Kulovitz, left, talks to Tennessee Valley Authority CEO Bill Johnson during Johnson's tour of the Verona facility Wednesday.

Tecumseh general manager Joe Kulovitz, left, talks to Tennessee Valley Authority CEO Bill Johnson during Johnson’s tour of the Verona facility Wednesday.

In the past 18 months, more than 6,000 jobs have been created or retained in Northeast Mississippi, with capital investments totaling more than $1.4 billion.

While TVA isn’t directly responsible for those jobs and investment, it has played a key role in providing resources and infrastructure – namely cost-effective electricity – to help economic developers recruit and retain businesses.

Johnson tours the Valley three times a week

On Wednesday, Johnson toured the Tecumseh manufacturing facility in Verona and the Yokohama Tire site in West Point.

At Tecumseh, Johnson toured the facility with general manager Joe Kulovitz and other company officials as they showed a new expansion. Last July, Tecumseh announced it was building its advanced commercial refrigeration compressor.

The $10 million project, with $4 million coming from a low-interest loan from the Mississippi Development Authority and $600,000 in infrastructure and other improvements, could bring 150 jobs in the next five years.

Without MDA and TVA, the project would not have happened, Kulovitz told Johnson. Read the rest of this entry »

Last 747 for Japanese airline to land in Tupelo on Thursday

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Biz Buzz speculated two weeks ago that the final Boeing 747 belonging to All Nippon Airways (ANA) could very well be headed to Tupelo and Universal Asset Management.

This is the retired ANA 747 that will be landing in Tupelo Thursday.

This is the retired ANA 747 that will be landing in Tupelo Thursday.

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New air service in Tupelo could be in place by August

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While Silver Airways has announced it is ending commercial air service in Tupelo (click here for previous coverage),  Silver Air planeofficials with the Tupelo Regional Airport think a replacement carrier could be in place as early as August.
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Written by Dennis Seid

April 14, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Visitors’ numbers increase on Natchez Trace Parkway

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Visitors to the Natchez Trace Parkway continue to increase this year over last year, keeping the parkway in the top 10 of the National Park Service’s sites in attendance. Natchez Trace Parkway
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Written by Dennis Seid

April 14, 2014 at 9:33 am

Performers announced for Tupelo Elvis Festival

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Sister Hazel and Joe Nichols are the headliner acts for the 16th Tupelo Elvis Festival June 5-8, the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association announced late Friday.

• At  the Fairpark stage on the night of Friday, June 6 will be Sister HazelThey’re an alternative rock band Elvis Fest logofrom Gainesville, Fla.,that “blends elements of folk rock, pop, classic rock ‘n’ roll and southern rock,” according to Wikipedia. Here’s their hit from 20 years ago, “All For You.” if you want a sample of their music.
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Coldwater Creek to liquidate all stores starting May 11

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Women’s retailer Coldwater Creek is liquidating, which means it will be closing all of its stores. Coldwater Creek

The company, which hasn’t posted a profit since 2007, said is will begin going-out-of-business sales at its nearly 400 stores by Mother’s Day, May 11.

Officials at The Mall at Barnes Crossing in Tupelo said they didn’t know when the Coldwater Creek location there – which opened in 2008 – would close.

Said Bloomberg:

The company listed assets of $278.5 million and debt of $361.3 million in Chapter 11 papers filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del..

The chain said revenue peaked at $1.1 billion in 2006. It expanded from 198 stores in 2005 to 336 locations in 2007 before the global economic downturn stunted its financial success and triggered a series of management changes, according to court filings. Sales at stores open at least a year plunged 17 percent in the quarter ended Nov. 2.

The company joins women’s clothing chains Dots LLC and Ashley Stewart Holdings Inc. in bankruptcy. Dots, with 400 stores, shut down after filing in January. Ashley Stewart, with 168 stores in 24 states, sought Chapter 11 protection on March 10. A drop in mall traffic also has helped to drive pizza seller Sbarro LLC, toasted-sandwich chain Quiznos and the owner of Hot Dog on a Stick to seek court protection since February.


Written by Dennis Seid

April 11, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Silver Airways to end service to Tupelo, other Mississippi cities

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Silver Airways is ending its service to Tupelo, the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based airline announced today in a move that wasn’t unexpected. Silver Air plane

Said Silver in a news release:

As part of its plan to strengthen operations, increase revenue, reduce costs, and better position the airline for future growth and other opportunities, Silver Airways today announced plans to exit much of its Atlanta network and redeploy its aircraft and team members to other key markets.

Silver has provided the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) with the required 90-day notice of its intent to discontinue scheduled service between Atlanta and five communities, including Muscle Shoals, Alabama (MSL); Greenville, Mississippi (GLH); Laurel/Hattiesburg, Mississippi (PIB); Tupelo, Mississippi (TUP); and Meridian, Mississippi (MEI).

Tupelo Regional Airport executive director Josh Abramson said Silver flights will continue, however.

“The next step is that the U.S. Department of Transportation will issue a hold-in-service order, which means Silver has to continue service until a suitable replacement is found,” he said.

Abramson said Silver will continue to fly its schedule, and the airport will have a webpage dedicated to the process in which a new carrier will be selected.

Ironically, Silver was picked by the USDOT two years ago as a replacement for Delta Air Lines, when it announced in July 2011 it was ending service in Tupelo. Delta said it could no longer serve 24 small airports across the country. Other Mississippi cities at the time included Greenville and Hattiesburg. Delta received federal Essential Air Service subsidies to fly in those cities. In Greenville, it received $1.6 million a year; in Hattiesburg nearly $1.4 million; and in Tupelo, more than $920,000.

Silver received a two-year guaranteed subsidy totaling nearly $16.1 million to provide service to Tupelo (with a link to Greenville), Hattiesburg and Meridian. The Hattiesburg  cost $2.97 million, while the Greenville-Tupelo subsidy  cost $7.04 million. The DOT at the time also raised concerns about Silver’s higher subsidy but chose the airline anyway.

Silver began service in October 2012, taking over subsidized service from Delta. But Silver stumbled from the start, with a delayed service launch, website issues, flight delays and cancellations and an inability to code share with Delta as had been expected.

It’s Silver’s second time this year to announce it was ending service. In February, Silver  provided the Department of Transportation with a federally required 90-day notice of its intent by May 15 to end service between Cleveland and DuBois, Bradford and Franklin in Pennsylvania as well as Jamestown, N.Y and Parkersburg, W.Va.

Silver blamed a pilot shortage and low passenger numbers for that move. It said in February that it would retire its 19-seat Beech aircraft and redeploy those pilots and maintenance team workers to the rest of its 28 Saab 340 turboprops that served its other markets, including Tupelo.

Abramson said DOT will announce a timeframe for bids from airlines interested in providing service – the same procedure that it followed when Delta made its announcement in 2011. Four airlines ultimately bid to provide service in Tupelo, with the finalists being Silver and Air Choice One.

Abramson said he expects some of the same airlines to bid for service again. He also is meeting with “six or seven” other airlines to gauge their interest. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dennis Seid

April 9, 2014 at 2:37 pm