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inding their way F page 5

Tanglefoot Trail making impact, pg. 3 MARCH 2017




pring break is around the corner, and my son and I will be taking our biennial trek to Orlando, Flor-

ida. Yes, we’re headed to Walt Disney World. He’s 15, and I’m 48, but we don’t let age get in our way. Now, after spending a few days in mouse-land, my tune may change altogether. But I figure I should take advantage of these father-son trips while I can before we both grow too old. But do you really out-grow Disney? My first trip to Orlando was in 1982, not long after EPCOT opened. It was an eighth-grade trip, but I don’t remember all the details. I’m pretty sure I had a good time. Five years later, I visited Disneyland in Anaheim, California,

MARCH 2017

Disney or not, take some time off as well as Newport Beach, Venice Beach and San Diego. And it’s where I was first introduced to bean sprouts on a deli sandwich for the first and last time. Californians... Then it would be another 18 years before I’d run into Mickey and company again. My son was only three, but my sister wanted to take her first, only and favorite nephew to Walt Disney World. Since the invitation was extended to mom and dad, how could we refuse? Then in 2008, we visited my brother, who was living in Hong Kong, and one of the highlights of that trip was going to Disneyland Hong Kong. It was a lot smaller than we expected. A scaled-down version of what we were used to, but then again, Hong Kong natives are scaled-down versions

of most American-born Chinese like myself anyway. Still, we had a good time visiting my mom’s DENNIS SEID birthplace. And since 2011, my son and I have made it spring break tradition to return to Orlando and Disney World every other year. In the even-number years, he goes with his cousins to Universal Studios in Orlando. The kid should get resident status in Florida. Anyway, memories – good and bad – are made on everybody’s vacations, and ours have been no different. He rode his first big-boy roller coaster at Disney World. We’ve laughed hysterically on the Monsters

Inc. Laugh Floor. We both got motion sickness at the same time (do not choose “orange” on Mission: Space). We got stuck on the Peter Pan ride. Twice. We’ve eaten our fair share of Mickey Mouse ice cream. And in a little more than a week, we’ll go back and have a little fun. So what’s the point to all this? You don’t have to go to Disney, but you do need to take a vacation. According to Project: Timeoff, Americans are taking only 16 days of the average 21 days of vacation they’re allotted each year. In 2015, more than half of American workers surveyed – 55 percent – left unused vacation days. In total,, more than 658 million vacation days went unused. And a staggering 222

million hours of unused vacation days were lost, meaning they couldn’t be rolled over, paid out or banked for any other benefit. According to Project: Timeoff, American workers each lost an average of two full days of vacation. Had Americans used the vacation time they earned in 2015, it would have meant $223 billion in spending for the U.S. economy. “Servicing the needs of those unused vacation days would have created 1.6 millon jobs, resulting in $65 billion in additional income,” Project: Timeoff said. So, my fellow Americans, do the right thing: Take the time off you earned and deserve. Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or


MARCH 2017


Tanglefoot Trail makes positive impact BY THOMAS SIMPSON BUSINESS JOURNAL

Tupelo – Since opening in September 2013, the Tanglefoot Trail has been visited by thousands of visitors and locals alike, increasing activity in and around the communities along its route. The trailhead, which opened Sept. 21, 2013, is a 44-mile rails-to-trails conversion that stretches from downtown Houston to downtown New Albany and follows the old Mississippi Tennessee Railroad line. In 2015, Tanglefoot was one of 10 trails na-

tionwide designated as national recreation trails by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The designation gave the trailhead more notice in the circles of trail enthusiasts. Randy Kelley is the executive director of Three Rivers Planning and Developing District, which acts as the administrative and fiscal agent of the GM&O Rails-toTrails Recreational District, which owns Tanglefoot. Kelley believes that, while the trail is in its infancy, it has been a hit locally and nationally. The support from the community has been

“tremendous,” he said, and law enforcement has continued to “show support and keep the trail safe.” “We believe the trail will continue to mature as an asset to North Mississippi,” Kelley said. “We have seen people from across the nation walking, jogging or biking on the trail. People will see enhancements made annually as the district acquires funds and grants with plans for more pavilions, extensions and bike repair shops, among other things.” Kelley was named one of North America’s top 50

economic developers in 2015. Sean Johnson, the director of marketing and tourism in New Albany, said the idea for the trail

was from the success of the rails-to-trails movement, which started in the 1980s. “The idea was to take an abandoned railway

and convert it into a bike trail,” he said. “The railways had 100-year leases on them, and it was a TURN TO TANGLEFOOT, P. 8



Booneville hoping for tourism tax vote BY THOMAS SIMPSON BUSINESS JOURNAL

Booneville – A bill has been filed in the state Senate to allow Booneville residents to vote on a proposed tourism tax. State Senator J.P. Wilemon filed Senate Bill 2948 Feb.10, which would authorize a vote on a 2 percent additional sales tax on lodging and prepared food at restaurants. The bill must be approved by both the Senate and the House of Representatives and signed by the governor. If approved, aldermen would then set an election on the issue. The proposal would have to be approved by 60 percent of those voting. Mayor Derrick Blythe said he is hopeful the bill makes its way through the Senate and to the city. “We just want the citizens to be given the opportunity to vote on the proposal,” he said. “That’s all we are asking for.” The bill authorizes funds from the tax to be used by the city to “promote tourism, parks and recreation, economic development and the general health and well being of its citizens, including infrastructure improvements, and for related purposes.” Leon Hays is the executive director of the Prentiss County Development Association. He and his staff have come out in favor of the effort. “We believe that, whether the community is for it or against it,


How the additional tax would be divided • 20 percent – Establish a city tourism department • 20 percent – Booneville and Prentiss County Main Street • 20 percent – Prentiss County Development Association • 20 percent – Improvements in the parks and recreation department • 20 percent – Set aside to provide matching funds for grants

there needs to be a vote and the public’s opinions need to be heard,” Hays said. According to Hays, the allocation of funds has not been established yet. However, the plan is to split it five ways. Twenty percent of any funds generated would be used to establish a city tourism department, which would open doors for the city to apply for future grant funding. Another 20 percent would be earmarked for Booneville and Prentiss County Main Street, 20 percent for the Prentiss County Development Association and 20 percent to improvements in the parks and recreation department. An additional 20 percent will be placed in an account to provide matching funds for grants received by the city. The monies generated would be kept in a separate account from the city’s general fund and budgeted separately. Blythe believes one of the key areas of funding from the pro-

posed tax will come from Northeast Mississippi Community College. “(The tax) is a wonderful idea because it is a way for the city to capitalize on the college,” Blythe said. “We have thousands of students who go to the school each year, and that 2 percent from sales of prepared goods and lodging would give the city an opportunity to grow.” Amit Patel is the manager at the Super 8 motel in Booneville. He believes that, if the tax passes the Senate and House and makes its way through a vote, it would make a positive impact in the community. “Many hotels charge customers 5 percent for reservations,” Patel said. “I don’t think that a 2 percent increase will affect people too much.” The bill was introduced by Wilemon last year and made its way through the Senate, but the House chose to not pick it up. Hays said that while it has only been filed in the Senate this year, “there has been a good bit of support from the community.” The city hosted a public meeting recently to get reactions from the public. Hays said the feedback was generally positive. “We think it would have a tremendous impact on the community,” he said. “Look at some of the amenities and vibrant downtown communities in Northeast Mississippi. Many of those cities use the tourism tax to push forward that development.”

MARCH 2017

Mississippi Hills NHA grant program continues BUSINESS JOURNAL

Established by Congress in 2009, the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area (MHNHA) is one of only 49 federally-designated heritage areas in the United States. MHNHA covers all or parts of 30 counties in the northeastern part of the state, and its boundaries as set forth in the enabling legislation are the Tennessee and Alabama state lines to the north and east, Interstate 55 to the west and state highway 14 to the south. U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker were highly instrumental in the establishment of MHNHA, as was the Mississippi Development Authority-Tourism Division, University of Mississippi, CREATE Foundation and Appalachian Regional Commission. The Mississippi Hills works as a local-state-federal partnership. As established by law, the local coordinating entity for MHNHA is the Mississippi Hills Heritage Area Alliance, which was formed in 2004 with over 50 local, state and federal founding partners. Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area is a 30-county area in North Mississippi

Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area is a 30-county area in North Mississippi working together to preserve, enhance, interpret and promote the cultural and heritage assets of the hills region. working together to preserve, enhance, interpret and promote the cultural and heritage assets of the hills region. The exhibit center, which is located in downtown Tupelo, displays little-known facts about Mississippi’s legends and offers an abundance of information and resources for attractions and things to do throughout the region. It’s your best stop to understand the Hills National Heritage Area. Today, the Alliance is sustained in part by federal funding received through the National Park Service, which also plays a key supervisory and technical assistance role. The Alliance is supported in its work by the National Heritage Area division of the NPS Southeast Regional Office in Atlanta, and also by the Natchez Trace Parkway, headquartered in Tupelo. “Our federal funding must be matched dollar-for-dollar by local and state funds or in-kind TURN TO MISSISSIPPI, P. 9


MARCH 2017


Thomas Turner, an employee with Knight Sign Industries out of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, installs the Tupelo letters on one of the new Tupelo signs located on East Main Street at the Highway 45 intersection.

inding their way F New signs aimed to help visitors navigate the All-America City BY DENNIS SEID BUSINESS JOURNAL

TUPELO – Five new signs at major entry points into the city have been built, and more than

200 other smaller directional signs are being installed. The $400,000 project is being paid for by the Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau, which initiated the work to guide visitors

and residents to major attractions and destinations in the city. The larger gateway signs replaced ones that were 20 years old. “They were getting dated, and

it was time to replace them,” said Neal McCoy, TCVB executive director, “and we hope these last for 20 years or more.” The gateway signs have the prominent crown logo the CVB

adopted as part of a rebranding strategy a couple of years ago, with fieldstone accents. “Tupelo” is backlit by LED lighting that TURN TO SIGNS, P. 7



MARCH 2017

Seeing the sights Barkley Travel Service has been in business since 1981 BY DENNIS SEID



NEW ALBANY – For nearly 40 years, Barkley Travel Service has been taking Northeast Mississippians – and whoever else wanted to go – across the U.S., Canada and even Europe. But the business had quite humble beginnings. “It all started with parents,” said Camille Barkley, “My father was a safety director for Merchants truck line and my mother was was the the choir director and organist for our church. She took the youth choir on trips and planned them all.” Camille’s mother, Julia, was asked by her uncle to plan a trip to Opryland in Nashville. He would pay for the gas for the vans if Julia and her husband, Jimmy, would take some of the older adults to Opryland as well. “They decided they would do that, and offered the trip,” Camille said. “They thought they would get one van; they took

ADDRESS: 141 W. Bankhead St., New Albany PHONE: (662) 534-5203 ONLINE:

3.6 percent in 2015 to 1.7 billion person-trips, accounting for more than 72 percent of all U.S. domestic travel that year.



Camille Barkley operates the travel company Barkley Travel Service that her parents started in 1981. three van loads of people instead. “My father looked at my

mother and said, ‘there’s a business here. There’s a need here, because no-

body else is doing this around here that offered tours.” And as the old saying goes, the rest is history. New England in the fall is the most popular destination for travelers, along with Savannah, South Carolina and the Florida Keys. Each year, Barkley Travel finds other places to go as well. This year, for example, Branson, the Shenandoah Valley and the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum are among the trips on the schedule. Barkley’s motor coaches travel across the U.S. and

Canada, but tour groups have also been taken to England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Switzerland, Germany and Austria. “We offer different trips each year because we do have some repeat customers and they don’t want to go to the same places every year,” Camille said. According to the U.S Travel Association, business in booming. The most recent figures available show that U.S. domestic travel increased 3.3 percent from 2014 to 2015 to a total of nearly 2.2 billion person-trips. Domestic leisure travel increased

Camille got her start in the family business after graduating from college. “My parents went on a trip and they needed somebody to answer the phone,” she said with a laugh. “They were running the business out of their house, and had just gotten the building and were moving into it. So they left me with it to move down here. I’ve stayed in the business ever since.” Camille doesn’t make all the trips her travel agency takes each year, but manages to go on two or three of them. Her sisters, Lynn McAlilly and Donna Roberts, also escort trips. Visiting New England during the fall is one of Camille’s favorite trips. “We stay in an old inn, built in the 1800s, and it doesn’t have phones or TVs in the room,” she said with a smile. “It’s like your roughing it – but there is indoor plumbing. “I also love Myrtle Beach; Washington, D.C. and Williamsburg.” Thirty years in the travel industry have brought TURN TO BARKLEY, P. 8


MARCH 2017

Signs FROM P. 5

can change to practically any color. “It’s not a theatrical light show, but it is intended to be changed out,” McCoy said. “We have an entire color wheel we can do with the LEDs ... for Christmas we can go with red and green filters, for example. It gives us some flexibility to draw attention to the signs.” A sixth gateway sign at South Gloster and Highway 6 remains to be built while right-away issues are being worked out and easements obtained. McCoy expects a resolu-


ourism and travel contributes more than $1 billion to the economy in the hill country of north Mississippi, according to the 2016 Economic Impact Report for Travel and Tourism in Mississippi. With the state’s Bicentennial year upon us, we are more excited than ever about the treasures of our northern region. As one of five distinct regions in the state, north Mississippi’s unique culture, rooted in the native literature, history and music, contributes to the rich fabric of the state. From the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum in Tupelo to William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak in Oxford to shopping in DeSoto County, the northern region attracts a diverse group of visitors from inside and outside the state. For the sporting set, outdoor recreation in the Appalachian foothills of Tishomingo County-as

tion soon, with construction of the sign finished sometime this month. Signs featuring maps also help pedestrians navigate the downtown area. The signs have a common design theme, meant to help better guide visitors from start to finish. “We talk about the advertising and the website, and the next point of connection with a visitor is the arrival and destination,” McCoy said. “So now the logo and the branding are consistent, from the time they research about their visit here and the time they arrive, it’s a consistent branding.” The primary gateways send the message, “You

have arrived,” McCoy said. The smaller “trailblazer signs” serve as navigation beacons of sorts. “Let’s be honest – when people travel to places they haven’t been before, they’ll probably have their handheld devices to help them navigate. But the signs reassure them that they’re headed in the right direction. And, the other thing is that it brings awareness that there are other things to do, with less sign clutter and a consistent look. A lot of the signs that were up before weren’t consistent in their look.” In all, some 240 different sign panels will be produced and installed on 80

different poles across the city. Many poles will feature multiple sign panels. The signs also are, or will be, color-coded, to meet the CVB’s brand design standard. The font used on the signs is consistent with universal traffic sign design standards as well. “There’s a rhyme and reason for what we did, but we do have to meet industry standards,” McCoy said. Some of the signs, he noted, aren’t necessarily going to look like the do now. A punch list will be made in the next week or so that CVB staff can review them with the sign company to ensure their proper placement.

7 “There’s still work to be done,” he said. “There are signs that are leaning, that in the name of progress, they had to get up. There are sign poles that are 14feet tall and have only one panel on them. Those will be adjusted down. It’s one of those things where you have a construction project, and there’s going to be a punch list that you’ll go over. Have no fear – it’s not a done deal. “I think we’ve accomplished what we’ve intended to do. We’ve let people know they’ve arrived to their destination, we’ve helped them get where they’re going safely and we’ve made them aware of other things to do

in the community. And we’re getting rid of sign clutter.” The signs were made and will be installed by Knight Sign Industries, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the low bidder on the project. Total costs should come in a little under $400,000, with CVB paying these costs. The CVB receives its funding through a 2 percent tax on local hotels and restaurants. The CVB receives oversight from a seven-member b o a rd consisting of members of the hotel and restaurant industry, as well as an appointment from the Community Development Foundation and the mayor’s office.

Celebrating Mississippi’s bicentennial well as annual sports tournaments and game days at Ole Miss-add to the possibilities and the tax base. The neighboring Tunica gaming market provides a way to have fun and relax. These attractions and more make the northern region of Mississippi a destination unto itself. Mississippi’s 200th birthday gives us another opportunity to invite our neighbors and the world to share in our abundance of culture. Mississippi Development Authority’s Visit Mississippi is working with groups around the state to promote these opportunities. Through a partnership between the Mississippi Humanities Council and Visit Mississippi, the state is contributing grants of up to $10,000 for individual public programs celebrating the state’s historic year. The Bicentennial Year Grants Program aims to inspire and empower local organizations

throughout the state to develop public programs d o c u craig ray menting, interpreting and exploring community culture. Through the grants program, the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council in Oxford will present “Mississippi Visions: Works by Contemp o ra r y Mi s s i s s i p p i Artists,” a month-long art exhibit in June with hands-on workshops to teach the public about the artistic process. From April through September, “Women of Mississippi on Film” by the Oxford Film Festival will feature six monthly programs featuring a Mississippi-related film followed by a panel discussion about their depictions of women. In Booneville, the Prentiss County Historical and Genealogical Society will celebrate the Bicentennial by recognizing historical

personalities who played a role in developing Mississippi and the city of Booneville. Locations throughout the town will display wood cut-outs of these figures during local Heritage and Fall Festival days. In addition, Boys and Girls Club members will perform plays about the personalities. In a state known for storytellers, Oxford is a literary capital. On June 24, the land of William Faulkner will host the Missis-

sippi Bi c e n t e n n i a l Celebration North at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, located on the University of Mississippi campus. A lineup of Mississippi troubadours and legendary songwriters will dig deep into their catalogs and heritage to lead a celebration in song honoring their home state. Any Mississippians interested in joining the celebration can apply for a grant at mshumanities.

com/grants/grant-information/. Applications will be accepted on a monthly basis through Nov. 1, 2017, or until all grant funds are expended. I encourage you to go to to learn about events taking place in communities around the state. Now is a great time to explore Mississippi. CRAIG RAY is director of tourism for Visit Mississippi, a division of the Mississippi




Getting help from a financial professional

re you suddenly on your own or forced to assume greater responsibility for your financial future? Unsure about whether you’re on the right track with your savings and investments? Finding yourself with new responsibilities, such as the care of a child or an aging parent? Facing other life events, such as marriage, divorce, the sale of a family business or a career change? Too busy to become a financial expert but needing to make sure your assets are being managed appropriately? Or maybe you simply feel your assets could be invested or protected better than they are now. These are only some of the many circumstances that prompt people to contact someone who can help them address their financial questions and issues. Why work with a financial professional: • A financial professional can apply his or her skills to your specific needs. Just as important, you have someone who can answer questions about things you may find confusing or unclear. When the financial markets go through a downturn, having someone you can turn to may help you make sense of it all. • If you don’t feel confident about your knowledge of investing or specific financial products and services, having someone who monitors the financial markets everyday can be helpful. • Even if you have the knowledge and ability to manage your own finances, the financial world grows

more intricate every day as new products and services are CHRIS COLE introduced. Also, legislative changes can have a substantial impact on your investment and tax planning strategy. A professional can monitor such developments on an ongoing basis and assess how they might affect your portfolio. • A financial professional may be able to help you see the big picture and make sure the various aspects of your financial life are integrated in a way that makes sense for you. That can be especially important if you own your own business or have complex tax issues. When should you consult a professional? While the reasons and events can be far ranging, some of the most common reasons to seek out financial advice would be: • Marriage, divorce, or the death of a spouse • Having a baby or adopting a child • Planning for a child’s or grandchild’s college education • Buying or selling a family business • Changing jobs or careers • Planning your retirement • Developing an estate plan • Receiving an inheritance or financial windfall Make the most of a professional’s expertise You will need to know how a financial professional is compensated for

his or her services. Some receive a fee based on an hourly rate or on a percentage of the portfolio’s assets. Some receive fees from transactions in the account. Others may receive a combination of the two or even a salary. Don’t be reluctant to ask about how the financial professional how they are compensated. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you do not understand what is being presented to you.Most financial professionals want you to understand not just what is being proposed, but why it is best for your personal situation. Don’t let yourself be pressured into making a financial decision you are not comfortable with. This is your money, and you have the right to take whatever time your need. Be clear with the financial professional what you are trying to accomplish and what time horizon you are concentrating on. It is vital that you try and be as specific as you can be. Make sure you are comfortable working with the financial professional as you will be discussing many personal situations. Lay out your expectations and requirements. The financial world today is as vast as the sky itself. Getting help from a financial professional is similar to hiring a seasoned pilot to fly your plane. Just remember when you do, let the financial professional know where you want to go, and when you want to get there. CHRIS COLE is a Chartered Wealth Advisor and vice president of Hilliard Lyons in Tupelo.

MARCH 2017

Tanglefoot FROM P. 3

legal nightmare to deal with the properties when the leases went up. The bike trails became a successful way to put these abandoned pieces of land to good use.”


Kelley and Johnson believe the trailhead’s impact on the surrounding communities has been positive. The city of Houston passed a tourism tax last year as a result of the traffic from the trail. According to Johnson, the trail “has been a great addition to the New Albany brand.” “People can stop and visit the downtown shops and restaurants, and the Trailhead Plaza has become a focal point in New Albany for music and other events,” he said. “There is also a disc golf course and a brand new outdoor amphitheater that were built due to the trail.” The trailhead begins in Houston and makes its way up to New Houlka, Algoma, Pontotoc, Ecru and Ingomar, ending in New Albany. Sponsorships of rest stops, rain stops, mile posts and other elements of the Tanglefoot Trail

Barkely FROM P. 6

many changes, for better or worse. Many Baby Boomers, for example, are used to traveling and going on their own, whereas their parents, who didn’t see as much of the world, rely more on travel agencies like Barkley’s. “We don’t have quite as


• April 1: Tanglefoot Tour de Life Bike Ride (Pontotoc) • April 2: Altis Endurance Marathon and Half Marathon (Houston) For more information, visit

continue to prove popular with businesses. Sponsorships are generally given on five-year contracts. Businesses can choose to pay the full contract price up front, or in annual installments. The total value of sponsorships since the trail’s opening is $377,000. However, that number isn’t the amount the trail receives per year because not every business chooses to pay the full amount.

Don Locke, trail manager of Tanglefoot, said that sponsorships are “critical to the funding of the trail.” “The money the trail receives annually, without sponsors, is $120,000,” Locke said. “Our budget is $200,000, and if you divide the total value of sponsorship contracts by five, we are coming up just under budget.” Many sponsors of the trail are businesses, like banks or bike shops, or individuals who have an interest in the trail or the

community. According to Locke, there are two types of sponsors: major and facility sponsors. Title, platinum and gold sponsors fall under the major category. The title sponsor gets its name next to Tanglefoot Trail, but there is only one title sponsor spot. Platinum and gold sponsors are what Locke calls “exclusive rights” sponsors, meaning there is room for one platinum and one gold sponsor per business. “Sponsors get their business name and town, and can choose to put their website and logo on what they pay for,” Locke said. “But the logo will be in the trail’s color scheme.” The facility sponsors cover the pavilions, bridges, stations, stops, 5K and 10K markers and mile posts that businesses or individuals can claim. Several sponsor spots are available in each category. Visit the trail’s website at for more information

many people on the charters as we used to,” Camille said. “When we first started, we had full busloads of people. It was the Depression-era people who hadn’t traveled but were looking to. This was an opportunity for them. Business is still good, but we don’t have quite the full busloads we used to have.” Trips also are shorter. The longer 14- and 21-

day trips have gone by the wayside, giving way to 3-, 4- or 5-day treks instead. “People just don’t have the time anymore to get away for that long,” she said. Barkley Travel Service also arranges tours for youth groups, churches, schools and any other group needing to charter buses for an event or destination.



MARCH 2017


You hear what you listen for


ne winter evening, two men left work in a busy city and joined the mob of people headed to the subway during rush hour. As they walked toward the station, one man stopped the other and said, “Do you hear that? It’s a bird singing.” “That’s impossible,” replied the co-worker. “It’s winter in the city. All the birds have flown south. Besides, it’s rush hour. Look at all the people. Listen to the traffic. You wouldn’t be able to hear a bird above this din if you tried.” The first man looked around, and sure enough, there was a robin on a telephone wire. The co-worker saw it and sarcastically said, “That’s great. Come on, or we’ll miss the next train.” As their pace quickened, the first man reached into his front pocket, pulled out a few coins

Mississippi FROM P. 4

contributions,” according to Mary Cates Williams, executive director of the Alliance,” said MHNHA Executive Director Mary Cates Williams. “The Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area has received strong ongoing financial support from the Mississippi State Legislature and MDA Tourism Division, as well as our dues-paying members.” During 2016, the Alliance launched its Community Grant Program, which offered four different grants – education, flash, small and large – ranging in amounts from $1,000 to $20,000. Applications were reviewed and

and pitched them into the crowd of people headed home from work. “Stop!” the co-worker said. “Someone has just dropped four quarters!” The first man grinned at his friend and said, “You hear what you listen for.” I can’t remember where I first read that story, but the message has always stayed with me. It reminds me of the challenge of finding customers because not all customers have the same goal. Where do you go to get information about a product you plan to buy or a service you plan to hire? How do you become aware of what you need? Who do you talk to before you make the step to call or meet a sales representative? Word-of-mouth is a form of advertising. A good testimonial

ranked by an independent review committee based on clearly-defined criteria, which are closely linked to goals and objectives outlined in the Management Plan. “With awards totaling more than $115,000, the first year of the Community Grant Program was highly successful,” Williams said. “We were pleased to be able to award grants to a variety of organizations throughout the heritage area, including the Chickasaw Inkana Foundation, Oxford-Lafayette County Heritage Foundation and North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic,” Williams said. “Grant funds supported a range of projects, such as the multi-county First Contact Historical

from a friend can be the highest rating a company can receive. The opposite can also be true. The difficulty is that TY ROBINSON two people given the same facts and experience can report it two different ways. Compare a trip you’ve taken with a friend. Do you both remember everything the same? Perception is a funny thing. While it is true “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” first impressions are not always accurate. I’ve watched people draw the wrong conclusions based on little information. And, I’ve done the same thing only to learn much later how wrong I was. Advertising and public relations are about informing the

Trail and the William Faulkner Literary Garden in New Albany.” Following the success of the first year of the Community Grant Program, the Alliance is continuing it in 2017. Although the submission deadline for flash, small and large grants has passed, applications for education grants can be submitted year-round. Awardees for the current year will be announced at a ceremony following the Alliance’s next quarterly board meeting, which will be held on March 21st at the Union County Heritage Museum in New Albany. Contact Alliance Executive Director Mary Cates Williams for further information at (662) 816-2272 or

Find out about all the buzz in the business world at

customer, potential customer or interested party. It’s about staying seen in the public eye. The experience that the customer has is the next step after being seen. Not all will accept the invitation to learn about the product or service. That’s why the message has to be placed where it has the maximum efficiency of finding potential customers. That location varies based on the interests of the customers. Salesmanship is a part of marketing too. How a salesperson interacts with a customer affects the sale and the good or bad referral. And, the title “sales representative” is not necessary to be a salesman. The person who answers the phone – whether it is a secretary, a maintenance worker or the owner of the company – immediately represents the company. That person’s actions dictate the perception of the

person calling in. If you happen to get the voicemail message on my mobile phone, I tried to make it warm and friendly. I’ve gotten several compliments on it. I’ve been kidded about it, too. Different people have different perceptions. I’m not saying their perceptions are wrong, I’m just saying their perceptions are different. Facts determine whether something is correct; opinions always vary. I try to keep an open mind. I’m looking for a longer relationship than a first impression, and I’m willing to invest the time to establish that relationship. My hope is that I can hear the bird sing in rush hour traffic. TY ROBINSON is president and COO of Robinson and Associates, a Tupelo-based marketing, advertising and public relations agency.



MARCH 2017


MARCH 2017



BeYoutiful Salon by P’Johns

Forklift held a ribbon cutting in celebration of its grand opening at 1103 W Jackson St. in Tupelo. Offering a menu of innovative, simplistic and flavorful Southern food using local, sustainable products, Forklift is open for lunch, dinner and Saturday brunch. Visit Forklift on Facebook or call (662) 510-7001 for more information.

BeYoutiful Salon by P’Johns recently held a ribbon cutting at its 1409 Cliff Gookin Blvd. location in Tupelo. BeYoutiful Salon promotes healthy hair, which includes beautiful texture and hair growth in a friendly, welcoming atmosphere, while encouraging confidence in the lives of its clients. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact (662) 266-2688 or visit BeYoutiful Salon on Facebook.


AMBASSADOR OF THE MONTH JESSICA HOLLINGER Jessica Hollinger, Hilton Garden Inn Sales Manager was awarded CDF's January Ambassador of the Month. Serving her first term as Ambassador, Jessica attended three ribbon cuttings and events and contacted 15 CDF members through the member-to-mentor program.


CDF REACH campaign in full swing Last year, Community Development Foundation (CDF) embarked on its first total resource campaign, REACH, a 10-week sponsorship drive supporting all Chamber programs and events for the coming year. Lead by campaign Chairman Jack Reed Jr. and an incredible team of over 70 volunteers, REACH offered new, cost-effective marketing opportunities for all CDF members. Because of REACH, CDF members have seen improvements in quality, quantity, and diversity of Chamber programs—many breaking attendance records including the Taste of Tupelo, Fall Classic and Industrial Clay Shoot. Last month, REACH kicked off again for the 2017-2018 year offering over 200 opportunities to expand your brand—reach the entire membership or target niche audiences of educators, small business owners, elected officials, CEOs and others. This ten-week campaign is the only time sponsorship opportunities will be available. The REACH campaign closes April 12. For more information about REACH or to find the right sponsorship opportunities for your business, please e-mail zhereford@ or call (662) 842-4521.


MARCH 2017

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MARCH 2017

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MARCH 2017

Profile for Journal Inc

Business Journal 20170301  

Business Journal 20170301