2012 | livability.


eaSt MiSSiSSippi

SenSe of hiStory
Preservation lends charm to Meridian living

rooted in Success
Businesses achieve positive results
SponSored by the eaSt MiSSiSSippi buSineSS developMent Corporation

2012 edition | voluMe 3

eaSt MiSSiSSippi
co nte nt s F e atu r e s
8 SenSe of hiStory
Preservation lends charm to living in Meridian


feStivalS With benefitS
Fun annual events help fund local causes

16 rooted in SuCCeSS
Location helps businesses achieve positive results

d e Pa r tm e nt s
4 almanac 18 biz briefs 20 Chamber report 21 economic profile 22 local flavor 25 health & Wellness 26 arts & Culture 28 Sports & recreation 30 education 33 Community profile

on the Cover A 1906 home in Meridian’s Poplar Springs historic district Photo by Jeff Adkins
All or part of this magazine is printed with soy ink on recycled paper containing 10% post-consumer waste.


Please recycle this magazine

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What’s online livability.com/meridian/ms
See more great photos of East Mississippi in our online photo galleries.
2012 | livability.CoM/Meridian/MS

eaSt MiSSiSSippi

SenSe of hiStory
Preservation lends charm to Meridian living

rooted in Success
Businesses achieve positive results
SponSored by the eaSt MiSSiSSippi buSineSS developMent Corporation

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Content direCtor LiSA bAttLeS proofreading Manager RAven Petty Content CoordinatorS kARen SchwARtzMAn, JeSSicA wALkeR Staff Writer kevin Litwin Contributing WriterS bARbARA biehLeR, Joe MoRRiS, JeSSicA Mozo Senior graphiC deSignerS LAuRA GALLAGheR, JAnine MARyLAnd, kRiS Sexton, JAke ShoReS, vikki wiLLiAMS graphiC deSignerS RAchAeL GeRRinGeR, eRicA LAMPLey, tAyLoR nunLey, kAcey PASSMoRe Senior photographerS JeFF AdkinS, bRiAn MccoRd Staff photographer todd bennett Color iMaging teChniCian ALiSon hunteR integrated Media Manager JARed LAne ad produCtion Manager kAtie MiddendoRF ad traffiC aSSiStantS kRyStin LeMMon, PAtRiciA MoiSAn ChairMan GReG thuRMAn preSident/publiSher bob SchwARtzMAn exeCutive viCe preSident RAy LAnGen Senior v.p./SaleS todd PotteR Senior v.p./operationS cASey heSteR Senior v.p./Client developMent JeFF heeFneR Senior v.p./buSineSS developMent Scott teMPLeton Senior v.p./agribuSineSS publiShing kiM hoLMbeRG v.p./buSineSS developMent cLAy PeRRy v.p./external CoMMuniCationS teRee cARutheRS v.p./viSual Content MARk FoReSteR v.p./Content operationS nAtAShA LoRenS v.p./travel publiShing SuSAn chAPPeLL v.p./SaleS RhondA GRAhAM, heRb hARPeR, JARek SwekoSky Controller chRiS dudLey Senior aCCountant LiSA owenS aCCountS payable Coordinator MARiA McFARLAnd aCCountS reCeivable Coordinator diAnA GuzMAn SaleS Support Coordinator ALex MARkS SaleS Support projeCt Manager SARA quint SySteM adMiniStrator dAnieL cAntReLL Web Creative direCtor ALLiSon dAviS Web Content Manager John hood Web projeCt Manager noy FonGnALy Web deSigner ii RichARd StevenS Web developMent lead yAMeL hALL Web developer i neLS noSewoRthy photography direCtor JeFFRey S. otto Creative ServiCeS direCtor chRiStinA cARden Creative teChnology analySt beccA ARy audienCe developMent direCtor deAnnA neLSon neW Media aSSiStant ALySSA dicicco diStribution direCtor GARy SMith exeCutive SeCretary kRiSty duncAn huMan reSourCeS Manager PeGGy bLAke reCeptioniSt LindA biShoP

Images East Mississippi is published annually by Journal communications inc. and is distributed through the east Mississippi business development corporation and its member businesses. For advertising information or to direct questions or comments about the magazine, contact Journal communications inc. at (615) 771-0080 or by email at info@jnlcom.com. for More inforMation, ContaCt: east Mississippi business development corporation 1901 Front Street, Suite A, Meridian, MS 39301 Phone: (601) 693-1306 • Fax: (601) 693-5638 www.embdc.org viSit Images east mIssIssIppI online at livability.CoM/Meridian/MS ©copyright 2012 Journal communications inc., 725 cool Springs blvd., Suite 400, Franklin, tn 37067, (615) 771-0080. All rights reserved. no portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent. Member the Association of Magazine Media Member custom content council

Member east Mississippi business development corporation

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Welcome to East Mississippi
An introduction to the AreA’s PeoPle, PlAces And events

timeless theater, Modern Productions
today an event space for special events, movie screenings, live shows and the Sucarnochee Revue music radio program, the temple theater has roots dating to the 1920s. that’s when the Meridian chapter of the hamasa Shrine had the theater’s building constructed after outgrowing a previous space. construction on the theater finished in 1928, with a stage that was the second-largest in the nation behind the Roxy theater in new york. Although the theater has added some features, like a Robert Morton theater Pipe organ, it remains mostly in its original condition down to authentic Moorish Revival exterior styling and byzantine interior.

Meridian’s dentzel carousel, the only two-row stationary menagerie in existence, is enclosed within the only remaining carousel house built from a Gustav dentzel blueprint. dentzel was a German immigrant to America who came from a family of carousel makers. in 1896, he built this carousel for the 1904 St. Louis exposition. eventually sold and moved to Meridian in 1909, the carousel features bright oil paintings and hand-carved animals and chariots. it’s a national historic Landmark and the only dentzel carousel in the South on the national Register of historic Places. worth more than $1 million, the attraction was restored between 1984 and 1995.

Military Might
Meridian is home to naval Air Station Meridian and the key Field Air national Guard base. nAS Meridan includes training Air wing one, training Squadrons 7 and 9, the naval technical training center, Marine Aviation training Support Squadron one and the Regional counterdrug training Academy. nAS Meridian employs about 3,000 people and prepares soldiers for military combat and drug interdiction operations. key Field, located at the Meridian Regional Airport, houses the 186th Air Refueling wing, a command that refuels aircraft in mid-flight, and the 185th Army Aviation Support Facility, which operates ch-47 chinook helicopters.


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tracks to Prosperity
Meridian has a long history with railroads, starting in 1860 with its establishment at the intersection of the Mobile & ohio Railroad and the Southern Railway of Mississippi. during the civil war, General Sherman and his troops burned the town during the battle of Meridian, but residents rebuilt. the original union Station was built in 1907, and while parts of it were demolished, the east wing was developed to house Meridian’s economic development agency. the rest of the station now includes the Meridian Multi-Modal transportation center, and a former Railway express Agency building features the Meridian Railroad Museum.

Spreading education Around the State
besides its main Starkville location, Mississippi State university has operated a 26-acre satellite campus in Meridian since 1972 and now serves more than 700 students enrolled in its part-time and full-time class schedules. the curriculum for undergraduate and graduate programs includes courses in the fields of education, business, social services, the humanities and health care. this campus features the Riley center for education and Performing Arts, and business students enjoy new accommodations in downtown Meridian at the newberry building, which underwent a $6 million renovation. nursing students will soon receive new accommodations as well, following a $5.5 million renovation at the kress building.

A Shower of Stars
Jimmie Rodgers. david Ruffin. hayley williams. Steve Forbert. Sela ward. diane Ladd. All stars in music and film, and all from Meridian. Rodgers, the Father of country Music, is recognized with the Jimmie Rodgers Memorial Museum, the Jimmie Rodgers Festival and a Mississippi blues trail Marker. Ruffin, a singer and musician, is best known as one of the lead singers of the temptations, while singer/songwriter williams gained fame as a singer for the band Paramore. Singer/songwriter Forbert is known for his song Romeo’s tune. Ladd has performed in movies such as Ghosts of Mississippi, while ward, who has appeared in tv shows and movies including The Day After Tomorrow and House, co-founded hope village, which serves local foster children.

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Floor Maintenance Equipment




1212 Grand Ave. • Meridian, MS • (601) 693-1783 • (800) 844-8894


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historic Airport, new Look
Meridian Regional Airport’s recent renovations have given the historic airport a modern look. updates to the airport include a new canopy for the façade, glass walls, a higher ceiling for the back, new carpeting, tiles and columns for the entrance, and larger seating space. the airport operates as a joint civilian and military facility and incorporates key Field, named for natives and brothers Fred and Al key. in 1935, the key brothers teamed with local inventor A. d. hunter to break the existing flight endurance record. hunter’s device that enabled them to refuel in mid-air is still used today, with minor modifications. Meridian Regional Airport also is attractive to businesses looking to relocate, as it is listed as a Project Ready certified Site by Mccallum Sweeney consulting.

Fast Facts
n Meridian elected its first female mayor in 2009 when voters chose cheri Barry to lead the city. n Weidmann’s restaurant has been a downtown landmark since 1870. n Meridian has several significant historic structures including Merrehope, an antebellum home, and the F.W. Williams home, a victorian structure. Both are open to the public. n A portion of 49th Avenue is named for Meridian native and slain civil rights worker James chaney. n Bonita lakes, with its two large lakes and 3,300 acres of land, is the largest urban forest in the u.s. n country singer Moe Bandy is a Meridian native recognized in 2012 with a marker here along the Mississippi country Music trail.

east mississippi at a glance
population (2010 eStiMate) Meridian: 41,148 Lauderdale county: 80,261 loCation Lauderdale county is located in the north central hills region of Mississippi, on the border of Alabama. Meridian is the county seat and principal city. interstates 20 and 59 join together to pass through the county. beginningS Meridian’s history is tied to the railroad industry. the city was established in 1860 at the intersection of the Mobile and ohio Railroad and Southern Railway of Mississippi. the city suffered heavy damage during the civil war, but rebuilt itself into the largest city in the state by 1890. Meridian’s nickname is the queen city. for More inforMation east Mississippi business development corporation 1901 Front St., Suite A Meridian, MS 39301 Phone: (601) 693-1306 Fax: (601) 693-5638 www.embdc.org

East Mississippi






What’s online
Take a virtual tour of East Mississippi, courtesy of our award-winning photographers, at livability.com/meridian/ms.


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Karen and Sonny rush’s home was built in 1906 in Meridian’s poplar Springs historic district.


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hiStoriC doWntoWn, neighborhoodS lend CharM to Meridian living

StoRy by joe MorriS PhotoGRAPhy by jeff adKinS

ost cities are proud of their historic district. In Meridian, that’s true as well – times nine. The city has nine historic districts which encompass beautiful residential areas as well as a thriving downtown, making it a paradise for architecture buffs and Southern history lovers. No matter which way you turn, it’s easy to see how Meridian has seamlessly integrated its storied past with its bustling present. “There has been a huge surge of support in the past 10 years or so, driven by the turnover of many of the historic homes and properties to a new generation of mostly younger families and lovers of historic properties. We also note an increase in retirees who move here expressly for the historic homes and the neighborhoods,” says James Harwell, a commercial real estate broker. Those efforts have spilled over into the downtown area, where preservation has been demonstrably good for business, adds John McClure, executive director of Meridian Main Street.
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“The advantage of the historic district is multifaceted,” McClure says. “We’ve got plenty to work with. We can bring in new businesses that will restore these properties in order to receive federal and state historic investment tax credits. We also have a downtown tax abatement program for city and county taxes, and that helps businesses that come here. “On the tourism side, we hope to continue to connect the downtown to the older neighborhoods and bring in people specifically to see what we have done.” All of these efforts have paid off. Meridian has earned many state and regional honors for its preservation work including the first Mississippi Scenic Destination designation from the Mississippi Urban Forest Council. The city also has been tapped by This Old House magazine as one of the nation’s 10 best spots to buy a historic home. And, in addition to the Downtown district, five neighborhoods have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Meridian’s historic districts The city’s East End neighborhood displays Meridian’s “Golden Age” with Queen Anne and Colonial Revival cottages, which date to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, while the West End area showcases the progress the city made as it rebuilt from the Civil War. The districts of Urban Center and Union Station have been combined to form the more comprehensive Downtown district, which features urban architecture ranging from Italianate row buildings to an artdeco skyscraper. It also contains Union Station as well as the Terminal Hotel, General Supply Co. and the Soule’ Steam Feed complex. Located north of downtown, Poplar Springs is an area that grew between 1900 and the 1920s, and is known for its hundreds of shade trees. The Mid-Town district was built by the wealthy and professional class, and it boomed along with Meridian’s railroad economy, while the Merrehope area began before the Civil War and grew for almost a century as the city

expanded northward. Spanning four blocks, the Depot district showcases Meridian’s railroad history through both residential and commercial architecture. The Highlands district, known as Missouri Ridge during the Civil War, owes its growth to the city’s streetcar system, and Highland Park came about in 1889 at the Meridian Fair and Livestock Exposition. All these and more deserve the attention they’re getting for many reasons, notes Harwell. “It is incumbent upon us to preserve, not only individual homes, but also the neighborhoods where those homes are clustered and kept as a collection,” Harwell says. “As we act in ways to promote historic preservation today, we’ll be glad we did tomorrow.”

What’s online
For more stories on the people, places and events that define East Mississippi, visit livability.com/meridian/ms.

top left: A historical downtown home now houses law offices. bottom left: Poplar springs historic district above: the Balcony Bar at Weidmann’s restaurant in downtown Meridian

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eAst MississiPPi

Photo couRteSy oF JeSSicA weiMeR

festivals benefits
fun annual eventS help fund loCal CauSeS
StoRy by Kevin litWin


n Meridian, there’s always cause for celebration, and there’s usually a good cause that benefits from the celebration, too. One key mission for the Young Professionals of Meridian is to become more involved in charitable efforts that give back to the community, and in this city with a rich musical heritage, what came next should be no surprise. In 2011, YPM decided to organize a 59Twenty Music Festival at Singing Brakeman Park, with proceeds going to Care Lodge Domestic Violence Shelter, scheduling the event for October to coincide with Domestic Violence Awareness Month. “The Young Professionals ended up donating more than $3,000 to

us from that concert, which is vital because the state mandates that 25 percent of our total annual budget must come from financial support in the community we serve,” says Leslie Payne, executive director of Care Lodge Domestic Violence Shelter. “For those young people to specifically choose Care Lodge was so important to us, and much appreciated.” lightnin’ Malcolm The 59Twenty concert is one of several annual festivals that occur in Meridian and Lauderdale County to raise money for good causes. The inaugural 2011 concert, named for Interstates 59 and 20 that pass through Meridian, was staged for 13 hours and featured musical acts such as Lightnin’

Malcolm, Wes Lee, North Mississippi Allstars and Cheryl LuQuire. “Care Lodge has been part of this community since 1981, serving a nine-county area and helping 400-500 clients a year,” Payne says. “Our services include a safe shelter, case management, counseling, court advocacy, children’s programs, transitional housing, and information on domestic abuse protective orders. We always need money, and will remember Young Professionals of Meridian for what they did for us.” jimmie rodgers and threefoot A longer established festival in Meridian, the Jimmie Rodgers Memorial Festival, features 10 days of music each May with proceeds

left: cheryl luQuire performs at the 59twenty Music Festival at singing Brakeman Park in Meridian.

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PhotoS couRteSy oF JeSSicA weiMeR

going to the Jimmie Rodgers Foundation, which is devoted to preserving the heritage of country music. Artists who have performed during the 50 years of the festival include Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Tanya Tucker and Charley Pride. The musical extravaganza pays tribute to Rodgers, a Meridian native who was born in 1897 and is considered The Father of Country Music. Also happening in Meridian on an annual basis each April is the Threefoot Festival, with its proceeds going to programs backed by the Meridian Council of the Arts. Threefoot is a one-day juried arts event named after the historic Threefoot Building, a 16-story art-deco skyscraper in downtown Meridian. “Proceeds from this festival are used by the Council to provide grants in support of several artistic endeavors in the area including school programs, Meridian Little Theatre, Meridian Museum of Art and more,” says Casey Null, Meridian Council of the Arts executive director. “The festival takes place in downtown Meridian on the lawn of city hall, with art booths, vendors, entertainment and children’s crafts activities.” Null says nearly $170,000 in matching grants has been contributed by the Council to arts-related organizations since 1992. “We are all about keeping the arts alive in Meridian, Lauderdale County and East Mississippi, by helping organizations bring more events into the community,” she says. “The Council is always looking to extend the reach of arts into even more segments of our population.”

all photos: the 59twenty Music Festival is packed with familyfriendly activities and live music.

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buSineSS SuCCeSS StorieS are prevalent in eaSt MiSSiSSippi
StoRy by jeSSiCa Mozo | PhotoGRAPhy by jeff adKinS

rooted in

ith proximity to most major Southern cities, a skilled workforce, ease of transportation and a family-friendly atmosphere, business people agree Meridian is the total package for operating a successful business. handy hardware Wholesale Houston-based Handy Hardware Wholesale truly is a Meridian success story. The member-owned hardware buying group opened a 468,000-square-foot distribution facility in Meridian in December 2010 with 40 employees shipping to 300 member-dealers. Today, the Meridian warehouse employs nearly 100 people and ships to 400 member-dealers. “Over the past several years, Handy Hardware’s business has grown significantly in the South and Southeast, and it became apparent the company needed
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another distribution center east of the Mississippi River,” says Ed Frey, manager of Handy Hardware’s Meridian warehouse. “From a logistics standpoint, Meridian is strategically located to provide Handy Hardware and its member-dealers efficient transportation and service. The highway structure out of Meridian allows service throughout Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas. That allows the Handy member-dealers to be served in a more timely manner and also provides the opportunity for the company to decrease transportation costs and grow into new areas.” Frey and his family relocated to Meridian in 2004 from Columbus, Miss. “East Mississippi is a very attractive area, and the people are friendly and hospitable,” he says. “This is a great area with opportunity for growth in distribution and

left: handy hardware Wholesale’s distribution facility in Meridian covers 468,000 square feet. above: employees stock inventory using automated tracking systems and forklifts at handy hardware Wholesale’s distribution facility.

manufacturing. Handy Hardware would like to see its operations in Meridian nearly double in the next five years.” van zyverden inc. Van Zyverden Inc. is another Meridian business that is blooming, and in more ways than one. It began as a family flower bulb business in 1919 in the Netherlands, and the Van Zyverden family opened a U.S. warehouse in Meridian in 1961 after noticing a great demand for flower bulbs in the Southeastern U.S. Today, the company’s 475,000-square-foot headquarters are located here, and Van Zyverden ships more than 400 million bulbs annually to all 50 states and Canada. Van Zyverden employs more than 480 people and has an economic impact on the East Mississippi region in the millions of dollars. Yet it remains a family business with strong values run by brother and sister Robert Van Zyverden and Jaqueline Van Zyverden Hogan, great-grandchildren of the company’s founder. “Van Zyverden is known to be a great company to work for and one that has great benefits,” says Michael Knost, chief

financial officer at Van Zyverden Inc. “It has a very family-friendly culture, and the owners are very supportive of local community projects including the Riley Center, Art in the Park and Mississippi State.” Knost says he enjoys living and working in Meridian for its “community atmosphere, great road system and no traffic.” “In comparison to other large cities in the South, Meridian has a low crime rate,” he says. “The availability of family activities is also a plus.” In addition to Van Zyverden’s convenient location and quality workforce, Knost cites easy access to specialized equipment as a factor in the company’s success. “The nature of our product requires a lot of it to be shipped on refrigerated trucks,” he says. “Since we share the same type of trucking as the poultry industry in our area, we benefit from the easy availability of this specialized equipment.” It all adds up to a great atmosphere for growth. “In the last year alone, we have added additional office space and a 55,000square-foot warehouse,” Knost says.

location is everything
Meridian’s brand “A Better Longitude on Life” was adopted by the City of Meridian, Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors, Lauderdale County Tourism Commission, and the EMBDC to communicate the strategic advantages of being located at 88 degrees longitude. Lauderdale County’s location at the interchange of Interstates 20 and 59 and the crossroads of the Norfolk Southern and Kansas City Southern Railroads has placed Meridian in a competitive position as companies consider their logistical requirements for serving the Southeast.

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Biz Briefs
Businesses – Both lArge And sMAll – thAt helP deFine eAst MississiPPi’s econoMic cliMAte

buSineSS at a glanCe

$1 billion
annual retail Sales

retail Sales per Capita

$132 million
annual hotel and food Sales

total number of firms
source: U.s. Census QuickFacts

Southern CaSt produCtS inC. Biz: Steel casting producer Buzz: Southern Cast Products Inc. has been serving the East Mississippi area since 1979, offering a variety of castings including wearresistant parts that can be used in mining, crushing and earth moving, and castings for the valve, structural, conveying and railroad industries. Castings range from 5 pounds to 4,000 pounds and can be as many as 7 feet in length or diameter. www.southerncastproducts.com 18
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MitChell CoMpanieS Biz: Business management Buzz: Mitchell Companies serves as the owner of five businesses, all of which are based in Meridian, including Mitchell Distributing, Mitchell Signs, M-Prints, National Scrubwear and Southern LED Solutions. The company supports the Boys and Girls Club of East Mississippi through the Mitchell Boys and Girls Club Endowment, which has been in place for more than 10 years. www.mitchellcompanies.com Southern pipe & Supply Co. Biz: Pipe supplier Buzz: Headquartered in Meridian, Southern Pipe & Supply Co. provides plumbing, heating, air conditioning and other supplies to trade professionals and homeowners. This family-owned company operates more than 90 locations in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Arkansas, Florida and Tennessee, and works with vendors such as Kohler, Delta, Aqua Glass and Lennox. www.southernpipe.com neWell paper Co. Biz: Office/cleaning supply distributor Buzz: With its corporate office in Meridian, Newell Paper Co. supplies customers with office-related items including computer paper and furniture, and also offers products such as swimming pool chemicals, janitorial supplies and environmentally-friendly cleaning materials. The company works with suppliers such as Kimberly Clark, Georgia Pacific, Wasau Paper, International Paper Co. and Clorox. www.newellpaper.com hotel & reStaurant Supply Biz: Food service equipment Buzz: Hotel & Restaurant Supply has been serving restaurants, hotels, casinos, nursing homes, schools, churches and other businesses since 1953, providing items such as cooking equipment, kitchen supplies, catering materials, furniture and more. The company’s corporate office in Meridian comprises 100,000 square feet and includes a showroom, test kitchen, warehouse and office space. www.hnrsupply.com

With more than 300 years of combined pipeline construction experience, we are committed to providing our customers safe, quality services with the highest level of Integrity.

Services include: • New Construction • Rehabilitation • HDD • Compressor and Meter Stations • Inland Water Marine and Marsh

Corporate Office Phone (601) 693-8777 Corporate Office Fax (601) 693-8778 Corporate Office Location 12340 Quitman Meridian Hwy. Meridian, MS 39301

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chamber report
MeMBer-to-MeMBer discounts ProgrAM introduced
he east Mississippi business development corporation is urging residents to shop locally and has added a shopping incentive for its members. in summer 2012, the eMbdc established a Member-to-Member discounts program, whereby its 700 chamber members offer discounts for other members.


“our chamber is all about allowing members to get the most out of their membership, which very much includes growing their individual businesses,” says Meredith Rea, eMbdc public relations coordinator. “the more a member utilizes what we have to offer, the more they get from the chamber advantages.”

For members only
Rea says interested businesses submit their discount plan to the chamber, with the discounts being as large or small as the business wishes. “we have a basic set of guidelines, but the main point is that the discount must only be for other chamber members – it can’t be a promotion for the general public,” she says. “weekly emails are sent out to chamber businesses, with a list of all members who are running a discount special, and explanations about those specials.”

my chamber aPP
the discounts are also posted on the eMbdc’s website. “in addition, we have a free My chamber app for smartphones, where you can access all our eMbdc chamber members, their addresses, phone numbers, and also see a list of events occurring in and around Meridian,” Rea says. “Plus there is a hot deals button with all the discounts available.”

beFore hours, aFter hours
the Member-to-Member discounts initiative is an extension of marketing programs already in place within the chamber. “business before hours occurs on the second tuesday every other month, and brings the eMbdc membership together to hear speakers share ideas about workforce development to promote our community and the state,” she says. “business After hours is held every other month on the second thursday, and offers members an opportunity to tour local businesses and learn about their products and services.” – Kevin Litwin


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eConoMiC profile
eConoMiC overvieW
Meridian’s economy is boosted by diverse industries including manufacturing, retail, professional and technical services, and health care, to name a few.

White-collar Jobs

governMent offiCeS
lauderdale County government 410 constitution Ave. 11th Floor Meridian, MS 39301 (601) 482-9746 www.lauderdalecounty.org Meridian City hall 601 24th Ave. Meridian, MS 39302 (601) 485-1927 www.meridianms.org

Major eMployerS
Meridian naval Air station 3,000 employees rush hospital 2,800 employees east Mississippi state hospital 1,500 employees Meridian Public school district 1,050 employees Anderson regional Medical center 1,700 employees Peavey electronics 1,000 employees lauderdale county schools 958 employees city of Meridian 570 employees Air national guard 420 employees

Blue-collar Jobs

Air: Meridian regional airport 2811 Airport blvd. S. Meridian, MS 39307 (601) 482-0364 www.meridianairport.com Road: greyhound bus 1901 Front St. Meridian, MS 39301 interstates 20 and 59 u.S. highways 11, 45 and 80 Mississippi State highways 19, 39, 145 and 493 Rail:

eConoMiC reSourCeS
east Mississippi business development Corp. economic development/ chamber of commerce P.o. box 790 1901 Front St. Meridian, MS 39302 (601) 693-1306 www.embdc.org Mississippi economic development Council P.o. box 3721 Jackson, MS 39207 (601) 352-1909 www.medc.ms Sources: www.embdc.org Onboard Informatics


Per capita income

Average Annual household expenditure

Meridian amtrak Station 1901 Front St. Meridian, MS 39301 (601) 693-1663 www.amtrak.com



Associate degree


Bachelor’s degree


graduate degree
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Local Flavor

tasty temptations
eAst MississiPPi restAurAnts And MArkets FeAture A vAriety oF FlAvorFul Foods


reat food, inviting atmospheres and unique local flavors can be found in the restaurants and markets of Meridian and east Mississippi.

order the six-ounce tenderloin of beef or another of their fine dining specialties.

country Favorites
now located in a single, expanded location, Squealer’s bar-b-que is Meridian’s go-to restaurant for tasty barbecue. have the pulled pork, pulled chicken or brisket sandwich, or try the “redneck nachos” with your choice of smoked meat and other decadent toppings while you listen to live music on thursday night. circle S Ranch Fish house’s family-friendly menu includes a variety of seafood, meat and chicken selections, as well as sandwiches and homemade desserts. Available to members and their guests, briarwood country club serves a tasty Sunday brunch with favorites like fried green tomatoes, slow-cooked country vegetables and more.

local Favorites
weidmann’s, a Meridian favorite for more than 140 years, specializes in serving traditional Southern cuisine and new classics in a historic downtown setting. A wide variety of Southern favorites such as chicken and sausage gumbo, shrimp and grits, and blackened catfish poboys, as well as other tasty dishes are available for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch here. cater’s Market features specialty foods, organic products and a selection of “gourmet-to-go” casseroles like chicken divan, classic meat lasagna and shrimp étouffée.

prepare delicious steak, chicken or shrimp dishes and other hibachi-grilled fare. if you crave Mexican food, La Pinata serves classic Mexican favorites and tasty margaritas. el norte also serves traditional Mexican food including a wide variety of combination dinners, Mexican beers and even vegetarian specialties at each of its three locations.

Farmers market
when spring rolls around each year, shoppers will find fresh fruit and veggies from local farms on Front Street near union Station, where the Meridian Area Farmers Market opens up beginning in May and running through September. during these months, the market is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. to help plan before you go, check the market’s Facebook page for updates on what types of produce are available as the season progresses. – Barbara Biehler

Looking for a great steak? Rustler Steak house and Lounge serves high-quality steak and seafood dishes in an upscale atmosphere. ole beef Farm house offers an assortment of charcoalgrilled steaks, seafood, chicken and other family favorites. After a round of golf, relax in northwood country club’s members-only dining room and

international Food
nick & Al’s new york Style Pizzeria offers a large selection of hand-tossed pizzas, italian pastas, calzones and paninis. Featuring traditional Japanese cuisine in a casual setting, Sake Sushi provides its guests with a full sushi bar and experienced chefs who can

What’s online
Read more about East Mississippi’s food scene at livability.com/meridian/ms. Click “Things To Do,” then “Food.”


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above: customers will find “gourmet-to-go” meals and other treats like dessert squares at cater’s Market. below: Weidmann’s, located in downtown Meridian, offers traditional southern cuisine and new classics.

PhotoS by JeFF AdkinS

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A&B Electric www.abelectric.net Alliance Health Center www.alliancehealthcenter.com Mitchell Companies www.mitchellcompanies.com Newell Paper www.newellpaper.com Orkin Pest Control www.orkin.com Progressive Pipeline www.progpl.com Regions Bank www.regions.com Rush Foundation Hospital www.rushhealth.com Sequel Electrical Supply www.sequelelectricalsupply.com Squealers Hickory Smoked Barbeque www.squealersbbque.com The Citizens Bank www.thecitizensbankphila.com The University of West Alabama www.uwa.edu Waste Pro www.wasteprousa.com Woman’s Group of Meridian www.womansgroup.net

visit our

Obstetrics & Gynecology

Atmos Energy www.atmosenergy.com Community Bank www.communitybank.net Dr. Dan H. Singley DMD www.singleydr.com East Mississippi Community College www.eastms.edu East Mississippi Electric Power Association www.emepa.com

(Left to right) Heather Patchin, WHNP, Steve George, M.D., William Hamilton, D.O., John S. Harris, M.D., Nicole Powe, CNM and Paulette Hopkins, WHNP

Glover, Young, Walton & Simmons PLLC www.gloveryoung.com Holiday Inn Meridian East www.lalaenterprises.com Hotel & Restaurant Supply www.hnrsupply.com John O’Neil Johnson Toyota www.johnsontoyota.com Mac Hodges Allstate www.allstateagencies.com/ machodges/welcome

Complete Care for Women
1221 24th Ave. • Meridian, MS 39301 (601) 482-1002 www.WomansGroup.net


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health & wellness

Photo by JeFF AdkinS

Quality, convenient care
locAl hosPitAls oFFer residents outstAnding services
ast Mississippi offers excellent options for residents looking for progressive health-care treatment, with top-rated medical facilities around the region.


rush Foundation hosPital
Rush Foundation hospital is a 215-bed facility with first-rate patient care and cutting-edge health-care services. Five regional hospitals are part of the Rush Foundation system: the Specialty hospital of Meridian, Laird hospital in union, h. c. watkins Memorial hospital in quitman, John c. Stennis Memorial hospital in dekalb and Scott Regional hospital in Morton.

60-bed residential treatment facility focused on the needs of adolescents.

east mississiPPi state hosPital
east Mississippi State hospital, an agency of the Mississippi department of health, is the second-largest psychiatric hospital in the state, offering more than 600 beds. this contemporary mental health facility treats adult and adolescent male patients with psychiatric and substance abuse issues from 16 counties throughout the state. eMSh also includes the Reginald P. white nursing Facility, voted the no. 1 nursing home in the state by U.S. News & World Report. this 226-bed facility admits residents from across Mississippi. – Barbara Biehler
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anderson regional medical center
Ranked in the top 5 percent for patient safety and in the top 10 percent in patient experience among all u.S. hospitals by healthGrades, Anderson Regional Medical center features cardiac, oncology, sleep disorder, women’s health and wellness services, and houses the region’s sole comprehensive cancer center. Since acquiring the assets of Riley hospital in January 2011, Anderson Regional has expanded to a 400-bed multi-campus facility, making the medical center one of the largest in the region.

alliance health center
Serving patients with mental health or substance abuse issues, Alliance health center in Meridian is a 154-bed in-patient psychiatric and chemical dependency hospital offering care to people of all ages. the crossings, another Alliance campus, features a


Arts & culture

above: kate cherry, executive director of the Meridian Museum of Art, gives a museum tour. right: the Msu riley center for education and Performing Arts welcomes more than 60,000 guests annually.

enticing treasures
Arts And entertAinMent cAter to culture enthusiAsts
ast Mississippi’s culture is all-inclusive with theater, art, music and fun – all intertwined within the historic districts of the area.


PerForming arts
MSu Riley center for education and Performing Arts is the perfect place for any theater enthusiast. Since opening in 2006, the center attracts approximately 60,000 visitors a year. At the heart of it all, the second floor 1889 grand opera house seats 950 attendees. the center also has a 200-seat studio theater and 30,000 square feet of meeting space.

Meridian Little theatre is far from small in the hearts of Meridianites. this theater dates to 1932 and seats 400 people. this venue has grown to be the largest community theater in the state. with the help of nearly 1,000 volunteers, MLt is able to produce more than 50 performances a year. temple theater was built by the hamasa Shrine organization in the mid 1920s as a meeting hall and venue for traveling shows. it wasn’t until the theater was leased by the Saenger organization in 1927 that it gained popularity as a silent movie house complete with a Robert Morgan pipe organ.

today it remains a time capsule to the era’s architecture and design while serving as a performing arts and movie venue.

visual art
the Meridian Museum of Art is located in a former carnegie Library, which was built in 19121913. Artist groups meet at the museum monthly, and residents can visit to see the facility’s permanent collection and temporary exhibits, take classes and attend special events, including some expressly for museum members. Meridian council for the Arts helps support


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PhotoS by JeFF AdkinS

the arts scene through grants, workshops and other events. the threefoot Festival, sponsored by the council, celebrates arts in downtown Meridian where festivalgoers can browse or purchase from a diverse collection of art.

Meridian hosts a handful of other fun festivals besides its long-running threefoot Festival celebrating the arts. the Meridian Main Street organization presents seasonal art crawl events, luring people to galleries and other businesses downtown to view the works of local artists and enjoy live entertainment. the Juneteenth heritage Festival in downtown Meridian celebrates the emancipation Proclamation – the end of slavery in America – with food, vendors and music. the young Professionals of Meridian bring in bands from all over the country for the 59twenty Music Festival as a benefit event for care Lodge domestic violence Shelter. this day-long event is located at in he intersections of i-59 and i-20 in downtown. – Raven Petty

music & Family Fun
Meridian Symphony orchestra is dedicated to bringing musical art to residents, performing both classical and new compositions, as well as the seasonal Peppermint Pops concert. the Jimmie Rodgers Museum pays tribute to the life and career of “the Singing brakeman.” the building, located in highland Park, features musical instruments and steam engine railroad memorabilia. dentzel carousel is a kid’s choice for a fun ride. dating to 1896, this carousel was restored to bring the original beauty of the animals, chariots and painting for all to enjoy.

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Sports & Recreation

loving life outdoors
Activities & FAcilities give residents Plenty to do


ast Mississippi is beautiful on the outside and has plenty of recreation options to enjoy it.

great Parks
clarkco State Park – with white sands and tall oaks – is just south of Meridian. dunn’s Falls , a water park nestled along the chunky River, is popular for swimming. A highlight? its 65-foot waterfall that powers a nearby grist mill. People head to highland Park to visit the Jimmie Rodgers Museum, the dentzel Antique carousel, Frank cochran center and the kendallwood craft center. the park also has a swimming pool, duck pond, tennis courts, sports fields and a playground. velma young Park has a playground, baseball fields, basketball courts, swimming pool, a community center and picnic shelters, while northeast Park serves the sports enthusiast with its lighted softball and soccer fields, lighted tennis courts, and a walking and running track. Planet Playground is also at northeast Park, spanning 10,000 square feet.

on its four lighted fields and also has tennis courts, a walking/jogging track and playground. Sykes Park, home to the Meridian wildcats baseball team, has three fields and batting cages, while Phil hardin Park has four lighted baseball fields. Meanwhile, Meridian Jaycee Soccer complex has 10 fields and leagues for children ages 4 to 19.

trails, walking its track, mountain biking, fishing and boating. dalewood Shores Lake is a 3,300-acre subdivision with an 1,800-acre main lake and 10 smaller lakes ranging from two to 75 acres.

the club scene
Golfers will enjoy the area’s four courses. Private courses are briarwood country club and northwood country club, while Lakeview Golf course and Ponta creek Golf club are open to the public.

shooting sPorts
binachi Shooting Sports opened in spring 2011 as one part of the choctaw Area council-boy Scouts of America camp binachi long range plan. the facility is available for public and corporate use and features a 12-stand sporting clays course with shooting opportunities for all skill levels.

tennis, everyone?
tennis enthusiasts have several spots to serve and volley throughout east Mississippi. they include Meridian community college, northeast Park, northwood country club and Sammie davidson complex. – Raven Petty

just add Water
okatibbee Lake, measuring 4,100 acres, includes seven parks for visitors along with areas for camping and fishing, a marina, water slide and swimming beaches. Splashdown country water park is on 350 acres of that land, complete with inner-tube river rides and a water slide. bonita Lake, a 3,300-acre park situated on three lakes, welcomes guests for activities such as horseback riding, hiking nature

What’s online
Read more about getting out and active in East Mississippi by visiting livability.com/meridian/ms. Click “Things To Do,” then “Outdoors.”

have a ball
Sammie davidson Softball complex near Meridian community college often hosts tournaments

Clockwise from top left: Bonita lakes is a 3,300-acre park with three lakes. Players on the MFc elite soccer team practice at northeast Park in Meridian, which features lighted softball and soccer fields, lighted tennis courts, and a walking and running track. A golfer practices his swing at northwood country club.


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PhotoS by JeFF AdkinS

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smart approach
eAst MississiPPi residents select FroM MultiPle QuAlity choices
ast Mississippi schools provide quality across the full range of learning, from pre-kindergarten through select master’s degrees.


lauderdale county school district
Lauderdale county School district maintains high academic standards, managing four elementary schools, four middle schools and four high schools. one high school is in each of the following areas: clarkdale, northeast, Southeast and west Lauderdale.

meridian Public school district
Meridian Public School district has six elementary schools, three middle schools, a high school, a regional career and technical center and a unique Pre-k program that serves over 200 students in 11 classrooms. the schools incorporate culture, technology, professional and business resources to serve the needs of the diverse student population.

Private schools
Parents and students have several great options for private schools. St. Patrick catholic School is the only non-public school in the region that is accredited by the Mississippi department of education, and students consistently score significantly higher than the national average on the Stanford Achievement test.
PhotoS by JeFF AdkinS

left: Mississippi state universityMeridian’s campus; right: students in the construction trades program at Meridian community college build a clubhouse on the school’s campus.


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the 500 students at Lamar School, which is accredited by the SAcS cASi and the Mississippi Association of independent Schools, enjoy a well appointed campus and historically score well above average on the Act and in the top quartile on nationally normed tests. Russell christian Academy has 275 students, is affiliated with Russell baptist church and is accredited by the Mississippi Association of independent Schools.

meridian community college
Meridian community college provides Ged classes, two-year programs, university transfer options, community education classes and online courses. the college also offers workforce development training programs.

mississiPPi state university-meridian
Mississippi State universityMeridian has degree offerings that include bachelor’s in the arts, science and business fields, and master’s degrees in business and education specialties.

east mississiPPi community college
east Mississippi community college serves Lauderdale, clay, kemper, Lowndes, noxubee and oktibbeha counties. the system has two principal campuses and offers courses at three other locations, providing a range of programs. eMcc is one of 15 community colleges in Mississippi.

university oF West alabama
university of west Alabama in Livingston, Ala., offers programs for associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and educational specialist degrees. – Raven Petty

Bruce Hanson of EMCC’s Workforce Services Division, E.M. “Hoot” Gipson, founder of Gipson Steel, and EMCC President Dr. Rick Young

A trained workforce is key to economic development in East Mississippi. EMCC delivers customized workforce training, meeting industry and business needs with education – whether it’s analyzing workflow systems or providing job applicants with the skills they need to succeed. We salute our workforce partners in East Mississippi, including E.M. “Hoot” Gipson and his team at Gipson Steel.

Scooba Campus: (662) 476-5000 ■ Workforce Services: (662) 476-5104 ■ Website: www.eastms.edu
EMCC does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities. Contact Dr. Jackie Stennis with inquiries regarding this policy, 662-476-5000 or jstennis@eastms.edu

Ad Index
6 A&B ElEctric 24 AlliAncE HEAltH cEntEr c3 Atmos EnErgy 3 community BAnk 24 Dr. DAn H. singlEy DmD 31 EAst mississippi community collEgE 20 EAst mississippi ElEctric powEr AssociAtion 32 glovEr, young, wAlton & simmons pllc c2 HoliDAy inn mEriDiAn EAst 32 HotEl & rEstAurAnt supply 32 JoHn o’nEil JoHnson toyotA 32 mAc HoDgEs AllstAt 15 mitcHEll compAniEs 6 nEwEll pApEr 32 orkin pEst control 19 progrEssivE pipElinE 19 rEgions BAnk c4 rusH FounDAtion HospitAl 32 sEquEl ElEctricAl supply 32 squEAlErs Hickory smokED BArBEquE 15 tHE citizEns BAnk 27 tHE univErsity oF wEst AlABAmA 32 wAstE pro 24 womAn’s group oF mEriDiAn

Mac Hodges
Agency Principal 24-Hour Customer Service

Glover, YounG, Walton & SimmonS, pllc
H. Wingfield Glover, Jr. Ralph E. Young, Jr. Ronnie L. Walton H. Wingfield Glover, III William W. Simmons Stephen B. Jackson Reed C. Darsey At


2425 Old North Hills St. • Meridian, MS 39305 (601) 482-3332 • (601) 482-4843 Fax machodges@allstate.com

Mac Hodges Allstate

Post Office Drawer 5514 1724A 23rd Ave. Meridian, MS 39302-5514 (601) 693-1301 (601) 693-1363 Fax www.gloveryoung.com

Full-Line Electrical Supply Distributor OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
10 Locations:
MErIDIaN 912 13th St. Meridian, MS 39301 601-484-5760 tel 601-484-6577 fax www.sequelelectricalsupply.com MS Meridian, MS Greenwood, MS Greenville, MS Cleveland, MS Oxford, MS La Alexandria, LA aL Dothan, AL Mobile, AL Tuscaloosa, AL

LIVE MUSIC EVERY THURSDAY & SATURDAY 4805 29th Ave. • Meridian, MS 39305 (601) 693-0910 • www.squealersbbque.com

FL Pensacola, FL

Since 1953

Suppliers/Designers to the Food Service Industry Foodservice Equipment • Supplies • Furniture
A name you can trust, a product you can depend on.
John O’Neil Johnson Hyundai 2001 Hwy. 39 N. Meridian, MS 39301 (601) 621-5100 www.johnoneilhyundai.com John O’Neil Johnson Toyota 2900 Hwy. 39 N. Meridian, MS 39301 (601) 485-1620 www.johnsontoyota.com

Five Locations to Serve You: Meridian, MS • Jackson, MS • Gulfport, MS Memphis, TN • Nashville, TN (800) 782-6651 • www.hnrsupply.com

Meridian 483-8211 Philadelphia 656-2033 Newton 683-7182 Bay Springs 764-2005 Decatur 635-4220 Quitman 776-5133

Supporting East Mississippi
200 Braxton Ave. • Meridian, MS 39301 (601) 483-9777 • (601) 483-9787 fax www.wasteprousa.com

1218 11th Ave. • Meridian, MS 39301


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CoMMunity profile
CoMMunity overvieW
the east Mississippi region offers residents an outstanding quality of life, with access to affordable housing and state-of-the-art health care, abundant cultural and recreational opportunities, and excellent educational facilities.

houSehold inforMation CliMate overvieW



15 minutes
Median travel time to Work

Median resident Age

92° F
July Average high


nuMberS to KnoW
central Fire station 2500 14th St. Meridian, MS 39301 (601) 485-1822 www.meridianms.org/ firehome.htm Meridian Police department 2415 Sixth St. Meridian, MS 39301 (601) 485-1843 www.meridianms.org/ depart_police.html lauderdale county sheriff’s department courthouse Annex 410 constitution Ave. Meridian, MS 39301 (601) 482-9700 Sources: www.meridianms.org Onboard Informatics
this section is sPonsored By

35° F
January Average low


Annual rain Fall (vs. national Average Annual rain Fall of 37”)


Age 19 and under

46% 21%

CoSt of living

Age 20-54

Median household income

Age 55 and over

Median rent for a two-Bedroom Apartment

54% 41%

tiMe zone



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