Main Street Member Spotlight: Washington County Economic Alliance and Washington County Chamber of Commerce
Main Street Member: Washington County Economic Alliance / Washington County Chamber of Commerce
Your Name and Title: Will Coppage, Executive Director
What products or services do you provide? The WCEA/Chamber offers a full range of support services from small business support to industrial recruitment. We support all sectors of business and industry will job training services and pathways. Under the Chamber, our goal is to assist the local economy with business strategies, sales, and networking events. The WCEA serves as the liaison between local municipalities in Washington County and Mississippi Development Authority, which is the Governor’s arm for economic development.
Who started your business and when? Our organization has taken many forms through the years. We now are a public/private partnership with both the economic development organization and the chamber under one roof. In 2019, we added under our umbrella the Washington County Work Ready Association, a 501c3 aimed at creating and strengthening workforce pathways in our community and to assist area employers.
What’s an interesting fact about your business most people don’t know? We really do a little of everything. The Chamber should be your first contact for support on an issue, as well as a promotion. Businesses that take advantage of our free services are highly pleased.
What do you enjoy most about doing business in Greenville? Greenville and Washington County is at a turning point, and there are many, many stakeholders working hard for our community. The community now looks better than it did 10 years ago because of that hard work, and I guarantee you the community in 10 years will look thriving because of consistent hard work and investments, both public and private.
What are your or your business’s plans for the future? It is one thing to help job seekers obtain a job. We want to teach job seekers how to create jobs and be entrepreneurial. Whether it is starting a brick and mortar business downtown or learning how to sell on an online platform, we would like to encourage the spirit of entrepreneurship.
What is the best way for a customer to reach you? With the current situation of covid-19, I find myself working in office and remotely. The best way is to email me at email@example.com. You can also call our office at 662-378-3141. You can find the emails of our team at wceams.com.
Where can companies find you on social media?
Recent grant proceeds from the Weinberg Family Foundation and the Mississippi Main Street Association have helped further Main Street Greenville’s Downtown Beautification Program. Each grant totaled $750, and Main Street Greenville matched the contributions to produce $3,000.00 worth of landscape improvements within the Central Business District.
This phase of the program targeted 11 distinct areas including the intersection of Broadway and Main Street, as well as various other highly visible locations within the area. Local contractor, Lewis Henry of Lewis Henry Landscaping, completed the intersection installation this weekend which included a mix of flowering and evergreen shrubs. Main Street Greenville, along with organizational volunteers, will be responsible for maintaining the areas.
Main Street Greenville has a continuous commitment to improving all aspects of downtown Greenville. Daniel Boggs, CEO of Greater Greenville, says “Multiple studies conclude that a major component of any community’s downtown revitalization strategy includes concentrated efforts in beautification. As such, we are enthusiastic about enhancing the aesthetics of the entire district, including streetscapes”. Over the past 4 years, Main Street Greenville has contributed over $35,000.00 to downtown beautification projects, with the most notable being the expansion of Stein Mart Square in 2016.
For more information about Main Street Greenville’s programs and services, as well as volunteer opportunities, please visit the organization website at www.mainstreetgreenville.org.
Main Street Greenville is excited to announce this year’s Christmas parade will be in REVERSE!
To ensure the safety of participants and spectators and still spread Christmas joy, we are doing things a little differently this year! This year’s parade, themed “Merry and Bright” will feature stationary floats, Christmas decorations, and performers along Washington Avenue allowing spectators to drive through the festivities on Thursday, December 3, 2020, 5:30-7:30 p.m. The parade route will begin at the Broadway Street intersection with traffic flowing only west/northwest, concluding at Walnut Street.
Oakes Auto Group and Family are the parade’s title sponsors again this year. To help make this year’s event a success we can truly celebrate, we encourage every church and organization, including schools, local businesses, civic groups, groups of carolers, choirs, ensembles, drumlines, and dance teams to participate! Main Street Greenville plans to have the traditional float and marching band awards and is adding two new competitive categories for this year’s parade, the Choir/Carolers Award and the Non-Performing Decorating Group Award. If you've never participated in the parade before, this is YOUR year!
The Choir/Carolers Category is open to any church, school, scout group, civic, or school organization, who would like to spread Christmas joy with their voices. Singing groups will be judged in three areas: musical selection, visual communication of the holiday spirit, and conveyance of parade theme. First place will be awarded a cash prize and trophy.
The Non-Performing Decorating Group Category has been created for small businesses, civic groups, student groups, churches, etc. who want to show their Christmas Spirit but who cannot create a float. The possibilities are ENDLESS, but some examples are:
• A church group or church’s youth group doing a live nativity scene
• A civic group dressing in festive costumes with some Merry and Bright blow-up characters
• A small business decorating an antique tractor with Merry and Bright themed decorations
Get together with your friends or your organizations! Use golf carts, 10x10 pop up tents, vehicles, bicycles, tractors, yard decorations, lights, costumes...but most of all your CREATIVITY!!! First, second, and third place prizes will be awarded cash prizes.
To participate in this year’s parade, please visit our website www.MainStreetGreenville.com. We look forward to seeing you there!
Main Street Member: Regions Bank, 540 Main Street
Your Name and Title: Walt Stephens Market Executive/President
Who started Regions Bank and when? Today’s Regions, started as three small community banks in three separate Alabama towns, shortly after the state entered the Union. The First National Bank of Huntsville started in 1835, First National Bank of Montgomery (which would form the core of Regions Bank) started in 1871 shortly after the Civil War, and Exchange Bank in Birmingham opened their doors in 1928.
Locally, Regions began as First National Bank of Greenville in 1887, the first federally chartered bank in Washington County.
What do you credit to Regions’ success? Regions Financial Corporation and its predecessors have played an important role in the economic growth of a large swath of our country for more than 167 years. Regions has provided untold support to many communities, educational institutions, healthcare facilities, and other businesses that has enabled them to thrive. In return, those same entities have continued to support Regions in a true partnership fashion. It’s a remarkable story of a strong culture built over time. More than 100 banks and other financial institutions have come together to form what we know today as Regions Financial. Through those acquisitions and its expansions into new markets, the company has maintained a steadfast focus on doing what is right for its customers, its communities, its shareholders, and its associates.
What is your company’s mission statement, personal life motto, or goal each day? Regions makes life better. Our mission at Regions is to achieve superior economic value for our shareholders over time by making life better for our customers, our associates, and our communities and creating shared value as we help them meet their financial goals and aspirations. Shared value is at the core of our mission and our business strategy. It’s a simple idea: what we do as a business has to benefit our customers, our company and shareholders, and the communities where we operate.
Serving the customer as one team, in an exceptional way, is our business, our only business. We serve our customers by keeping our core values at the center of each interaction and decision we make. Put people first. Do what is right. Focus on your customer. Reach higher. Enjoy life.
What is the best way for a customer to reach you? Either via email firstname.lastname@example.org, text, or phone 662-433-6685…I am always available for my clients
Where can companies find you on social media? We are on Facebook (Regions Bank), Twitter (@regionsbank) and Instagram (Regions Bank)
Main Street Member: Hodding Carter Memorial YMCA
Your Name and Title: Bob Williams, CEO
What products or services do you provide? The Y offers a variety of services and programs to members as well as the whole community. We have structured and unstructured activities that range from health, fitness, sports skills, prevention, living a healthier life, group exercise, aquatics, etc. The list is quite long. The three focus areas are healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility.
What is your company’s mission statement, personal life motto, or goal each day? To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.
What do you enjoy most about doing business in Greenville? Our Y is truly community-based. Our members reflect the community accurately. It is our commitment to “service to all” that is truly a core principle we operate by.
What changes have you made to assist your customers during COVID-19? Enhanced cleaning, abiding by governmental, YUSA, and other recommended safety practices.
What is the best way for a customer to reach you? email@example.com
Where can companies find you on social media? Our website provides links to our Facebook page. The Website address is: www.ymcahcm.org.
Your Name and Title: Parker England – President
How did Planters Bank get its start? Planters Bank began in Ruleville, MS in 1920 by several businessmen in the MS Delta. Planters Bank now has over $1 billion in assets, serving thirteen communities in nineteen locations. We are currently celebrating our 100th anniversary and are looking forward to serving our customers and communities for the next 100 years!
What is your company’s mission statement, personal life motto, or goal each day? Planters Bank is committed to providing quality financial services delivered by friendly and professional staff. As an independent community bank, we dedicate our resources to the betterment of our customers, shareholders, employees, and markets we serve.
What do you enjoy most about doing business in Greenville? The people and community as a whole make Greenville the wonderful place it is. We love seeing and serving our customers, and Planters Bank loves playing our role in the success of Greenville and Washington County.
What changes have you made to assist your customers during COVID-19? Initially, we serviced all of our Customer needs through drive-thru only services. It was a different experience not having customers in our lobbies, but one that was necessary to keep our customers and employees safe during these uncertain times. Over the past several months, we opened our lobbies on a limited basis. To assure everyone’s safety, we are allowing 5 customers in our lobbies at a time. We will continue to monitor our COVID-19 policies as additional guidance comes.
What is the best way for a customer to reach you? Stop by our Washington Avenue branch (424 Washington Avenue) or give me a call at (662) 379-2557
Regions Bank Helps Further the Initiatives of Greater Greenville Housing and Revitalization Association
Greater Greenville Housing and Revitalization Association (GGHRA) has been awarded a
$10,000 community grant by Regions Bank. Funds from this award will help advance the mission of GGHRA which revolves around developing, redeveloping, and sustaining affordable housing options for low-income families throughout the region, as well as promoting the redevelopment of Greenville’s Central Business District.
The relationship between GGHRA and Regions started in 1998 when the two entities teamed up to develop GGRHA’s first affordable housing complex, Broadway Villas. Since then, Regions and GGHRA have united on other various projects which have positively impacted the standard of living for so many residents of the Mississippi Delta. One of the most notable endeavors was the development of The Reserves at Gray Park, an award-winning eco-friendly affordable housing development centrally located in Greenville, Mississippi. This townhouse style development was completed in 2018 through a combination of funding sources, including construction and permanent financing which was provided by Regions Bank.
Daniel Boggs, CEO of GGHRA, expressed his sincere appreciation for the long-time relationship between the two entities. “The mission of Greater Greenville couldn’t be fulfilled without strong community partners like Regions Bank. It takes all of us, doing our part, to make this world a better place. We understand that Regions Bank has supported numerous initiatives throughout their service area in the Southeast Region, but we are truly humbled that they have decided to deepen their relationship with Greater Greenville through this grant. We look forward to developing many more great projects with them”.
Regions Bank Greenville Market Executive, Walt Stephens, echoes Boggs’s sentiments, “Our mission at Regions is to 'make life better' for our entire community. We strive to do this through creating shared value between ourselves and the communities we serve. Our focus on inclusive growth guides our community outreach priorities and allows us to focus on measurable change. Having access to safe and affordable housing is the cornerstone of the American dream. Regions is thrilled to be able to work with the Greater Greenville Housing and Revitalization Association to help families achieve their personal and financial goals, while also enabling the GGHRA to continue to invest in our community.”
Looking to the future, GGHRA seeks to continue improving the Greenville and Washington County areas through its programs and services. The organization recently interviewed architectural firms for their next endeavor, the Madison-Thomas Project. The goal of this development is to renovate two dilapidated downtown buildings into a mixed-use space which will provide safe, decent and affordable housing options to area residents, and move-in ready office or retail storefronts for small businesses. Boggs says “we are excited about opportunities this next project will bring to the downtown area, as it is being developed only a few hundred feet from the new federal courthouse.”
JACKSON, Miss. (August 19, 2020) – The Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) celebrated achievements of Mississippi Main Street Communities with a special virtual Annual Awards presentation this year.
MMSA staff presented the 2020 awards from the Old Capitol Inn in downtown Jackson via Facebook Live. The annual awards honors Main Street directors, board members and volunteers and recognizes the most outstanding downtown development projects from Main Street communities in Mississippi. “Mississippi Main Street is excited to celebrate the achievements of our Main Street communities,” said Steven Dick, MMSA Board President. “Our local leaders have worked tirelessly to provide economic opportunities, increase quality of life, and preserve what makes our downtowns special.”
Thomas Gregory, MMSA State Coordinator, Jennifer Prather, Director of Community Development, and Jeannie Zieren, Director of Communication and Marketing, presented the awards. This year's award recipients are:
• Biloxi Main Street
• Cleveland Main Street
• Main Street Clinton
• Main Street Columbia
• Main Street Columbus
• Main Street Corinth
• Greenville Main Street
• Main Street Greenwood
• Gulfport Main Street
• Holly Springs Main Street Chamber
• Laurel Main Street
• Kosciusko Main Street
• Louisville/Noxapater Main Street
• New Albany Main Street
• Ocean Springs Main Street
• Main Street Pascagoula
• Philadelphia Main Street
• Picayune Main Street
• Ripley Main Street
• Senatobia Main Street
• Starkville Main Street
• Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association
• West Point Main Street
• Woodville/Wilkinson County Main Street
In addition to announcing the 2020 award winners, all Main Street member communities were recognized as well as MMSA annual investors and MMSA board members for 2020-2021.
In addition, the 2020 nationally accredited programs were recognized, as well as new MMSA communities, and Main Street directors who have served for 10 years or longer in their communities.
The Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association was also recognized for being a national semi-finalist for the Great American Main Street Award by the National Main Street Center.
The Mississippi Development Authority, Entergy Mississippi, and Mississippi Power were recognized as top investors of MMSA and sponsors of the annual awards.
In 2019, Mississippi Main Street's Designated Communities generated 185 net new businesses, 62 business expansions to existing businesses, 633 net new jobs, 101 building rehabilitations and 331 downtown residential units. In addition, 178 public improvement projects were completed as well as 36 new construction projects in downtown business districts. More than $148 million was invested by the public and private sectors in 2019, and more than 43,211 volunteer hours were recorded. Every dollar spent in this organization results in $80 of private investment, the highest return on investment of any economic activity in the state. Since 1993, MMSA has generated more than $5.5 billion in private and public investment (including more than $1.3 billion in public investment). MMSA currently has 45 Designated Main Street Community members, four Network members, and eight Associate members.
Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) is a catalyst for the preservation and economic revitalization of Mississippi’s historic downtowns and districts. As a Main Street America™ Coordinating Program, MMSA helps lead a powerful, grassroots network consisting of more than 40 Coordinating Programs and over 1,200 neighborhoods and communities across the country committed to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development.
With continued concern for the health and safety of our community, vendors, and attendees, the Delta Hot Tamale Festival scheduled for October 15-17, 2020 has been canceled. All future Main Street Greenville sponsored contests associated with the Delta Hot Tamale Festival, including the Miss Hot Tamale Contest, have also been canceled.
Main Street Greenville, the organizers of the event, carefully considered all options, including several modified versions of the festival. However, the ability to plan such a large-scale event is hampered by the uncertain probability of future social distancing mandates and possible increased COVID-19 outbreaks, not only in the City of Greenville and Washington County, but the surrounding areas.
We recognize the unfortunate impact this decision will have on our local businesses, as well as the vendors who travel to participate in the Festival each year. We encourage all past and future festival-goers to support these businesses at their permanent locations.
The Delta Hot Tamale Festival is the largest event produced by Main Street Greenville. Proceeds from this event help support our many community development projects throughout the year. As such, Main Street Greenville will sell a commemorative t-shirt of this year’s canceled events. All net proceeds from these t-shirts will be used to help advance the mission of our organization. Please follow us on Facebook @MainStGvilleMS to be a part of the t-shirt unveiling later this month.
Main Street Greenville wants to thank everyone for their patience as we discussed and deliberated all possible avenues for this year’s festival. The decision to cancel did not come lightly.
We look forward to spicing things up with you again at the 10th Annual Delta Hot Tamale Festival, which is scheduled for October 14-16, 2021!
Elisha’s travels landed him in Cape Cod where he worked in the restaurant business for a few decades. Elisha Williams never forgot his roots though. When Mississippi called his heart, he came back home and picked up where he left off.
With the help of his wife, Elisha farms a plot of land just outside Cleveland just as he did as a youngster. He has tilled soil all his life, and the move back home allowed him to perfect his craft. “I just like to do it for the community. Young people look at this stuff, and they don’t know what it is or what to do with it. I like to educate those young folks and tell them they can make the best dinner with this right here,” he said pointing to his table of freshness. “I just want them to learn to respect their bodies and the land the way my mother and father taught me.”
Over the years, Elisha has farmed everything from peppers and corn to okra and eggplant. He picks his fruits and vegetables the night before or the morning of the market. This is his third season at Greenville’s Farmers’ Market, but he has been making the rounds at other area markets for the last several years. Elisha says he isn’t afraid to try growing anything new, because Lord willing, the harvest will come.
Come find Elisha, his wife, and his favorite hat 8 am-noon, Wednesdays and Saturdays, May-September, 734 Washington Avenue, Downtown Greenville.