Tupelo — While Dossett Big Four president and owner Rudy Dossett looks forward to celebrating the auto dealership’s 25th anniversary in July, you won’t find him resting on nostalgic laurels. More likely, you’ll find him focused on the future as one of the driving forces — no pun intended — behind the recently-formed South Gloster Area Association.
Boasting a high traffic count, Tupelo’s South Gloster Street serves as one of the city’s major corridors for a variety of commercial, medical and retail establishments. But beyond that, it is also literally “home” to a number of community citizens with its interspersed residential pockets.
While Tupelo has seen a major growth spurt in the northern part of town since the opening of the Mall at Barnes Crossing in 1990 and subsequent North Gloster developments, as well as a revitalization of its downtown district, Dossett and other South Gloster-related businesspeople and residents believe South Gloster’s voice should also be heard.
With a theme of “South Gloster is Alive,” the group has formally organized itself with officers and a board, and is meeting monthly at Gloster Creek Village — the former Tupelo Mall that was revitalized in the 1990s to now include medical, retail, service-sector and office-related space.
Dossett says that the association is citizen-driven and dedicated to promoting South Gloster’s interests. He adds that the group is in the process of putting together a mission statement and is looking at ways the area can best capitalize on its diverse commercial/residential character in a way that’s beneficial to everyone.
“We as taxpayers, businesspeople and property owners and residents believe that we have much to offer and through the association, our voice can be heard in the community,” Dossett notes. “The City of Tupelo wants the association to be successful, and we are pleased that David Rumbarger from the Community Development Foundation (CDF) is interested in and involved in our group.”
In addition to housing several independent retail establishments and service-oriented businesses and restaurants, South Gloster is also home to North Mississippi Medical Center. Medical offices surround the area, making its appeal as a medical corridor a natural, according to Dossett.
Tupelo Mayor Larry Otis says that he is pleased to see involved business and residential interests come together in a forward-thinking fashion. Otis says that the city has discussed the possibility of a study on South Gloster with a consultant, although Otis stressed that the city has not executed an agreement with the consultant at this time. Like Dossett, Otis agrees that the area’s strong traffic count is a major attribute from a business owner’s perspective.
CDF president David Rumbarger says that his organization has provided retail input/output information to the association about the City of Tupelo in general, and is available to provide additional marketing and promotion perspective as the South Gloster group strategizes its attributes in the bigger Tupelo picture.
“The association will determine its own future given its priorities, but we’re here for assistance,” Rumbarger says.
Dossett adds that the group is in the process of getting the word out about its existence via a direct mail piece and wants interested parties to get involved. “We believe that South Gloster can stack up against any place in terms of what we have to offer in the city,” Dossett says.
And for anyone who may have forgotten, Rudy Dossett will be the first to tell you that South Gloster is indeed alive.
Contact MBJ contributing writer Karen Kahler Holliday at firstname.lastname@example.org.