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SBA honors North Mississippians as Small Business Person of the Year and for Lifetime Achievement

(this photo includes our locally-designated Lifetime Achievement Awardees and SBA, and left to right are): SBA Mississippi Deputy District Director Gary Reed; Vernon “Randy” Kelley, III, Three Rivers Local Development Co., Inc.; Thelman “Larry” Anderson, Central Mississippi Development Co., Inc.; and SBA Mississippi District Director Janita R. Stewart.

(this photo includes the 2017 Small Business Week Winners plus SBA, and left to right are): SBA Mississippi Deputy District Director Gary Reed; SBA Mississippi District Director Janita R. Stewart; Financial Services Champion Vickie Rivers of Renaissance Community Loan Fund, Gulfport; Small Business Person of the Year Mary Jennifer Russell of Sugaree’s Bakery, New Albany; Nominator Rebecca Davis of Main Street Pascagoula o/b/o Keith Delcambre of Bozo’s Seafood, Pascagoula, Generational Family-Owned Small Business (unable to attend);and Young Entrepreneur Latrice Rogers of Goddess Lengths Virgin Hair, Jackson. Unable to attend was Minority Small Business Champion Dr. Louis Finkle, Gaston Point Community Development Corp., Gulfport.

The U.S. Small Business Administration Mississippi District Office has named Mary Jennifer Russell, president and founder of Sugaree’s Bakery of New Albany, the 2017 SBA Mississippi Small Business Person of the Year and honored Three Rivers Planning and Development District Executive Director Vernon R. “Randy” Kelley III with a lifetime achievement award.

Sugaree’s Bakery is a small batch bakery that since 1997 has been focusing on its classic Southern layer cakes.

It now employs 35 people and bakes 1,000 cakes weekly which are sold online, retail, wholesale and for fundraising purposes.

Kelley was honored with a lifetime achievement distinction as “an individual who has worked hard to enhance small business, economic development and jobs creation in Mississippi for decades,” said Juanita R. Stewart, SBA Mississippi District Director.

For nearly four decades Kelley has assisted Northeast Mississippians in expanding their horizons and improving their lot in life whether from the recruitment of industries providing skilled, high paying jobs to collecting and billing for the garbage they create.

Under Kelley’s direction Three Rivers has the largest small business lending program in the state. Since inception, that arm of Three Rivers has helped regional industry create more than 15,000 jobs and includes more than $680 million in total project investments.

Kelley is a previous winner of the Mississippi SBA Small Business Advocate of the Year for the state of Mississippi.

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