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Small Business Spotlight: Dirty Hippie Soaps

‘Disgusting’ project now thriving venture: Mississippi family cleans up in soap biz A plan to create homemade soap for Christmas gifts went awry for two sisters and their mother, but the adventure later led to a successful family business. “My mom and sister were in Michaels or another craft store, and my mom saw a book on making soap. She said, ...

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Dining Out Spotlight: Vanelli’s, Tupelo

Vanelli’s a Tupelo mainstay for more than 30 years Vaz Vanelli’s passion is music and classical guitar, but his clear love of people has helped the restaurant opened by his father remain a Tupelo mainstay for more than 30 years. Vanelli’s father, Demetrios — known to most as Papa Vanelli — was born in Athens, Greece, and the family has ...

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Dining Out Spotlight: Café 51, Hernando

Investor returns to his restaurant roots Four decades after he watched his family’s Oxford restaurant burn to the ground, Jim Seay is back again in the restaurant business. His return to the industry was almost accidental. Seay owns an investment property firm called Diversified Investments in Hernando. His idea to open a restaurant came when one of the company’s properties, ...

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Small Business Spotlight: The Mustard Seed, Brandon

Planting a ‘seed’ of hope: Ceramic creations prove hot sellers Sales of the ceramic gifts made by “seedsters” at The Mustard Seed in Brandon help defray costs at the faith-based community while providing an artistic outlet for the clients. Established in 1981, The Mustard Seed is a community for adults with development disorders. Clients participate in a handbell choir and ceramics ...

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Small Business Spotlight: Mississippi Music

Music plays on: Johnson team has made music business a powerhouse Mississippi Music has weathered nearly 65 years in business by adapting and evolving to meet market demands in the state. The company was founded in Hattiesburg by Jim Johnson and his wife, Mac, who are both now in their 90s. Jim Johnson, an Alabama native, was a trombone player ...

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Small Business Spotlight: Taylor Creek Farm, Taylor

Green practices, lush produce pay for Taylor farmers The owners of Taylor Creek Farm grow flowers, heirloom vegetables and herbs while fostering green growing practices, education and community spirit. In 2003, Michelle McAnally and Jared Spears founded Taylor Creek Farm with the purchase of a former cotton farm in Taylor. Within two years, McAnally quit her full-time job as an ...

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Dining Out Spotlight: Sneaky Beans

Music, drinks flow at Fondren’s Sneaky Beans Sneaky Beans opened in Sept. 2008, fusing the relaxed atmosphere of a coffee shop with a music venue while encouraging community development. Owner Byron Knight returned to Jackson after his 2006 graduation from Middle Tennessee State University and decided to open a coffee shop with live entertainment after talking with developer Mike Peters. ...

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Small Business Spotlight: Derrick and Jennifer Emerson

DOING BUSINESS THE RIGHT WAY Emerson culinary success based on devotion to employees and expectation of excellence Disaster struck Walker’s Drive-In twice in 2005, but owners Derek and Jennifer Emerson consider the calamities blessings in disguise. On Feb. 18, 2005, a fire caused enough smoke damage to force a three-month closure. Then, Hurricane Katrina hit and power outages forced the ...

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Small Business Spotlight: 4450, Jackson

Jackson’s 4450 gives women contemporary design When a tenant notified property owners Luke and Alison Abney that they’d be moving out, the couple saw an opportunity. The Abneys first foray into the retail business was their purchase of Jackson’s iconic men’s store, The Rogue, in 2005. “I was born and raised in Jackson and had been shopping there since I ...

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Small Business Spotlight: Red Magnet, Tupelo

Having a plan in place Red Magnet draws clients with talent and experience for IT Hoping to hedge against the sluggish economy two years ago, Red Magnet owner Eric Gibens slowly rolled out a proactive maintenance plan for his top three clients. The plan was informal at first and provided a way for Gibens to save both his company and ...

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