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Street Talk

Interim Manager Ready To Work For Downtown

By Alexe van Beuren

    Two weeks ago, the new North Mississippi Hatchery at Enid Lake made Jessie Gurner an offer she couldn’t refuse: manager of the visitor and education center. We at WVMSA will miss her skills, but are thankful that she lent them to us for over a year.

    Under Jessie’s management, WVMSA went from being a concept to an actual organization. We now have a beautiful renovated office, a thriving farmers’ market (certified by the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce just last week), and a host of successful events like Founders Day under our belts– not to mention some grant money!

    WVMSA has applied for and received a three-thousand dollar grant from the Appalachian Community Learning Project that will be spent on the backside of Main Street (Duncan Street). More news on that later.

    In the mean time, I will be serving as the interim manager for WVMSA. I’ve been on the Board of Directors for the last twelve months and have served as the association’s secretary and the farmers’ market manager.

    Some of you might know me from my fifteen months writing the Talk of the Valley series for the paper. Others might know my husband, Kagan Coughlin, who has been renovating Mr. Parker’s Ben Franklin store (also known as the old T.W.L. store) for the past year.

    About me: I’m originally from a rural county in Virginia, where I got hooked on what the Main Street organization can do for a community after the neighboring town of Culpeper transformed from an empty and unsavory downtown to having every storefront occupied.

    I graduated with a degree in economics and history from Vanderbilt University, and my husband and I moved to Water Valley in December of 2006 so that Kagan could work for FNC, a finance company in Oxford. Our daughter, Annaliese, is six months old.

    As the interim manager, I’ll be at WVMSA’s office at 207 Main Street from 9-12.30 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday; Wednesday from 12pm to 5; and under the magnolia trees at the farmers’ market from 8am-11am on Saturdays.

    Feel free to stop by with any ideas you might have about what Main Street can do to help your business and this town.

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