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Street Talk

Downtown Looks Good Thanks To Workers

By Mickey Howley

The conversation went like this, “So what’s going on in Water Valley?” asked Derek Finley, Bureau Mana-ger for Business Develop-ment at the Mississippi Development Authority last week when I saw him in West Point. “Well,” I answered, “We had four new businesses open up in the last month downtown, all owned by women.” Derek nodded and said, “Women in business are hot.”  
I said enthusiastically, “Yeah, they’re all pretty good looking.”
He kind of looked at me for the simpleton I sometimes am and said, “Err… well, I meant female entrepreneurship is really on the rise now.”  
Slight pause on my part, “Oh….right, it certainly is.”
So despite the awkward start, Derek is going to visit the Valley next week and check it out for himself. He is one of those guys that has a crazy acronym on the business card after his name, CBSP.  Which could mean a number of things according to my Google search like Comité de Bienfaisance et de Secours aux Palestiniens or Certified Biosafety Profes-sional but my guess in his case means Certified Business Solutions Profes-sional. Because that’s his job essentially, to help businesses get better. And better can mean a number of things, like more exposure to other businesses and customers or a listing on MDA’s electronic board of businesses in Mississippi.
His section even gives advise about markets or business opportunities and suggestions about business practices and management. That’s all pretty good advice and access to resources through Derek and MDA’s Business Development division. They are the people who are all carrot and no stick. They want businesses in Mississippi to succeed and they’re very willing to help. If you’d like Derek to stop by your business and say hello for starters, send me an e-mail at and we’ll come on by.
Downtown is looking good at the moment. Weeds are wacked, lights are lit, and curbs are clean. If you know a city employee in any department, thank them, for collectively they have been out sweating and getting the town ready for the Watermelon Carnival. This observation might put a jinx on the weather, but it has been just a touch cooler this summer so far.
The weather at the Farmers Markets on Saturday mornings has been delightful. Last Saturday there were bluegrass players picking, a whole bunch of drummers drumming, and hula-hoop folks hooping.         Christina Coleman was there with her custom built hula-hoops demonstrating. Sizes and styles for all. Can’t swear to it, but it looks like great physical therapy for whatever may ail you.
Or just plain fun. That and along with some of the best tomatoes I’ve ever eaten and baskets of just picked peaches and home made bread along with a gentle summer breeze made the market just delightful. See you next Saturday under the big magnolia.

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