Vaunita Martin Mug

Vaunita Martin

At our first State of the County, we shared the news from ICDC on all that has been achieved this year. Itawamba County ranks No. 3 in the state in business growth! Itawamba County experienced record growth this year by adding 34 new businesses. Through planning sessions with our boards of aldermen and businesses together, we’ve cultivated a thriving business market around the county. Downtown Fulton is open for business. We’ve added eight new businesses to downtown in the past year. Mantachie has experienced significant growth and just added a new meat market to town.

With each new business comes the addition of jobs as well. The average new business hires three employees in addition to family staff. This rate of growth provided approximately 100 additional jobs for our citizens. The combination of our existing business growth with our new businesses added over $579,000 in additional revenue to Itawamba County this year. We thank all of our business owners for choosing to locate their businesses in Itawamba. We conducted three ribbon cuttings last week to celebrate new businesses arriving in our community. ICDC exists to serve you and to help ensure your success and growth. When we all work together towards the same goal, growth happens!

Our “Fixer Up” Small Business grant program offers assistance to ICDC members who wish to enhance the look of their businesses. The matching grant up to $1,000 allows our businesses to improve their curb appeal through lighting, paint, valances and signage. We know the more attractive the business, the more it draws customers to its doors. This program will continue in January.

The ICDC received an upgrade in new lighting, stucco, stone, new window, paint, and new valance this year. We want to model the “Fixer Up” curb appeal and hope it has helped set the tone for more buildings to be upgraded. Adding the new Itawamba mural brought a long time dream to reality, and ICDC wishes to thank Kit Stafford and her daughter, Reid Caldwell, for their artistic efforts. We look forward to creating more murals throughout the county in the future.

Itawamba Jr. Leadership is in full “swing” with 18 students currently participating in the program. Their community project this year is a tourism project called “Swing By Itawamba”! 16 pergola covered swings will be placed in strategic locations throughout Itawamba County to steer tourists towards places of commerce, history, and beauty. These students will choose the locations, design the swings in bright and welcoming colors, and raise the funds to pay for the swings. A brochure will be made highlighting all the swings and their locations. If you would like to invest in this effort, we offer a tax deductible donation. Also, each group of students seeks the assistance of local artists who would help design and paint the pergolas, and the students could use some muscle to help load and deliver the swings with pergola stands. Contact the ICDC office at 862-4571 to help.

We hope you have a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year!

Vaunita Martin is the executive director

of the Itawamba County Development

Council. She can be contacted at

vmartin@itawambams.com

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