On Sunday, July 22, Bishop's BBQ Grill opened the doors to their Ripley location next to Hibbett's Sports on City Avenue South.
This marks Bishop's fifth location in Northeast Mississippi.
My first taste of Bishop's BBQ came in Booneville when I was a student at Northeast Mississippi Community College and it was incredible. The selections on their menu were outstanding and reasonably priced. I ate there every chance that I could. Once I left NEMCC, my trips to Booneville were much more spaced out, thus leaving my longing for Bishop's food at a really high level. So obviously when I caught the word that they were opening a location in Ripley, I was beyond excited. I have mentioned it to several of my friends and people that I come in contact with about how they should go try it once it opens.
My biggest reason for telling them is also my biggest fear. I tell them in hopes that they will go and support that small, locally-owned business because I know that without support, there is a chance that they leave. In my mind, if a business fails in an area, then other potential suitors that provide similar products or food will be scared away from the area the other had failed in. Now, that is not always the case but still the point can be proven in many instances.
Other opportunities have made themselves available in other areas of Tippah County such as Walnut. Just last week, Walnut Mayor Vicki Skinner posted pictures and a statement on her personal Facebook account that Crossroads Rib Shack, another great barbecue establishment, was sending a truck to sit in the old Wal-Mart parking lot to sell food for a couple of weeks. If all goes well, then you could very well see the restaurant make a permanent home in Walnut.
But for that to happen, people have to show up and support the business. Leaving our money in our pockets and not helping out small businesses in our area only limits our growth in our communities. Clamor all you want about the job that each mayor or board of alderman do in your respective town, but ultimately the local economy lies in our hands. Your support is what allows the small business to stay open. You want more food options? Show that you can support a locally-owned restaurant. You want more options in retail? Show others how to shop at local boutiques or clothing stores.
Bishop's BBQ Grill is giving us the chance to show that Ripley and Tippah County can sustain a great small business. Crossroads Rib Shack is offering the citizens of Walnut and Tippah County an opportunity to prove to them, our town leaders and other potential suitors that despite the narrative, Walnut can furnish more than just a handful of successful restaurants.
It is not just those two places. Everyday local businesses give us ample opportunities to show a sense of small-town pride with great food, retail or other options. It is on us, the Tippah County citizens, to show what we are capable of as consumers.