Jackson is Open for Business | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Jackson is Open for Business

Owner Grant Hutcheson is turning the vacant building at the corner of North State Street and Hartfield Street into his first Pig and Pint restaurant.

Owner Grant Hutcheson is turning the vacant building at the corner of North State Street and Hartfield Street into his first Pig and Pint restaurant. Photo by Jessica King.

At his July 1 inauguration, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba said that the city of Jackson is "open for business." But what does that really mean?

According to the mayor, it means that any business that is willing to work with the city and its needs for jobs and responsible economic growth will have a friend in the mayor's office.

"This city needs to be a global city, and we want that to be our image to the rest of the world," Lumumba said. "... But we have to do it right. If you want to come to Jackson and set up a business, then you better be ready to hire the people of Jackson."

The city has already entered into several contracts with major developers that fit Lumumba's description, including the downtown Westin Hotel project and a deal with Siemens to help update the city's water and sewer systems.

In the Westin deal, developer Joseph Simpson got a pledge from the city to pay for up to $1.75 million worth of improvements to the area surrounding the Valley Title Building, the site for the new 205-room hotel.

Once the $53 million project is developed, Westin will also receive tax increment financing from the city, the amount of which has not been determined. In the agreement, which spans the first 15 years of the business being open, is a clause that stipulates that Westin will hire Jackson residents to fill 100 percent of its unskilled worker positions.

So the city gets some tax revenue from the hotel on the front end, with higher rates coming later. In the mean time, Jacksonians get jobs and much-needed hotel space to accommodate visitors to the nearby convention center. Simpson's other Jackson project is the renovation of the old Ironhorse Grill. For that project, the city agreed to designate the area around the restaurant as an entertainment district so the business could claim special tax breaks on its state and federal taxes.

In the Siemens deal, the Munich-based company made contract concessions to win the $90 million agreement, as well: It agreed to hire at least 50 percent Jackson-based, minority-owned subcontractors.

Fondren's New BBQ Joint

Renovations continue on the old Mimi's Family and Friends location at 3139 N. State St. in Fondren.

Pig and Pint owner Grant Hutcheson hopes to open his first retail location for his restaurant Pig and Pint in that spot within two months. Hutcheson has sold his products at the Livingston Farmers Market in Madison and catered the Livingston Concert Series, including the May 23 edition with country music star Travis Tritt, but this will be his first restaurant.

"Right now everything's moving along pretty well with the renovations," Hutcheson said Friday. "We're probably about two months out, hopefully."

Hutcheson said they've only been at it for two weeks, but the building has already undergone extensive repairs.

"So far, we've mainly done demolition," he said. "We've knocked down walls and we've done a ton of foundation work."

Hutcheson said he's been cooking out of his home, and is looking forward to getting a venue of his own. He still plans to cater the next installment of the Livingston Concert Series, which is set for September. No artists have been announced.

BRAVO! Clears the Cellar

BRAVO! Italian Restaurant and Bar in Highland Village is auctioning off 97 bottles of wine during the month of July to clear out its wine cellar.

The bottles of wine, which range from a $56, 2005 vintage Riefle Gewuerztraminer to a $450 bottle of Lewis Cuvee 2007 Cabernet, are all up for grabs. On a special card for diners—and potential buyers—bidders tender their offers in three bid boxes. The waiter will take the bid(s) to the bar to see if it meets the preset minimum, which varies for each bottle. If the bid is acceptable, the waiter returns with the bottle. Patrons can rebid as many times as they like if their bid does not meet the minimum.

Visit BRAVO! in Highland Village at the corner of Interstate 55 and Northside Drive. Call 601-982-8111, or 
visit bravobuzz.com for menus and the auction list.


justjess 5 years, 2 months ago

Former Mayor Harvey Johnson deserves credit for all of the business activities mentioned in this article. The only thing so far that our new Mayor can take credit for is his business position,i.e., "If you want to do business in Jackson you had BETTER be ready to hire the people of Jackson."

For me, the language is a bit harsh although I do understand the idea of hiring Jacksonians. Tone and tactful business ethics will lead to positive relationships. A kick a$$ position will only run businesses, home-owners, tourist and those of us who love this City, away.


Duan 5 years, 2 months ago

While I like the aggressive stance from the mayors office to push businesses in Jackson to focus on hiring Jacksonians?

My biggest concern is getting these people to work and I don't mean from from a work ethic perspective, but from a transportation perspective.

We are not a highly functioning town towards pedestrian transportation - period!

Jatran is an embarrassment - the routes are mind boggling and the logistics are not friendly for people who work evening or nights?

If we are going to focus on getting Jacksonians hired - then we need to make a conscious effort to ensure there's readily available transportation for them to get there also.


js1976 5 years, 2 months ago

Jess, I made a statment regarding his stance as well in a previous article. I too think that this is a very harsh stance, and it's not very clear. If the city is going to offer incentives for bringing your business into the city, I can understand having stipulations attached to that. However, I don't think this has been clearly communicated to the public.


justjess 5 years, 2 months ago


"If we are going to focus on getting Jacksonians hired- then we need to make a conscious effort to ensure there's readily available transportation for them to get there also."

Mayor Lumumba claims to be focused on hiring people from Jackson; however, in view of the fact that his Chief of Staff lives in Madison and his City Administrative Officer (CAO) lives in Ridgeland, one wonders if he will continue to say one thing, while doing another. Have we been sold a bag of lies or does this Administration think that citizens will not hold them responsible and accountable for things they say and do? People, just as elephants have LONG memories: Wasn't it just yesterday that such a stink was raised because of Chief's Coleman's ownership of a home in Clinton? I think so.

There was also a beautiful article (JFP) on Peter Teeuwissen, former City Attorney, and his contributions and sucesses during the Johnson and Melton terms. Peter Teeuwissen did not know, while speaking at the Coffee Shop, that he would not be retained: Good by Peter, Our new City Attorney will be Mayor Lumumba's law partner.

Promises made: Promises not kept.

Mr. Priester, Vice President of the City Council, hasn't anything to worry about as it relates to "Residency Requirements" although it is an established fact that Mr. Priester lives in Woodhaven, which is in Ward II, proper.

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