Adieu Bon Ami, Cheers to Small Businesses | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Adieu Bon Ami, Cheers to Small Businesses

On Nov. 30, American Express and the Shop Small Movement will host the fourth annual Small Business Saturday, a day dedicated to supporting small businesses nationwide during the holiday shopping season.

On Nov. 30, American Express and the Shop Small Movement will host the fourth annual Small Business Saturday, a day dedicated to supporting small businesses nationwide during the holiday shopping season. Photo by Courtesy Small Business Saturday

Bon Ami, a favorite capital city lunch spot, is closing its doors. Restaurateur Jeff Good broke the news via social media over the weekend. Good said that Bon Ami's proprietor, Jim Hudson, wanted to return to "civilian life" outside the restaurant business. Located on Interstate 55 in the Maywood Mart, Bon Ami was open at its current location since 2000. Paula Vaughn, Hudson's sister and a chef at the restaurant, told the Jackson Free Press in 2010 that the name of the eatery means "good friend," and that Hudson wanted "a good name and a friendly name" for his business. Jeff Good said the last service took place over the weekend. Hudson could not be reached for comment.

Celebrating Small Biz

On Nov. 30, American Express and the Shop Small Movement will host the fourth annual Small Business Saturday, a day dedicated to supporting small businesses nationwide during the holiday shopping season. Last year, the event brought in $5.5 billion for independently owned businesses in hundreds of communities.

The 2012 Small Business Insights survey showed that 81 percent of small business owners said the day is most effective when communities band together and host events. As a result, American Express has partnered with business organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Independent Business Alliance, U.S. Black Chambers Inc., the Latino Coalition and the American Chamber of Commerce Executives to create the Neighborhood Champions program. The program will help interested individuals organize events in their communities.

To become Neighborhood Champions, participants must provide a description of their plans to organize events or activities and a list of at least 10 local businesses that they plan to involve. After registering, they will receive an activation kit that includes giveaways, welcome mats, balloons and banners. Neighborhood Champion events can include holiday open houses, parades, pop-up shops, treasure hunts, holiday festivals and more.

"Last year, thousands of small businesses from around all over the country took ownership of Small Business Saturday and consumers responded," Mary Ann Fitzmaurice Reilly, senior vice president at American Express OPEN, said in a statement. "Based on our research, we believe the day can be even more successful when businesses band together to make Small Business Saturday a true celebration for the neighborhoods they support."

For information, call 212-539-3236 or visit or American Express' Shop Small website.

Outlets of Mississippi Appoints Management Team

Last week, officials at Outlets of Mississippi—the 325,000 square foot outlet center set to open in Pearl Thursday, Nov. 14—announced that they have appointed a seasoned team of retail property, real estate asset and tourism industry professionals to lead property management, operations, leasing and marketing functions at the mall.

General Manager Kathy Hackshaw will be responsible for property operations, budget administration, tenant communications and staff management. Hackshaw has 20 years of executive positions with businesses such as Tanger Outlets, JTS Realty, O & S Holdings and Chelsea Property Group.

Director of Marketing Angela Shepard—who served as director of development and public relations at the Jackson Zoo—will manage the Outlets' marketing initiatives including advertising, public relations, interactive and social communication, special events and tourism marketing.

Director of Operations Tony Boyd will oversee daily working functions such as security, maintenance, janitorial services and landscaping. Boyd served in the United States Marine Corps for six years and has 25 years of experience in commercial property maintenance. He most recently served as facilities and operations technician at Trademark Properties.

Director of Lease Administration Angie Crawford will manage the execution, processing and management of tenant lease agreements. She recently worked for Parkway Properties, where she was responsible for the review and processing of commercial leases, management of capital improvement efforts and staff training.

"We have selected a talented and driven outlet center management team that brings a wealth of proven experience to the Outlets of Mississippi," Jason Voyles, president of Spectrum Capital, the developer behind the Outlets, said in a statement. "We welcome each member and look forward to their many contributions as we prepare for our grand opening weekend, first holiday shopping season and beyond."

MPI Signs Agreement with WIINTECH Group

The Mississippi Polymer Institute recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Worldwide Intercluster Initiative for New materials and processes focused on clean TECHnologies—or WIINTECH group—which is the first official step in moving local Mississippi businesses toward international collaboration with the companies that are a part of that network. MPI signed the MOU at this year's International K Fair, the largest plastics and rubber trade show in the world, hosted in Dusseldorf, Germany, from Oct. 16 to Oct. 23.

The Polymer Institute and the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials at USM hosted a group of European WIINTECH representatives in spring 2012 to build research relationships and pursue business development across Mississippi.

MPI is the industrial outreach entity for The University of Southern Mississippi. Its mission is to support the growth of high-tech businesses in Mississippi.

The WIINTECH network links eight European world-class clusters representing more than 2,500 companies and research centers working in materials and processes applied to clean technologies. The organization sets up research and development partnerships and encourages trade arrangements between European companies and companies overseas.

For more information on MPI or WIINTECH, visit the Polymer Institute's website and the WIINTECH group's website.

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