Keeping Petal Beautiful!

In 1989, Donnie Walker established Mane Event Hair Designs at 407 South Main Street in Petal.

Thirty-two years later – in an age when many businesses last only five years or less – Mane Event is continuing to thrive at its original location, making it one of the longest-tenured businesses in The Friendly City. The shop, which has hosted many of the same regular customers over the past three decades, offers cuts, coloring, perms and waxing.

“I wanted to be local, because I am from Petal,” Walker said. “It feels very good (to have been a mainstay in Petal this long).

“We love being here, and we love the location. We’re a small hair salon; we have three hair stylists, and the two that are here (as we speak) have been here with me 18 years. The one before that left actually moved out of state, so it’s really local, because everybody is from Petal that works here.”

Being a family-oriented business, over the years Walker has seen many wives, husbands and children come back year after year.

“A customer and I were talking not too long ago while he was getting a haircut, and he remembers when he had to sit in the booster seat to get his hair cut,” Walker said. “And now he has children that come here.

“I have people, that ever since I’ve been here, I’ve been doing their hair. And the (stylists) here, they have a lot of regulars that they have done from the beginning.”

Walker has been a member of the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce for approximately 15 years. With the help of the chamber, she and her staff have regularly taken place in initiatives such as Shop Petal First, an event held annually in November that highlights Petal businesses and encourages customers to shop local with sales and other promotions.

“That lets people see what we have and what we offer,” Walker said. “(The chamber) has done things in the past, like the (American) flags they put on the poles in front of the businesses.

“All the things that they offer are strictly to increase the business for people, and to make them noticed.”

Although Walker will turn 65 this month, she plans to keep going strong at her shop and to remain a member of the chamber.

“I’ll work a little longer, and I’ll always stay a member of the chamber because I think it is beneficial,” she said. “We have the online (form of communication) where they notify us of different things going on in the city, and what we can look forward to.

“So I just think the chamber is a good thing for business, and everybody should be a member. Valerie (Wilson, executive director of the chamber), has been very good to keep people informed. She’s great.”

A Downtown Favorite

In 2007, when Craig Bullock – who also serves as Ward 6 Alderman for the City of Petal – began managing A1 Graphics at 233 North Main Street in Petal, he had no idea that’s what he would make a career out of.  But in 2012, Bullock purchased and became owner of the business, which designs and screenprints T-shirts, and offers embroidery and heat-press on jerseys. Customers can find an array of Petal athletics shirts, as well as school uniforms, at the shop.

A1 Graphics can be reached by phone at (601) 545-7499, or online at

Bullock recently took the time for a phone Q&A to talk a little more about his shop and what it means to be a business owner in Petal.

Petal Chamber: Why set up shop in Petal?

Bullock: I never actually knew I’d eventually own it; I just managed it and ran it, and one thing led to another. We came here originally just because we felt like there was a need here for this type of business – there wasn’t anything here like that at the time. So we thought we could open a small retail area for the school district and the city, but also provide bulk orders to companies for the school district and things like that.

Q: Petal is widely known as The Friendly City. As a business owner, has that proven to be true to you so far?

A: Absolutely, yes. In almost 10 years of us owning the business, we’ve just been incredibly blessed, for sure. There’s a lot of support from both the business community, the retail side of things, and the school district. We also have invested a lot off money and time back into the community and the school district as well. They’re super, super supportive of our business.

Q: So it’s safe to say that you’ve seen a lot of growth, in terms of orders and other business?

A: We have. Like any business, it’s had its ups and downs over the years, but we continue to grow and prosper on a year-to-year basis.

Q: You’ve been a member of the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce for several years now. How has that benefited you as a business owner, and what advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who may be considering joining the chamber?

A: We do get a lot of support from the chamber. The Shop Petal First program has been very beneficial for us; that’s the key. I’m not really able to attend a whole lot of lunches and stuff, just because it’s so hard for me to break away during the weekdays. I know that those are very valuable as far as networking in the community and all that. We’re very pleased with the chamber’s support, and I know that we do have (executive director Valerie) Wilson and the chamber’s full support in our business.

Story by Haskell Burns.  Photos by Cayla Camp Burns