It’s Back & Better Than Ever!

Shop Petal First had humble beginnings. Twenty years ago, the Petal Chamber of Commerce searched for ways to keep holiday shoppers in Petal and to compete with the large national retail chains in neighboring Hattiesburg. Black Friday, in particular, drew Petal residents to Hattiesburg in search of great deals and price reductions.

The idea of persuading shoppers to shop in Petal the weekend before Thanksgiving and Black Friday led to the Shop Petal First promotion. Businesses in Petal were encouraged to offer specials and enhance the holiday spirit by providing light refreshments and decorating for Christmas earlier. Additionally, each participating store offered a drawing for a door prize. The goal was to make Shop Petal First a city-wide shopping experience.

There have been changes and additions to Shop Petal First. One of the most popular changes to Shop Petal First is the addition of the Shop Petal First $500 Grand Prize cash reward. A city map is divided into four shopping areas with a list of participating merchants in each zone. To qualify for a chance to win the Grand Prize, shoppers have to visit at least one merchant or restaurant in each location and verify by collecting a color-coded sticker or QR code entry. After all entry forms are collected, one lucky shopper’s entry is drawn. Not only does this add to the fun atmosphere, but it also encourages shoppers to expand their visits across the entire city which benefits the merchants.

The primary marketing tool for SPF is the Shop Petal First Shopping Guide which is available in over 50 participating merchants in Petal. The guide includes ads for each merchant, a list of door prizes, holiday events, gift suggestions, and much more. The Shop Petal First website provides extensive information on the occasion, and there is a Shop Petal First Facebook page and website.

The Shop Petal First Gala and Silent Auction will kick off the 20th Anniversary of Shop Petal First on Thursday, November 17, at the Petal Civic Center at 6:30 pm. The Petal Arts Council is sponsoring the gala, featuring the work of various local artists and a taste of Petal from Sullivan & Sons. And this year, a new feature of SPF is the Shop Petal First Holiday Market at Petal Harvey Baptist Church. Arts and craft vendors without a brick-and-mortar store location will offer handmade gift items to our shoppers.

After 20 years, Shop Petal First has evolved into a city tradition. Families look forward to a weekend of visiting and supporting our local businesses while enjoying all they offer to our community. It is a satisfying alternative to anonymous online buying and an excellent way to keep the spirit of Christmas close to home.

Adams Nursery is a Place to Grow!

As a new writer in the Pine Belt, I am going to present profiles of different people who make up the Petal community. My goal is to tell you a little bit more about an individual and how they enjoy their career and life. The first person I am profiling is someone well known when it comes to plants and gardening, Ricky Adams.

Adams Nursery & Garden Center was started in 1989 by Ricky’s grandfather. At the age of eight Ricky began with simple chores helping at the family business. A passion slowly developed for the plant business, while in high school a decision was made to continue an education in horticulture. A two-year program at Jones College was the icing on the cake to the future. It became a full-time career by the time Ricky was twenty-one.

So, what sets a young man starting in a lifetime career apart from the salesperson at a big box? Knowledge of the product that one sells is the difference. Shrubs are favorite plants and successful growing is a passion for young Adams. Are there, challenges that keep Ricky on his toes on a seasonal basis? Plant disease and pests are those problems that require daily and best practices knowledge. Not only is this important to the home garden but imagine how important this is to a farmer earning a living with thousands of plants in a field. Ricky admits he feels a little pain during bad weather that results in crop loss for local farmers. Something else that stands out at this family run business, they pride themselves on timing of plant selection not selling the wrong plant at the wrong time. It can be said often big box stores sell according to national weather not local microclimates. Plant variety selection is critical because soil conditions are unique as well in the Pine Belt.

So where is the people part in this horticulture career? Ricky works with his father Philip daily along with other employees. He has a home not too far away with a wife and three precious children. At work, the daily interaction with the customers brings satisfaction with the variety of individuals. In time getting to know them personally, insures a good relationship and successful growing of their gardens or farms. A hope, we can all share is the continued success of 3rd generation family business. You can do your part by shopping and being a loyal customer to businesses like Adams Nursery & Garden center. Their location is 224 Caterville Rd., Petal and phone number 601 582 1138. At Adams, you can be sure they are knowledgeable and always have something good to grow along with supplies that you made need.

By:  Jimmy Delery