SHOP PETAL FIRST – TEAMING UP TO BOOST OUR ECONOMY

August is here, the kids are back in school, football season is in the air and the Petal chamber is starting preparations for Shop Petal First.  This will mark our 17th year of creating a great event for shoppers and our merchants.  Shop Petal First is always held on the weekend prior to Thanksgiving.  In the very early years, the reasoning was that little ole Petal had to do something to keep our shoppers in Petal rather than going to the retailers in Hattiesburg.  At that time, our merchants were unable to compete with the big box retailers and their Black Friday specials after Thanksgiving.  So, we chose to set our date the week prior to Thanksgiving….shop petal first.

Needless to say, Petal has grown and we are able to hold our own in the retail market.  However, there is one nagging truth that cannot be ignored.  AMAZON.

There’s no way around it — the last year was rough for retail. It’s about a little company in Seattle called Amazon, which is steadily eating the world of retail. And when I say eating, I mean in one bite.  What does the future hold for retailers large and small? The tea leaves point to three major developments.

  • Changing demographics are a key driver here
  • Enhanced retail experiences and the total journey
  • Understanding, and designing to support the customers’ behavior

What do you do when facing a vastly stronger competitor? You team up. Alliances grow among business that are like-minded, but not competitive.  That is precisely what Shop Petal First is in 2018.  Our retailers are adapting their playbooks and working together to create a shopping and dining experience that is ultimately much more enjoyable than 1-click shopping.  Mark your calendar for November 15-17 and shop petal first.

 

WOW! IT WAS STUNNING!

I can’t say enough about the success of our Star Spangled Celebration on the River.  The weather was perfect, the vendors were wonderful, the music was super, the crowd was huge and the fireworks were stunning.  Most of all, we had a great time.  The estimate is that there were between 4,000 – 5,000 at the Petal River Park.  We were hoping for 1,500.  This event was a year in the planning.  It was a pleasure to work with our friends across the river in Hattiesburg.  Kudos to the city of Hattiesburg, the city of Petal, and Forrest County for providing the resources necessary to make this a family friendly, safe event for everyone.  The support from VisitHattiesburg and the ADP was invaluable. And I can’t leave out my great friend, Andrea Saffle, director of the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association for her enthusiasm, experience and great humor.

If I learned anything, it is that our community loves to get together and celebrate with each other. It’s heartwarming to see kids playing and families listening music while enjoying good ole fair food.  We need more of this!  But, there is the reality that it costs a lot of money and requires a lot of planning and a hoard of volunteers.  Please support and thank our sponsors who made this possible.  Here is a list.  They all deserve a big pat on the back and your loyalty.

Coca-Cola of Hattiesburg, The First, IHeart Radio, Grove Transit, Gulfsouth Productions, Visit Hattiesburg, Party Box Rentals, Fairley Construction, Dandy Dan’s Smith Petroleum, Mississippi Power, Bourne Brothers, Chick Fil A, Signs First, Keith’s Superstores, Grand Bank, Magnolia State Bank, Trustmark Bank, Central Sunbelt FCU, Carter’s Jewelers, American Graphics, A-1 Grapics, Puckett Rents, Hancock Whitney Bank, Taylor Rental, Stokes Distributing and Southern Beverage.

The volunteers were the heart of this event.  I know that I will leave someone out, but I will attempt to list all of the fabulous groups that gave up their opportunity to relax and enjoy the evening.  Thank you to the Cosmopolitan Club of Petal, the Petal Jaycees, the Petal High School Ambassadors, The 177th Armored Division of Camp Shelby, Dick Pryzbelski, David Ruffin, Zach Vaughn, David Bassett, many individuals and the board of directors of the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce.

As we plan for next year, please consider being a part of the event as a sponsor or volunteer.  It takes all of us!

 

STAR SPANGLED CELEBRATION ON THE RIVER

We are in the final stages of planning for the “Star Spangled Celebration on the River by Coca-Cola.” This seeds of this project started in July of 2017 during a discussion with Andrea Saffle, director of the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association. Andrea and I (Valerie) were considering events that we could sponsor together to promote our cities and our organizations in a mutually beneficial way. “FIREWORKS!” Everyone loves fireworks! And so it began.

This event has taken on a life of its own. Thanks to our generous sponsors, Coca-Cola, The First, City of Petal, City of Hattiesburg and Forrest County Board of Supervisors we were able to launch the event and reach out to additional sponsors. On Tuesday, July 3 from 5:00-10:00 pm there will be live music, food vendors, kid’s inflatables, and more at the Petal River Park and Hattiesburg’s Chain Park, culminating in a grand fireworks display at 9:00.

Here are some practical suggestions to make your evening more enjoyable. There will be secure parking on the Petal side of the river at the old fairgrounds location for $5.00 (cash only) per vehicle. This will be the closest location to the event for parking. It may fill up quickly. It would be great if area churches would use their small buses to transport groups from the church parking lot to the park.

It will be HOT. There’s no way around it. Dress appropriately and don’t forget the sunscreen. The Petal River Park is on the river in the Deep South… there will be mosquitoes! Bring repellant if you want to ward off the nasty critters. Ice chests are allowed, however, it may be difficult to carry them from parking locations. We will have lots of food and beverage vendors in the park to handle your hunger and thirst! Small tents are acceptable but they will need to be taken down prior to the fireworks in order to allow great viewing for all guests. Lawn chairs and blankets are allowed and encouraged.

The Petal side of the river will be alcohol free. The Hattiesburg side will be selling beer. If that makes a difference, choose your side accordingly.

Most importantly, for this event to grow and become an annual tradition, we need to support it! Please support the sponsors and thank them! Support the vendors so they will come back. Support the volunteers, police, firefighters, and city personnel that are critical for success. Spread the word and enjoy the fireworks!

June Farmer’s Market

The first Farmer’s Market of the year was held on April 21 with over 35 vendors selling their wares. On May 19, the market had grown to over 50 vendors on site. The June Farmer’s Market will be held on June 16, the day before Father’s Day. This will be the largest market to date with vendors still signing up and will also feature an antique car show plus live entertainment.

In fact,  Central Avenue in front of the market will be closed to traffic to provide a safer and more enjoyable experience. The car show will be held in the parking lot in front of the Petal Middle School gymnasium and the market will be directly across the street. Special entertainment for the kids, and the young at heart, will feature Unkle Hokum and band. Feel free to bring a lawn chair to enjoy the concert.

It’s exciting to see so many people in downtown Petal enjoying the market and the experience. It’s our hope that the market will continue to grow and flourish. Special thanks goes to Tabitha Burden of Grand Central Outfitters for opening her doors, literally, to help organize the market. More thanks to Charlotte Ford of Laughing Doves Farm for her expertise and help organizing. And, many thanks to the volunteers from the Petal Jaycees for their help every week. Rev. Bill Burk of Calvary Baptist Church, thank you for your help. Most importantly, thanks to the City of Petal, Mayor Marx, the Petal Aldermen, Police and Fire Departments, Recreation Dept. and Street Department for their support.

Get ready for the biggest event of the year!

It’s been too long since we have had a 4th of July fireworks celebration in Petal.  We WILL have one this year and it will be bigger and better than ever because we will be joining our friends across the river.  For the first time in recent memory, the City of Petal, the City of Hattiesburg and the Forrest County Board of Supervisors are sponsoring an event together along with presenting sponsor Coca Cola.  The Star Spangled Celebration on the River is organized by the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce and the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association with a goal to bring visitors from across the area to our cities and to offer a first class, family friendly event for all to enjoy.

It is a truly unique event offering two locations across the river from each other.  Let’s call it dueling fireworks!  In Hattiesburg the event is located at Chain Park and in Petal it will be at the Petal River Park.  Each side of the river will have live music, food vendors, beverages and each side will have a simultaneous fireworks display over the river at 9:00 pm.  One difference is that the Petal side of the river will remain alcohol free while the Hattiesburg side will have beer sales on site.

From the chamber’s point of view, this is about more than fireworks.  It’s about two cities and the county cooperating together.  It’s about promoting a great natural resource, the Leaf River.  It’s about introducing visitors to Chain Park and the Petal River Park. Both are wonderful parks that are virtually unknown and under utilized.  It’s about the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce and the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association joining forces to organize an event that is all inclusive and which benefits both cities and organizations.  Finally, it’s about pride.  Pride for our country, our state, our county, our cities and our quality of life here.

Sponsorships are available for the celebration as well as opportunities for select vendors.  Call the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce for more information.  601-583-3306.

 

 

It’s what you’ve been waiting for!

The revival of the Petal Farmer’s market is apparently what many have been waiting for.  Over 30 vendors were on hand for the first market of 2018.  It was a smashing success!  The amazing thing is that the fresh produce is still yet to come.  Cool weather this spring has delayed many crops.  But, that didn’t bother the hundreds that came to the market last week.

The Petal fire department brought the BIG firetruck for the kid’s to explore. Live rabbits and chickens brought smiles to all of the children and the variety of booths brought smiles to their parents.  Live music and food vendors rounded out a wonderful day of family friendly fun.

Plan on the market expanding every week and make it a part of your plans for the 3rd Saturday of the month.   More produce and vendors will be coming on board as the season progresses.

Petal Farmer’s Market – It’s Back!

WOW!  Petal is excited about the return of our Farmer’s Market.  There will be a few changes to the market….for the better we hope.  Not only will the market offer fresh produce and products from locally grown fruits and vegetables, but it will also offer art, crafts, homemade soaps, food vendors, entertainment and more!  It will also be much more visible.  The new location is on Central Avenue directly across the street from the Petal Middle School gymnasium.

The market will be open on the 3rd Saturday of each month beginning on April 21 and lasting through the growing season.  On April 21, the Petal Fire Department will have a fire truck on hand for children to investigate.  Also, look for the live animals for the kids to see.  Every weekend will have unique activities for the family to enjoy.

Help us grow the market by supporting the vendors and visiting every weekend.  The market welcomes church and civic groups that would like to sell items for fundraising.  Those interested in participating as a vendor can pick up an application at Grand Central Outfitters located at 126 E. Central Avenue.  You can also call the chamber office to have a form emailed to you.  See you at the market!

Petal Chamber and Petal Jaycees Partner together

The Petal Area Chamber of Commerce and Petal Jaycees have announced a new partnership.  The Petal Jaycees will act as the official Junior Chamber and Young Professionals Network for the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce.

This partnership will help us to create a more engaged and active group of young professional in our Chamber and community.  The Petal Area chamber of Commerce recognizes the need for leadership and growth opportunities for young professionals in the Petal area. It also realizes that the Jaycee organization was founded to do just that, as the Junior Chamber (JC) it promotes the leadership skills within each member utilizing Management, Individual, Community and Membership development. Rather that duplicating the programs that the Jaycee organization has 97 years of history in accomplishing these goals, the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce would like to promote the Petal Jaycee chapter as its Young Professional program in order to develop the future leaders of Petal, as well as to support an organization that commits to the betterment of our community.

The Petal Jaycees are actively recruiting young citizens ages 18-40 with energy and insight to become a part of their organization.  

This partnership is going to be a valuable benefit to members of both organizations.  It will provide many opportunities to the up-and-coming generation of business and community leaders while providing meaningful relationships with the established network of Chamber members.  The Petal Jaycees will have access to all chamber events to promote the Jaycee organization.  In addition, the chamber will help promote the Petal Jaycee events through its website, Facebook, and newsletter.

The Petal Jaycees will make a yearlong commitment to a community project in Petal and donate at least 50 hours of service throughout the year.  It’s definitely a  WIN-WIN situation.  Interested individuals may call 601-909-8022 for more information.  You may also find them on Facebook at Petal Jaycees.

We are looking forward to working together for Petal!

It’s Time to Put Petal on the Map

Actually, it’s time for Petal to have a new city map.  The chamber office and city hall are completely out of maps and have been for quite a while.  The chamber board of directors have discussed this issue several times over the past 4 years.  It was the consensus that people don’t use printed maps anymore. We believed that instead they rely on GPS technology to get them from point A to point B.  However, that is not the case.  The chamber office has had consistent requests for a city map for the past few years.

The fact is that a map is not about how to get from one point to another.  People look at maps to get an overview of the entire area.  They want to get familiarized.

So, we are moving ahead with the publication of a new map.  But wait, this project will have some additional perks that keep up with newer technologies.  There will be an interactive iMap for mobile devices. Anyone can use the iMap to find restaurants, shopping areas, local parks and recreation areas.  Advertisers in the digital GoGuide® will be linked to their website, giving readers one-click access to your business.

We are pleased to announce our new partnership with Lunar Cow Publishing, a firm specializing in marketing, for the 2018 Petal Area Chamber of Commerce Map. We are excited about the opportunities this new map will offer to our local businesses.  The 2018 Petal Area Chamber of Commerce Map is a primary fulfillment piece for chamber inquiries and will be the first resource that many visitors, community and business members use when planning a visit or move to the Petal area.   Click on the link below for more  information and a rate chart.  Get your business on the map!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A RATE CARD!

Welcome to the new home of the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce!

New Website for PACC

New Website

At the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce, we believe strongly in a very bright future for the City of Petal!

Our goal is serve our city and our members by providing strong leadership for those who would seek to grow, live or play in Petal, MS. In order to achieve this goal, we know that we must be continually looking ahead, solving big problems, and providing the very best resources for all we serve.

Over the past months, we have partnered with Own Your Hill, a Mississippi Growth Marketing company, to help us develop strategies and marketing assets that will allow us to better serve our members, to reach more people who might be interested in investing in our community, and to help us show the world the immense value of Petal as a business location, a home, and a travel destination.

Our new website is a puzzle piece in this new strategy for long-term growth. Here, you’ll find great statistics about The Friendly City, coupled with information and resources categorized to best serve our visitors seeking to grow here, live here and play here.

Bethany Byrd, founder and lead strategist for Own Your Hill, explains; “The new PACC website was created to lead its visitors down a clear path towards the very best answer to their question. Whatever their goal, they’ll find it easily, and walk away with a clearer and more positive view of The Friendly City. We are proud to partner with the chamber and the City of Petal as we work to grow this beautiful Mississippi small town, and we are excited to be a part of helping others to see that Petal is truly a place like no other.”

A new identity for the PACC, and a clear path forward.

Before work on the new website and other marketing materials began, we spent time going through a Roadmapping process – a strategy method designed to help us find the deeper story behind the PACC, as well as the City of Petal. What we found was that our citizens and chamber members believe deeply in the value of family, traditions, and educational and entreprenurial success.

Guided by our story and values, Bethany and her team designed a new visual identity that calls to mind past eras where family dinner was a priority, Friday nights were sacred, and a letterman jacket signified more than athletic success – it was a visual reminder of the value of team spirit, hard work and the dream of a bright future.

Our new brand signifies a new day for the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce. We invite you to join us as we work to grow our beautiful town, and we hope you’ll be a part of all that is to come.

Sign up for email updates to be the first to know about great events right here in Petal, updates about The Friendly City and so much more!

– Valerie Wilson, PACC Executive Director