After working together at another local company, Nathanael McDaniel and his business partner decided to go into business for themselves to form a web design/software development company. Although that endeavor was hit or miss for the past few years, the two began to get bigger clients began to look for a place to set up permanent shop.So when Jensen Computers left their mainstay at 511 South Main Street in Petal to focus on work at the Petal School District, McDaniel and his partner knew they had found the perfect location. That resulted in the August 16 founding of Boone Studios, Petal’s newest professional computer services business. McDaniel recently took time over the phone to answer some questions about his business and what it means to be a new entrepreneur in the City of Petal.
Petal Area Chamber of Commerce: What kind of services do you offer?
McDaniel: We don’t only offer just computer repair and the standard stuff that one would expect in a computer repair shop. We cater to customers in our software division for geospatial imagery, e-commerce – basically anything. We develop mobile apps, desktop apps, websites, anything like that. And in this location, we offer computer repair and training services, so if you have any questions about technology, or you want to learn how to use certain services like Facebook or anything like that, we show you how to do it.
Q: Being a new business in the city, what made you want to join the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce, and what benefits have you seen from that membership so far?
A: I actually have been familiar with (chamber director) Mrs. Valerie Wilson for a couple of years, and our former business partner was Will Smith, and we actually met her through him. When he passed away … we had to look at what we could gain from either trying to do all of the sales ourself, or trying to join an organization in the community. At the time, it really wasn’t a viable option for us, because I was really doing all the work out of my house, but when we got this business location, I knew that it would be beneficial for us to grow and to meet other businesses and individuals that sponsor the chamber.
Q: Although you’ve only been in this location since August, has Petal’s moniker as The Friendly City proven true to you as a business owner?
A: So far. I’ve lived in Petal my whole life, and it’s kind of funny because when people come in here, they always talk about how friendly the Jensens were and how friendly their service was. When they closed, one of them had to go out to west Hattiesburg for business, and some customers have noted that it’s like night and day – businesses around here are a lot nicer and they’re a lot friendlier. I’m not saying anything bad about Hattiesburg – I love Hattiesburg – but we have people come from west Hattiesburg that would rather come here than there.
Q: What do you see for the future of your business here in Petal?
A: I do like the location we’re in, and we plan on getting the location outright. But instead of moving out of state like we could – we have an office location in Pensacola and another one in north Mississippi – I would much rather build our two-story or three-story office building here in Petal. I would rather stay here; that’s our future. We would rather keep individuals in the city, or keep individuals in the state because Mississippi is well-known for its brain drain. I know a lot of people that I went to high school or college with that want to get into this industry … and we’re hoping to provide that here.