PRESS RELEASE The Results Are In: Best of Mississippi



Caroline Burks

Laurel Main Street

(601) 433-3255


Laurel Winners and M-Listers in Mississippi Magazine’s 2022 Awards

Laurel, MS––May 4, 2022–– Laurel Main Street is proud to announce multiple

members’ success in Mississippi Magazine’s Annual Best of Mississippi Awards. With

over 20 businesses nominated in Laurel, the town performed well in the competition.

The Best of Mississippi Awards recognizes Mississippi businesses in several categories

such as, Dining, Fashion, Specialty Retail, Homes and Gardens, Health and Beauty,

and Activities. There are sub-categories within for businesses and events to be

nominated for, then Mississippians put it to a vote.

Winning Laurel Main Street Members:

Best Furniture Store– Lott Furniture Co.

Best Fine Paper Goods– Be Amazing Paper Co.

Best Home Decor Resale & Consignment– The Remnant

Best Flea Market– Peddler’s Junktion

Laurel Main Street Members Featured on the MList:

Lee’s Coffee & Tea, Sweet Somethings Bakery, Gecko’s Fresh Eats, The Bookstore in

the Window, Guild & Gentry, and Laurel Mercantile Co.

Laurel Main Street would like to congratulate not just our members but all businesses

recognized in Jones County!

STATEMENT: Laurel Main Street Welcomes New Executive Director

Laurel Main Street

542 Central Avenue Suite 1

Laurel, MS 39440

(601) 433-3255


[Laurel, MS–May 3, 2022]  Today, our organization has an important announcement regarding the position of our Executive Director. On behalf of our Board of Directors, we would like to bid Susan Ladd, our now former Executive Director, a fond farewell as she relinquishes the duties of her position at Laurel Main Street. In tandem, we would like to extend a warm welcome to Caroline Burks, our new Executive Director in interim.


Susan has served Laurel Main Street since September of 2020 after moving to Laurel with her husband, Seth. Earlier this year, Seth and Susan welcomed a baby boy into their family, resulting in a call home for Susan. 


We are grateful for the time we had with Susan, as well as all of her hard work while she served as Executive Director. As an organization, we offer our well-wishes and hopes for her future as a new mother.


Effective today, the Board of Directors has voted in Caroline Burks to fill this position in the interim. Prior, Caroline has served as a member of our Board of Directors, as Secretary on our Executive Committee, and as a member of the Promotions Committee. Caroline is also the President of Junior Auxiliary of Laurel, a member of Laurel Arts League, and a member of the Promotions Committee of the Jones County Chamber of Commerce. She also is the owner of Downtown small business, “Guild & Gentry”. 


“Laurel Main Street has always been close to my heart because of its commitment to both the community and small businesses, and I am so honored to be an advocate for all our merchants, partners, and stakeholders as the interim executive director of LMS.” Caroline Burks, Executive Director

Caroline Burks, Executive Director


Eagerly, we share this good news and look forward to the future of our organization with Caroline as our new Executive Director. We will continue in our best effort to support a vibrant and sustainable Downtown Laurel by means of design, promotion, organization, and economic vitality. 

Lee Bounds

President, Laurel Main Street

PRESS RELEASE: Ready, Set, Boil Community Bank’s Crawfest


Contact: Susan Ladd

Laurel Main Street

(601) 433-3255


Co-Hosted by Laurel Main Street and Sertoma of Laurel

Laurel, MS––April 14, 2022–– Laurel Main Street is proud to present the annual return of Community Bank’s Crawfest in Downtown Laurel. The event begins at 11:00 AM on Saturday, April 23rd and ends at 3:00 PM. Entry will be at the corner of West Oak Street and Front Street, with live music, beverages, and tasting tents expanding down Front Street.

Tickets can be purchased on-site or online through Laurel Main Street’s website or Facebook page. Tickets are $15 for general tasting, and a $30 ticket adds 5 pounds of crawfish and add-ins to take home.

Both tickets allow attendees to browse teams and taste any crawfish or add-ins, so that they may vote for the People’s Choice of best overall boil. Official judges for the event will choose the winners for other categories, and awards will be announced at 2:30 PM.

If you’d like to enter your team in the competition, please visit to find information, as well as a link to purchase tickets. Prizes for the winning teams are generously provided by Community Bank.

Attendees, please be aware that pets are not allowed at Crawfest, but are allowed Downtown and in many businesses in the area. Please remember to clean up after your furry friends!

Founded in 2007, Laurel Main Street is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to revitalizing historic downtown Laurel, MS through preservation and economic growth. To learn more about Laurel Main Street, please visit

PRESS RELEASE: Laurel Main Street’s First Wine Down Downtown of 2022



Susan Ladd

Laurel Main Street

(601) 433-3255

“Wine” Down in Downtown Laurel

Laurel Main Street’s First Wine Down Downtown of 2022

Laurel, MS––March 14, 2022–– Laurel Main Street is bringing back Wine Down Downtown for its 4th annual season. The Spring dates are on the following Friday evenings– March 25th, April 8th, and May 13th from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

Entry is $15 for a collectible wine tumbler and wine tastings at over 20 “Wine Stops” in town. Even more businesses will be open with special events and sales including some great eateries.

Not a wine-drinker? Guests are welcome to enjoy the festivities without the wine or to enjoy a to-go alcoholic beverage from one of the eateries in the “Sip ‘N’ Stroll” leisure district. Stop at Trustmark Art Park at the intersection of Oak Street and North Magnolia Street for live music by The Classix in March and April, and Attic Revival in May.

The check-ins will be at the intersection of North Magnolia Street and Central Avenue and the other on Front Street by Laurel Mercantile Co. Guests can buy tickets on-site or online. Visit for tickets and more details on the event.

Enjoy more fun by playing Wine Down Bingo for a chance to win a $50 gift card to the business of your choice on Central Avenue! Guests can pick up a bingo card from either Laurel Main Street check-in and get it stamped at every business listed. Turn it in to the band before 7:30 and listen to see if you’re the lucky winner!

Founded in 2007, Laurel Main Street is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to revitalizing historic downtown Laurel, MS through preservation and economic growth. To learn more about Laurel Main Street, please visit

PRESS RELEASE: Laurel Main Street Receives Pine Belt PRAM Public Image Award




Ashley Rea



Pine Belt Public Relations Association of Mississippi Awards Local Professionals

HATTIESBURG, Miss.(February 25, 2022) — The region’s best public relations professionals were recently honored for their achievements by the Pine Belt Chapter of the Public Relations Association of Mississippi. The awards, bestowed annually at Pine Belt PRAM’s awards banquet, recognize outstanding work in the field of public relations and celebrate select individuals for their contributions to the profession. This year’s event was held at the Ogletree House on the University of Southern Mississippi’s campus on Tuesday, Feb. 22.

“Public relations practitioners work tirelessly behind-the-scenes to help their organizations thrive in spite of challenges like a global pandemic,” said Pine Belt PRAM awards chair, Marissa Landon. “These awards allow us to recognize their efforts and the skills required to achieve success, but also reward the technical proficiency in the four-step process that is the foundation of any productive campaign.”

Sanderson Farms was awarded the competition’s highest honor as the judges’ choice recipient for their wage increase campaign, a strategic integrated communications program launched in 2021 when the company awarded hourly employees across-the-board wage increases. The nation’s third largest poultry producer’s corporate communication team also received SPARK Awards from the association for the same campaign and a long-term employee education campaign regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The entry selected as the Judge’s Choice Award winner demonstrated an expert-level understanding of using the public relations process for a successful campaign,” said the judging panel from the Starkville/Mississippi State University chapter of PRAM. “Excellent writing made the reader care about the issue at hand and want to know more about how public relations practitioners tackled the challenge.”

Other SPARK Award recipients were the Office of University Communications at the University of Southern Mississippi for their “Back in Black and Gold” campaign and the City of Laurel for their “Fill the Cup: Combating Compassion Fatigue” campaign. Also among the practitioners honored was Jessica Breazeale, receiving a Certificate of Merit for the Mississippi Health Ambassador Initiative on behalf of the Mississippi State Department of Health.

In addition to SPARK Awards, which are evaluated amongst the member organizations who submit public relations entries, Pine Belt PRAM recognizes three chapter award winners annually from member nominations. Ashley Rea, 2021 vice president of programs and incoming president for Pine Belt PRAM, received the chapter’s highest honor as she was named the 2021 William E. “Bud” Kirkpatrick Practitioner of the Year.

“It is always an honor to be recognized among your peers, and this award is certainly no exception,” said Rea, chapter and multi-SPARK Award recipient and manager of communication at Sanderson Farms. “I have been involved in this organization since 2017, and I have learned so much from these talented practitioners in such a short period of time. I look forward to witnessing what the future holds for this inspiring organization and its members.”

Recognizing achievement in the field of public relations for nominees with five or more years of experience, recipients of the William E. “Bud” Kirkpatrick Practitioner of the Year award have contributed to the success of the chapter, PRAM and the Southern Public Relations Federation, and have realized success in the practice or teaching of public relations. The award was named after PRAM founding member, Bud Kirkpatrick, who also holds the distinction of being the longest continuous serving employee in the history of USM with 45 years of service.

In addition, Southern Miss Alumni Association assistant director for constituent relations, Anthony Palazzolo, was named the recipient of the chapter’s Burlain O’Neal Professional Promise Award, which is presented to an individual who has practiced public relations for less than five years or is a student currently enrolled in a public relations curriculum and showing considerable promise in the field. The final chapter award, the Pine Belt Image Award, was presented to the Laurel Main Street organization for their promotion and downtown revitalization of Laurel, Mississippi.

“Laurel Main Street is honored to be recognized by the Pine Belt chapter of PRAM,” said Keri Rowell, promotion committee chair and board member for Laurel Main Street. “We hope that our dedication to the revitalization of Downtown Laurel can be an inspiration for all to support our community.”

In an effort to promote the practice of public relations, Pine Belt PRAM presents scholarships to deserving students in the public relations field. Alyssa Schiaffino, a junior at USM majoring in public relations and advertising, was awarded the organization’s William E. “Bud” Kirkpatrick Scholarship. Schiaffino comes highly recommended by her professors who recognize her unwavering drive and passion for the field of publication relations.

“To me, receiving this scholarship is an honor and a steppingstone toward a future career in the public relations field,” said Schiaffino. “This recognition has given me more confidence in the skills I am developing and in my hard work.”

Outgoing Pine Belt PRAM president, Brittney Dykes, closed out her presidential duties at the awards ceremony by presenting Jonah Taylor, 2021 director of social media and website for the chapter, with the organization’s President’s Award. Given annually by the chapter president, this award recognizes service to the association including, in this case, developing innovative and engaging social media content and launching a new website for the organization.

During the awards ceremony, the chapter’s 2022 board of directors were sworn in to the association by current PRAM president, Amanda Parker, public relations specialist at Singing River Electric. Board members are as follows: Ashley Rea, president; Brittney Dykes, interim vice president of programs, past president and state board representative; Marissa Landon, vice president of membership; Matt Martin, treasurer; Kat Romero, APR, director of communications; Shelby York, director of social media and website; Anthony Palazzolo, scholarship and student affairs chair; April Jordan, community action chair; Vanessa Henson, awards chair; Jessica Breazeale, APR, professional development chair; and Caitlin Bradshaw, secretary and treasurer understudy.

Pine Belt PRAM is an affiliate of the statewide Public Relations Association of Mississippi, serving practitioners and students in the Hattiesburg-Laurel area with professional development opportunities aimed at enhancing and growing individual skill sets, contributing to the expanding science of public relations policies and practices. Chapter meetings are held virtually on the third Tuesday of each month. Visit for more information.