#ShopSmall with Us on Small Business Saturday – November 25th

The #ShopSmall Movement is Coming to The City Beautiful!

For decades we’ve rushed off to the big chain stores on Black Friday to crowd the aisles in search of that one great deal, or this year’s must-have Christmas toy.

Sometimes, in the excitement of it all, we forget that some of our most enjoyable shopping experiences were found at a local shop, far from the hustle and bustle of the crowded department stores.

Small business owners pour their hearts into every detail of their business.  They strive to create an enjoyable and unforgettable shopping experience for their guests.  Now it’s time to celebrate these entrepreneurs who put so much love into every detail of their business and the experiences they provide for their customers.  

On November 25th, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we will celebrate Small Business Saturday.

Be a Part of the #ShopSmall Movement

On November 25th businesses all over Downtown Laurel will not only open their doors, but will welcome shoppers with special events, giveaways, promotions and more! 

Business owners, As a Laurel Main Street member your business can join the #shopsmall movement and receive the attention of our nationwide audience as well as customized promotional tools and tips. You don’t have to be a Main Street member to participate, but we’d love to have you as a part of our #shopsmall team.

Shoppers, do you believe in supporting small businesses?  The #shopsmall movement is a great way for you to support local entrepreneurs while enjoying a unique shopping experience. The effect of an event like Small Business Saturday has a direct impact on the goals and dreams of local folks just like you. When you support Laurel’s small business owners, you’re telling them that you appreciate the work they are doing to further our city’s growth, and that you believe in them. So invite friends to shop with you.  Share your shopping experiences on social media using the hashtag #shopsmall.  Let small business owners know you value their efforts.     Shop Small

Why #ShopSmall?

The impact of an event like Small Business Saturday can’t be limited to a tally of a single day’s sales, or a list of great deals. The value of an event like this represents something much bigger — an appreciation and support of small business owners, and the impact on the local economy.

Small businesses help communities thrive.  There are 252,019 small businesses operating in Mississippi.  They make up 99.3% of all businesses in our state.  Small businesses in Mississippi created over 5,000 new jobs in 2014 alone.  That means that almost half of all employees in the state of Mississippi work for a small business.  Small businesses help ensure local economies stay strong and vibrant.  When small businesses succeed, we all do.

Consider this: When you spend $100 at a locally-owned small business, $68 stays in the local economy. Compare that to the same $100 spent at a chain store where only $43 remains locally. With the average American shopper likely to spend over $684 on holiday gifts this year, shopping at independent businesses in your hometown has the potential to make a major impact on the health of the local economy.

As the official Neighborhood Champion for Laurel’s Small Business Saturday, Laurel Main Street has worked to bring together an incredible group of local retailers who are ready to welcome you during the November 25th event!

So join us on Small Business Saturday to get great deals, find some incredible,unique local gifts, and enjoy a fun shopping experience, but, most importantly – to support the folks who are trying to make a difference for our city!

Small Business Saturday is a national initiative aimed at helping local businesses compete during the critical holiday shopping season and aims to drive shoppers to local small merchants the Saturday following Thanksgiving.  More than 100 million Americans shopped small on Small Business Saturday last year.  Join the movement and shop local on November 25th this year!

#ShopSmall #ShopLocal #ShopLaurel

Loblolly: The Power of the Historical Name

If you’ve ever stepped foot in or near Laurel, Mississippi when the pollen is falling in sheets and buckets, then you’ve experienced an integral part of being a true southerner — the love (and hate) of the southern pine tree.

The tall, resilient pine has long been the backdrop of the storied history of Laurel, Mississippi.

The Town That Timber Built

As the Eastmans, Gardiners and Rogers came in from Iowa to settle right here in Jones County it was the tall, swaying, yellow pines surrounded by beautiful, flowering Laurel bushes that inspired them to stay.

Industry – and the livelihoods it provided – was beckoning to their entrepreneurial souls, and soon The Eastman-Gardiner Lumber Co. was founded and Laurel became the yellow pine capital of the world.

The history of Laurel, MS Central Ave in Historical Laurel, MS


Like many great innovators before him, John Lindsey watched the progress of the ever-growing lumber town. He recognized a need and created a way to solve it. Soon, The 8-wheeled Lindsey Log Wagon was patented and folks from all over the world came to hear of a little town in South Mississippi.

Next, Laurel Machine & Foundry was created to supply parts for the wagon and William H. Mason invented a process to create a hardboard from the waste provided by the mills, supplying the little piney woods town with more jobs and more opportunities for growth.

The History of Masonite Corporation

Each inspiration, each problem solved was another brick laid in the bustling streets of a town on the rise. Laurel owes its foundation and its very spirit to the yellow Loblolly pine and those who saw ever-present opportunity even as the pollen covered their boots.

Be a #LoblollyLover and join us on Saturday, October 7, 2017 for a celebration of heritage in the town that timber built.


Laurel, MS is Home to State’s Only Maker Camp©



Rhye or Jenny McLeod

(601) 580-8773


Laurel, MS is Home to State’s Only Maker Camp©

Laurel, MS — July 5, 2017 — Central Creativity has been designated as an official Maker Camp©, making it the only Maker Camp in the state of Mississippi.  Maker Camp is part of Maker Media, which includes Make: magazine and Maker Faire®.  Each organization is rigorously evaluated throughout a six-month process before being awarded affiliate status.

Maker Camps can be found around the world. Many libraries, makerspaces, and community centers are hosting Maker Camps.  Maker Camp provides simple, fun ways for kids to get involved in MAKING.  Over 1 million kids have participated in Maker Camp since it launched in 2012.

The Maker Movement is a growing movement in education.  It offers students the chance to work with new technological materials, while providing expanded opportunities and learning through firsthand experience. It’s bringing electronics, programming, and computational mathematics together in meaningful ways. It’s more than just high-tech gadgetry, though. It’s about “hands-on” crafting, and the discovery process that occurs when we create and evaluate.  The Maker Movement overlaps with the natural curious inclinations of children and the power of learning by doing.  In short, The Maker Movement incorporates the arts, engineering, and science in a cooperative learning environment.

“What you see in the Maker Movement is a wide range of people, young and old, who are developing their talents and discovering new ways to solve interesting, everyday problems by working together on projects. Making is a meaningful form of personal expression that fosters creativity, builds community and encourages the collaborative practice of innovation.”

Dale Dougherty, Founder & CEO, Make:

Central Creativity is a dynamic, innovative learning facility that provides immersive instruction in art, music, drama, craft, science, culinary arts, math, engineering, technology, reading, and writing for students in grades PreK-12.  All members of our faculty are dedicated education professionals who employ a student-focused, energetic approach to teaching that sparks critical, creative, and imaginative thinking.  The goal of Central Creativity is to empower the minds of Mississippi’s bright young learners so they can become champions of critical and creative thought in our community and beyond. 

Central Creativity’s Summer Camp series launches July 10th. Visit www.centralcreativity.com to enroll.

Oak Street Salon: We’re at Your Service

Friends With a Common Dream

With over 30 years of combined experience, Oak Street Salon is the go-to house of style in the business district of Historic Downtown Laurel.  Owners, Deidra Maddox and Betty Gaudet met more than 20 years ago while working at a salon together, and have been a dynamic duo ever since. Throughout many years of working at different places in town, thOak Street Salon opened in Downtown Laureley always dreamed of owning their own business together.  Nearly three years ago, they took the plunge and opened their business on Oak Street in Downtown Laurel. Their vision for the future is simple; hold your business accountable to the reputation you have created for yourself.

At Your Service

Business owners, Deidra and Betty, take pride in the special services they provide their clients.  The pair specialize in the latest trends for cuts, colors, hair treatments, waxing, manicures, and pedicures. They also cater to their clientele by offering valet parking to those in need, booking early morning and late evening appointments, and working in walk-ins.  Oak Street Salon places true meaning behind the term “at your service.”

Oak Street Salon’s clientele spans generations.  Deidra and Betty have come to think of their clients as an extension of their own families as well.  With all the combined experience and expertise of the stylists at the salon, there is no new trend or style that Oak Street Salon can’t perfect. The key to their success is to treat everyone like family. When it comes to service, they truly believe in the benefits found in staying in touch with the younger generation, along with learning valuable lessons from the older generations as well. Oak Street Salon will always provide an open, welcoming environment for all their clientele, and look forward to their bright future downtown!

Legacy & Leadership: Misty’s The House of Style

When I was in high school, I was Jones County’s Jr. Miss, and I was invited to every ribbon cutting and ground breaking ceremony in the county.  One of my favorite events to attend was the ribbon cutting for Misty’s The House of Style.  I remember watching the construction of the store with my youth group from our Sunday night hangout, McAlister’s Deli, next door.  The instant I walked into Misty’s store, I knew I was some place special.  Not only were there beautiful clothes and creative store displays everywhere I turned, but there was such a warm and welcoming atmosphere too.  Five years later, I was preparing for the Miss Mississippi pageant and Misty helped me find the perfect outfits and accessories for arrivals and autographs parties. And in 2006, when I got married, Misty’s came to my rescue once again. Hers was the only store in town that carried Spanx at the time, and I can honestly say, there would not have been a wedding without them.

Anytime I’ve shopped at Misty’s I left her store feeling more confident than when I arrived.  It takes a special person to make others feel that way. Her demeanor has permeated her staff as well, making Misty’s a true shopping destination.

Read our interview below and you’ll see just why Misty Foster is a leader in our community and her brand leaves a legacy for other retail stores to aspire to.

What is Misty’s?

Misty’s is an upscale women’s clothing store.  Here at Misty’s, we pride ourselves on our dedication to our clients by offering the utmost customer service.  It’s known that we go the extra mile for all of our customers.  Not only do we sell good quality clothing, but we also offer in-store alterations on items purchased here.  You will never purchase a gift here and be charged for gift wrapping.  When shopping at Misty’s, you can always count on a friendly smile and a hug around the neck.

How did Misty’s begin?

As a young girl, I always envisioned myself as a dentist, which is totally crazy because I’m very fearful of having dental work done. While in college at The University of Southern Mississippi, I changed my major from science to fashion merchandising and marketing. While in college, I worked in several retail stores and loved it. After I graduated from college, I was hired by Mrs. Joy Roberts to work at her store, Roberts, in the North Laurel Shopping Center. I had the best experience working for her and meeting so many ladies that I had not known prior to this job. Although I loved my job, I felt like I had a calling to open my own business. And the rest is history!

How did your store come to be in its current location. Is this a structure that has been repurposed or a new building?

As I began the challenge of opening a store, it was also a challenge finding the right place.  My mom and I looked and looked at so many buildings in downtown Laurel and surrounding areas but decided that a free standing building was the way for us to go.  We purchased the lot next door to McAlister’s Deli and have been happy with our location. It’s the gateway to our new and wonderful downtown Laurel with a lot of traffic. We have two entrances that make it easier for our customers to access the store, and a big parking lot.

How do you think Misty’s will be different five years from now?

Laurel is a wonderful small town with the friendliest people, who are open to change and making our town better. With our new HGTV series, Home Town, we look forward to many new people visiting and settling down in our area.  This is nothing but good news for our locally owned businesses and our economy. In five years, I expect great things for not only Misty’s, but our entire town.


Who do you think needs to hear your story and why?

Everyone has a dream in life. My wish and prayer everyday is to help someone feel good about themselves. I want my customers to feel loved and appreciated every time they walk through my door. It’s important for my shoppers to know that they are my first priority. If you are looking for great customer service and something special that you don’t see everywhere, then Misty’s is the place to shop. If we don’t have what you are looking for, we will point you in the direction of another wonderful locally owed store.


What is your best advice for those looking to participate in the growth, revitalization, and restoration of Downtown Laurel?

I would first start by joining the Laurel Main Street organization. Being a part of this organization means that you are dedicated to making Laurel a better place to live. They have so many people who have put their heart and soul into making a better downtown. All it takes is one phone call to get involved in the many projects and events throughout the year.