Local businesses give back to community: Moody Auto Sales, Mulberry Manor, and Aaron’s Inc. providing entertainment to McNairy County

By Andrew Alexander

Several local businesses are stepping up to offer fun, entertainment, and fellowship to McNairy County.

Owner and operator of Moody Auto Sales, Nicky Atkins, has partnered with fellow Selmer business owner Clint Mullins of Mulberry Manor to bring entertaining events to McNairy County in an effort to stimulate local business and give back to the community that keeps them going.

“We have to quit being scared to spend money in the community,” said Atkins. “When you give something back, people respond.”

Atkins along with his partners at Mulberry Manor put on a fireworks display in Selmer during the Fourth of July weekend.

The show was held around the  old Dixie Café lot and was supervised by Selmer Fire Chief Anthony Carr and the Selmer Fire Department.

Apart from the fireworks display that was free to all who came to enjoy, Mullins and the Mulberry Manor staff passed out food to those in attendance.

Atkins claimed the event was a success and is currently in discussion with Mayor David Robinson on the notion of bringing a fireworks tent to Selmer next year. 

Another plan in the works, according to Atkins, is bringing a carnival to Selmer that would last two nights and would include live entertainment, local vendors, rides, a booth for t-shirt airbrushing, and possibly a motivational speaker of some sort.

On top of those plans, Mullins is planning to begin trivia nights at the Mulberry Manor, along with the possibility of having Bingo nights, live music, and teen nights to give the youth in the area something to do.

“There’s too many people going outside of the county for food and recreation when we as a community need the money spent here,” said Mullins. “If we take care of each other, we will all thrive.”

Both Atkins and Mullins are frustrated to see McNairy County tax dollars traveling to places like Savannah, Jackson, and Corinth because there’s simply more to do there.

“I don’t know why we can’t grow, but as a young business owner I want to see that change, and it will have to be a collective effort for it to work,” said Mullins. “Growth brings jobs, jobs bring people, people bring more business and money.”

His sentiments were seconded by his new partner.

“I’m tired of seeing businesses get neglected in McNairy when we have all the resources to keep our money in the county,” Atkins said. “We feel like local business misses out on money because there is nothing to do around here.” 

We need to, “give people a reason to stay in town on the weekends instead of going to Savannah and Corinth,” said Atkins.

This duo is doing its best to get the ball rolling with community events designed to show the community their appreciation for its patronage, but they are not the only ones.

Aaron’s Inc. of Selmer recently sponsored the children’s parade during the town’s Freedom Festival held on July 4 and handed out bottles of water to help keep those present at the festivity cool.  

According to Melinda Wagoner, Aaron’s Manager Trainee, they will be sponsoring a beauty pageant on July 23 entitled Kuntry Kuties for 3-5 year-olds, and the pageant will have a “country” theme, meaning tuxes and gowns will not be necessary. Children should bring camouflage or country attire.

In August Aaron’s hopes to host a car show in the store’s parking lot, a “Kid’s Day in the Park” with help from the Selmer Parks and Recreation Department that would provide youngsters in McNairy County a chance to get a close up look at fire engines, ambulances, police cars, tractors, and other large equipment.

Wagoner said Aaron’s is also scheduling a “cheer-off” in which local cheerleaders from McNairy Central, Selmer Middle School, and possibly Adamsville Junior/Senior High School will get together to do several cheer routines to build school spirit and support in the community.

Along with these plans, Aaron’s is looking into making their large warehouse available for movie nights for children and adults that would alleviate the trouble of having to drive to Corinth or Savannah to catch a movie, according to Wagoner.

Aaron’s General Manager Melissa Middleton said that in the seven months she has worked in Selmer she has noticed how the town’s morale is low.

“We see how our customers are dealing with the economic situation and it’s depressing,” said Middleton. “My main focus is the kids. They (events) will allow the community to keep tax dollars in the county, and will provide entertainment and a safe environment.

“Customers remain loyal to business if those businesses do more than necessary to appease their clientele,” said Middleton.

The fact that businesses on the local level are trying to make positive strides towards growth is undeniable, and these businesses are taking the initiative without the assistance of groups like the McNairy Regional Alliance, and the Selmer Business Alliance.

“People have been trying to get things together for years, and they won’t do anything,” said Atkins. “I want to hear from the people more than the chamber of commerce. The people are what is going to get the chamber going.”

Russell Ingle, Director of Chamber Programs, said that as a community we all need to work together.

“Anything that is good for the community or county at large is good for everybody,” said Ingle. “We would certainly love to be a part of the planning and promoting process. Basically, we think it’s great when businesses take the initiative to make their community a better place.”

While partners Atkins and Mullins are not working directly with Aaron’s Inc., and vice versa, both share a common goal, and both are open to partnering with local businesses that share their goal as well.

“I would like to have an area wide  meeting to bring ideas together about making Selmer and McNairy County a better place,” said Atkins.