Year of GrowthBy NIKKI SMITH,
The City of Petal logo was not selected half-heartedly. The logo, featuring a friendship oak behind the city’s name, represents not only Petal’s current state, but also where the city is going moving forward.
The friendship oak stands for one of the city’s many nicknames, the Friendly City, while also symbolizing the growth of the city through the years, from its incorporation in 1974 to the growth anticipated in the coming years.
A quick drive down the Evelyn Gandy Parkway will give residents and visitors a glimpse at the growth happening in the City of Petal. The highway was once much quieter with only WalMart and a few other businesses along the way for years.
The area now brandishes a new commercial corridor, with businesses new and old lining the highway. Eastbrook Commons has been rebuilt and reopened following the January tornado. The Summit at 42 and the Shops at Park Crest were completed and are now home to businesses both new to the city and some old favorites.
For instance, Fig Boutique and Carter’s Jewelry have made their homes in the new shopping centers. While new offerings, such as Sweet Blossom, have also opened there.
A rebranding of the city is now underway with brand development, web design, photography and event production to come from a partnership with Own Your Hill.
Own Your Hill, a group that prides itself in “helping grow small towns and the businesses that make them great,” is working with the city to formulate a growth strategy and branding.
They will help create a brand strategy, identity design, brand style guides, just to name a few.
The web development aspect includes web design, web strategy, conversion studies and search engine optimization.
Other aspects of the group’s efforts include storytelling, such as photography and video production, and graphic design. Own Your Hill begins each project with a Growth Strategy Roadmap, which outlines exactly what steps to take to help each city or business achieve real growth, on time and within their budget.
Then, they get to work, from brand development, to web design, to photography, event production and more.
This past year, Petal welcomed many new restaurants, including McAlister’s and Zaxby’s, and the New Year promises the addition of Java Moe’s and Sully’s.
The opening of Sully’s is much anticipated, as it will not only add variety to the restaurant options in Petal, but will also allow for 30 to 50 new jobs.
Brian McLelland, co-owner of Sully’s, said work has already begun on the building, and they plan to have it ready soon. Sully’s will be housed in the Summit shopping center off Evelyn Gandy Parkway.
McLelland said the new restaurant will feature the same menu as the Hattiesburg location.
The new restaurant will seat between 180 and 220 guests.
In addition to offering the same menu, the restaurant will also have identical hours of operation as the original location. Sully’s of Petal will open Monday through Wednesday at 11 a.m. and close at 10 p.m. On Thursday through Saturday, the restaurant will open at 11 a.m. and close at 11 p.m.
For more information or updates on the opening and job postings, visit the Sully’s Facebook page or the website ilovesullys.com. Job applications are also featured on the website.
Growth in Petal is not limited to retail and restaurants. A new apartment complex is also on the way for Petal residents. The complex boasts five buildings consisting of 130-135 luxury apartments to be located along Byrd Parkway.
York’s representative, attorney Ron Farris, has compared them to the recently completed Cross Creek apartments located to the west of Turtle Creek Mall in Hattiesburg, but situated in Lamar County.
He noted that while amenities would be the same, the size of the facility would not be as large.
Cross Creek’s website lists it as “stylish living in Hattiesburg” with apartment amenities including open floor plans, granite countertops, private balconies with storage, elegant crown molding, plush carpeting in bedrooms, spacious vanities, expansive walk-in closets, wood flooring and washer dryer.