Business Moves with Mary: Military Hardware celebrates 60 years, prepares for new owner


Mary Pollitz

Mary Pollitz



Mary Pollitz



For 60 years the Perkerson family have owned and operated Military Hardware at 1002 13th St N. in Columbus, but a new family will take the helm "in the near future."


Current owners, Carol and Mike Perkerson will celebrate a business that started in 1959 with refreshments and snacks from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday.


"We want some people to come by and visit," Carol said. "We've had so many customers that have really become just friends and we are so thankful for it."



Mike said after all these years he's thankful for the business and has vowed to help the new owners with the transition. He would not name the new owners since the sale has not finalized.


"We are not closing, but we are going to sell it," Mike said. "It's still going to be a family hardware store like we have been, just a different family that owns it. ... There's a lot of things I want to teach them to get a good running start."


Mike started working at 13 years old when his parents, John and Ruth, opened the shop.


"I was my dad's first stock boy," he said. "Whatever Daddy wanted a son to do, I'd do it. Back then you didn't take vacations, you didn't go buy new cars. You just made do with what you had and paid your bills. It must have paid off because here we are 60 years later.


"We've taken care of this business like it was one of our children and it's been good to us," he added. "... It's been a fun ride. We haven't missed a meal yet and we've made a lot of good friends along the way."


Not much has changed since opening day, Mike said, but he's enjoyed noticing the differences in generations that have walked through his doors.


"... We used to sell a lot of hand saws. Old carpenters wouldn't dare use an electric saw," Mike said. "Now everybody mainly uses power tools and very rarely uses hand tools. An old carpenter would not dare use a tape measure, they'd use folding rulers. Those are just basic things that have changed."


The store's regular hours are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.-5 p.m.


Moving on, you might have spotted a new taco truck driving through Columbus.


For the past three years, customers have lined up at the Columbus Farmer's Market to buy Isabel Vanegas' famous tamales.


"They would ask me where they could buy more, where my restaurant was," Vanegas said. "But I didn't have one."


Vanegas and her husband, Randy, wanted to open a food truck to help serve those customers year-round rather than just seasonally. After months of planning, those faithful customers can find her famous tamales and more with The Taco Amigo food truck.


"It's always been our dream to do our own business," Vanegas said. "My momma, she passed away (in 2014). She always wanted a taco truck. I said I wanted to follow my mamma's dream that she had in Mexico."


She isn't just fulfilling her mother's dream, though. She's sharing her mother's recipes with customers.


The Taco Amigo truck opened Thanksgiving week and folks have been lining up for a taste of Mexican cuisine including tacos, tortas, picaditas, taquitos, nachos, burritos, tostadas and more.


The Taco Amigo truck will be open Monday through Sunday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and can be scheduled for catering and special events. Keep up to date on Facebook and Instagram to follow The Taco Amigo for its times and locations.


In Starkville, Cotton Crossing has added a new clothing shop.


Brittany Hibbs expanded her Philadelphia boutique to Starkville. She first opened Dixie Gypsy Boutique in 2015. After four fruitful years of business, she wanted to open a second location in one of Mississippi's "thriving college towns."


"I think there are a lot of women (in Starkville) who will love the style of clothing we carry, especially in such an affordable price range," Hibbs said. "We cater to every day busy women, always on the go. ... I was looking for an area to branch out to and I just feel like Starkville is a perfect fit."


Dixie Gypsy Boutique opened in mid-November at 500 Russell St. Unit 34. The store is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.


A and R Foreign Auto Inc., 1410 Louisville St., is celebrating its 40th anniversary.


Owner and founder Ahmad Aragh graduated from Mississippi State University with a mechanical engineering degree in 1979. Eager to find a career post-graduation, Aragh ran into a roadblock.


"The economy was so bad, there was no job available," Aragh said. "My dad owned a dealership in Iran, that's where I trained and learned about cars. ... I stayed here and I love working with people."


Using his knowledge from his father's car dealership, Aragh forged his own business, repairing imported vehicles for customers in the Golden Triangle. Although he is now watching his friends and colleagues retire, Aragh said he has no plans of retiring soon.


"I believe Starkville is like a magnet," Aragh said. "Anybody that comes to Starkville cannot leave. I came here, I got married here, I had two kids here. After a while I got used to the city. People are friendly and have been really good here to me. I am glad to be working for the people. I enjoy what I'm doing. I am having fun with people. I don't want to retire, just want to keep working."


A and R Foreign Auto is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.


Heading over to Main Street, you may have seen a new barbershop downtown. Liberty Bell Barbershop, formerly located on North Lafayette Street, moved to 205 East Main St. in mid-November. Check out the new shop Monday 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.





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