Browning on Business: Sports merchandise store, gas station open on Hwy. 45 N.

April 10, 2014 10:50:59 AM

William Browning - [email protected]


Sports fans, there is a new store inside Leigh Mall in Columbus. 


It is called Deep South Sports. The doors opened April 1. What the business offers is licensed sports merchandise for NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and college teams. They have Seattle Seahawks pens and Mississippi State blankets and Atlanta Braves steering wheel covers. In other words, just about everything you need to support a team -- except apparel. If you cannot find what you want, the store places special orders on Monday and Tuesday.  


Deep South Sports is open during regular mall hours, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays, and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. 


The convenience store directly in front of Leigh Mall at 1512 Hwy. 45 N. that was closed for roughly three months is back in business with new management. 


"E Z Shop" opened Saturday. Mohammed Jassar is the manager. Midstates Petroleum, which bought a handful of service stations from Sanders Oil Company in Columbus last year, is the owner. Jassar said the station, in addition to selling fuel, drinks and snacks, also offers cellular phone and computer repair services. 


It is open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. everyday. 


Switching gears now, Holcim, a global company based in Switzerland that once operated a cement plant in Artesia, announced this week that they have plans to merge with Lafarge, a cement company based in France. The merger would create a company with a stock market value of around $55 billion, according to Reuters. 


Holcim mothballed its cement plant in Artesia in 2009 because of the faulty U.S. economy and low demand for cement. Last year, Holcim made the decision to permanently close the facility. But what might the proposed merger mean for the Highway 45 Alternate site? Eike Christian Meuter, who works in media relations with Holcim, answered that question as best as he could Tuesday. 


"I am afraid at this point -- one day after we have announced the intended merger -- we cannot give any details," he said from Zurich, Switzerland. "Our Artesia plant is closed and demolition has begun." 


Meuter said Holcim does continue to run a Geocycle operation at the site of the defunct cement plant in Artesia. Geocycle is a subsidiary of Holcim that deals in alternative fuels and raw materials. The Artesia operation employs roughly 10 people, according to Meuter. 


Over in Starkville, if you're a fan of Abner's Famous Chicken Tenders you might have been worried a bit after last week's news that Abner's Inc. had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal court. You shouldn't worry. 


The restaurant chain's Starkville location -- it's at 518 S. Montgomery St. -- is not involved in the bankruptcy. The court filing stems from a situation involving a specific Madison location that closed in 2007, according to an interview the restaurant's founder, Abner White, gave to the Memphis Business Journal. 


There are also Abner's in Oxford (2), Tupelo, Brandon and Cordova, Tenn. 


Lastly, let's go back to Leigh Mall, where there is a Books-A-Million. The national bookstore chain's Columbus location is one of 12 in the U.S. that has a new menu available at Joe Muggs, the bookstore's in-house cafe. 


Christine Corbitt, marketing event coordinator for Books-A-Million, told The Dispatch the new menu includes warm sandwiches (Black Forest ham and Gouda cheese, oven-roasted turkey, veggie); soups (chicken noodle, broccoli and cheese, potato, minestrone); and personal-size pizzas. Coffee beverages and sweets remain on the menu. 


There are 258 Books-A-Millions in the U.S. 


Browning on Business is a weekly column that runs each Thursday. We want your input. Send items and tips to [email protected] or [email protected]

William Browning was managing editor for The Dispatch until June 2016.