January 1, 2015—

As we begin the new year, the revitalization of Tishomingo’s economic landscape continues with an estimated infusion of between approximately $30-40 million in ongoing infrastructure and capital improvements during the past couple years, with more on the way.

The reopening of Gonzalez Mexican Restaurant in its new location, new construction of a Visitor’s Center on Main Street by the Chickasaw Nation along with other projects planned on the eastern side of town, new construction at Murray State College, and the reopening of the former Thompson Theatre in downtown Tishomingo as The Indie Cinema are just a few of the changes anticipated during 2015.

Here’s a look back at some of the changes made in 2014 and a little more about what we can look forward to in 2015—

The completion of the new Dollar General Market across the street from Tishomingo High School on East Main Street turned out to be a win on two fronts; Tishomingo was now the home of the very first Dollar General Market to be opened in the state, and the former Dollar General building was purchased by the city of Tishomingo as the proposed site of a new City Hall location.

Other projects that came to fruition in 2014 included the completion of the Rockin’ Rib restaurant’s new location at 1211 East Main Street, near the new Dollar General Market.

But of all the projects completed in  2014, it is probably safe to say that none drew as much attention – not only here at home but, indeed, across the country – as the opening of Tishomingo area resident and country music superstar Miranda Lambert’s latest business venture.

The Ladysmith Bed and Breakfast – located at 221 W. Main Street, across the street from Lambert’s Pink Pistol boutique – opened to great fanfare in September, garnering headlines everywhere from the Tulsa World and the Dallas Morning News to Rolling Stone and People magazine.

The bed and breakfast is housed in a historic two-story brownstone building that was originally built in 1901 and which has been home to a variety of businesses over the years, ranging from law offices and beauty shops to grocery stores and restaurants.

The building had fallen into serious disrepair when Lambert purchased it in 2013, with an eye toward transforming the longtime business district mainstay into a unique destination spot for visitors. Lambert and her creative team spent much time and effort breathing new life into the structure. Antique pieces collected by Lambert from across the country are on display alongside modern décor.

The interior design honors the history of the building and the surrounding area – vintage photographs and other local artifacts are on display throughout the inn – while at the same time updating it with modern comforts.  The bed and breakfast features eight well-appointed bedrooms, each individually designed. In addition to the luxurious accommodations, The Ladysmith is home to a charming dining hall, two funky lounges, an elegant tea room, a fully-stocked bar, and a ballroom with room for 60-80 guests where Miranda and her husband Blake Shelton recently performed an impromptu concert.

The finished product reflects Lambert’s merrily eclectic sense of style – described by the country singer herself as “Shabby Chic meets Rock and Roll” – and has become the latest attraction for fans of Lambert and Shelton who make the pilgrimage to Tishomingo to visit their idols’ adopted hometown.

But those openings were just the tip of a particularly fortuitous economic iceberg in 2014.

Three new businesses located on Tishomingo’s Main Street opened in June: the Boom-A-Rang Diner, owned and operated by Sam and Debbie Ritchie; Baker’s Mercantile, the new retail boutique launched by Jackie and Jamie Baker; and Branstins Boutique new location at the corner of West Main and South Neshoba, owned and operated by Lynny Fuentes.  Two antique/variety stores joined Tishomingo’s downtown business district in 2014: Vagabond Junktiques, located at 318 W. Main; and Red Dirt Decor at 112 W. Main.

The former Branstins location became the new home for Eagle Realty, which made the move from Coleman to Tishomingo this past Autumn. The former Jackson-Hewitt Tax Office building was renovated and is now the home of the sporting goods store Tishomingo Trading Post.  And construction is nearing completion on the new Gonzalez Mexican Restaurant on North Kemp, expected to open sometime in January, 2015.

Chickasaw Governor Bill Anoatubby announced plans for the construction of a 10,600 square foot Visitor’s Center on the southeast corner of Main and Capitol, where visitors can learn about local history.

Plans call for the center to also include office space for both the Johnston County Chamber of Commerce and the Johnston County Historical Society, as well as the Chickasaw Nation Office of Special Events.

Plans also call for the construction of a new tribal senior citizens center, community center and Head Start building to be located near the existing Chickasaw Nation Health Clinic on the former Johnston County fairgrounds area on the eastern side of Tishomingo.  The Chickasaws purchased the land from the city and the county earlier in the year.

The governor stated that the new facilities would be placed in a campus-style setting similar to the one which had earlier been established in Ardmore, with the goal of making tribal programs and services as convenient as possible to those utilizing them.

Anoatubby also stated that a feasibility study and preliminary planning are underway for the possible development of a new hotel in Tishomingo.

The Tishomingo City Council approved a three-year lease agreement between the city and Miranda Lambert’s MuttNation Foundation regarding the city animal shelter. Lambert fans and animal lovers got their first chance to see how that agreement would affect the facility when MuttNation Foundation hosted its Grand Opening celebration for the shelter – now renamed Redemption Ranch.

In addition to getting an up-close look at the newly renovated facility, visitors were able to purchase Redemption Ranch merchandise; buy personalized ID tags for their pets; and purchase commemorative bricks to show their support for the shelter and for MuttNation Foundation’s work to place rescued animals into loving homes.

As part of Murray State College’s annual Homecoming festivities, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for MSC’s new agriculture and science building, following on the heels of a new allied health facility currently under construction. The second new facility will offer the kind of space needed for the college’s science and agriculture programs, adding approximately 45,000 square feet of new classroom, lab, and meeting spaces to the campus.  The ground level will house multiple teaching labs, classrooms, offices, and a 200-seat lecture hall; a 20,000 square feet upper level will house classrooms and state of the art laboratory space. Construction on the building is expected to begin in early spring of 2015.

Overall, 2014 has been a great year for Tishomingo, with 2015 even looking better!

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