69th Chamber awards banquet held

Published 7:00 am Saturday, November 11, 2017

Thursday evening community members gathered to recognize a business, club and two individuals within Picayune for their efforts to improve the city and surrounding areas.

During the 69th annual Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet, Picayune Lions Club received the Civic Club of the Year Award, Capt. Theresa Milar with the Picayune Police Department received the Volunteer of the Year Award, Dr. D.L. Bolton received the Citizen of the Year Award and Paul’s Pastry received the Excellence in Business Award.

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Bill Cruse introduced the award for Civic Club of the Year. He said the reason Picayune Lions Club was chosen was due to its member’s efforts to provide free glasses, eye exams and various scholarships to the community, which as a whole improve the quality of life within the city. Dr. Marcus Steele accepted the award on behalf of the club.

Tina Stockstill introduced the Volunteer of the Year. She said the reason Milar was chosen was due in part to her work with Kiwanis Club of Greater Picayune Area, her role as the local director of Toys for Tots, her continuing efforts to hold the Picayune Police Summer Camp, contributions to the local Special Olympics, and that she is essential to the city’s participation in the National Night Out Against Crime.

Picayune Mayor Ed Pinero said Dr. Bolton was chosen as the Citizen of the Year due to his regular work at the Manna Medical Clinic.

Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation President Clyde Dease said Paul’s Pastry received the Excellence in Business Award for its continued work to support the local economy in various ways.

He said the business started in the early 70s. He recalled buying his first store bought cake from that bakery when it still operated on Main Street. In 1972 he said the bakery innovated by introducing its trademark product, the fruit and cream cheese filled king cake.

The founders of the bakery continued to operate it until they sold it to their daughter, Sherri Paul Thigpen.

“They didn’t give it to her, they sold it to her,” Dease said. “I like that style.”

The business would be moved twice from Main Street, settling at its current location near exit 6 off Interstate 59 in Picayune. Each move gave the business room to grow, not just with space, but personnel as well, Dease said. The last expansion was the establishment of the Top of the Hill shopping center, which used the bakery as the anchor business to ensure the shopping center would never close.

Dease said the business has been successful for a number of reasons; the owner’s ability to train their employees on the importance of customer service, by treating those employees with dignity and respect and by supporting other Picayune businesses by purchasing supplies and services locally. 

The future of the business is in good hands, Dease said, because Thigpen has brought her family into the fold.

After receiving the award, Thigpen thanked the community for its support.

“There’s no way we can continue if the businesses don’t support each other,” Thigpen said.