Brundidge basks in MSNBC fame

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Brundidge received its 5 minutes and 24 seconds of fame at 6:30 a.m. Sunday. The town of 2,000 was featured as the lead-in story to MSNBC’s “Your Business,” which is devoted to helping small business owners grow and survive.

Brundidge Mayor Jimmy Ramage, who is also board chair of First National Bank, said the focus of the show was what businesses in small towns are doing to survive.

“We are what we are,” Ramage said. “Brundidge is a perfect example of downtown USA today that is looking for ways to survive. It’s not easy to find the niche that’s right.”

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Ramage said that Brundidge was shown in a positive light.

“There’s no telling how many hours of footage the film crew shot while they were in town those three days and it had to be cut to about six minutes,” he said. “There were several business owners on the list that didn’t make it on the show but that all goes back to the director and producer. They knew what they were looking for to get their message across and to sell an idea. Overall, I would say that it was good for Brundidge.”

The mayor, laughingly, quoted the late Alabama Gov. “Big Jim” Folsom.

“Big Jim said there’s no such thing as bad publicity,” Ramage said. “I hope that we’ll benefit from the national exposure.

“I’ve gotten a lot of emails and phone calls from former Brundidge residents who were excited to see their hometown on national television. This was a big for us and we appreciate being selected for the show.”

Jimmie Jackson, co-owner of Stinson’s Barber Shop, a family-owned business that has been on Main Street since the 1940s, was one of the businesses that found itself on the cutting room floor.

“Overall, the show was good,” Jackson said. “Of course, we were disappointed not to see our barbershop on the show. It did show our “open” sign, though. I think our shop was regarded as more of a hobby because we’re retired and the shop is not our livelihood. But we consider it an important service. But it was fun to see your hometown on television.”

Those who did survive the cuts included Anthony Foster who said the success of his barbershop is service.

Bill Grafton, owner of Grafton Furniture, said to be successful he had to cut the overhead and be satisfied with slim margins. O.K. McDowell, the Sign Man, agreed that overhead will “eat you up.”

“If you can keep your overhead down, you’ve got a chance,” McDowell said.

Willie Moultry, owner of Moultry’s Auto Repair, said he owns the building that houses his shop.

“If I didn’t, I’d go out of business,” he said.

Utility expenses are the breaking point for many businesses. Jamie Sanders, owner of Sit N Sip restaurant said utilities eat up his profits.

JJ Ramberg, host of “Your Business,” visited studio 116, a gallery for local artists, and remarked that the “studio” was so unlike anything else on Main Street that it was like walking into another town.

Studio 116 has been in business for a year. Chris Rich, co-director, said a unique real estate deal with store owner, Jimmy Hollis, has made it possible for the new arts endeavor to survive.

“Basically, we take care of his insurance and taxes and, as we become more successful, we’ll renegotiate to help out Mr. Hollis even more,” Rich said.

Ramberg asked Ramage if “rebranding” his city could be an option for survival.

Ramage said that the arts could be the niche the city is seeking.