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By CARL SMITH
The Greater Starkville Development Partnership has hired Jennifer Prather as its new special events and projects coordinator.
Prather, a former university events planner who has a prior background with the GSDP, will start her new job in early January.
â€śComing back (to the Partnership), I see this as a perfect opportunity. Itâ€™s a dream job for me,â€ť Prather said. â€śThe trend Iâ€™m seeing is that people are really buying into Starkville as a community. More and more people are moving here, starting businesses and buying second homes. I am excited to use my skills to work and make Starkville even more of a valued community.â€ť
Jennifer Gregory, GSDP COO and vice president for tourism, said Prather will be responsible for all events the Partnership produces, including its year-long New South Weekends series, individual events like the holiday bazaar and other chamber events. Prather will also be the Partnershipâ€™s chief manager of the Starkville Community Market.
â€śWeâ€™re extremely excited to bring Jennifer on board,â€ť Gregory said. â€śWe feel like sheâ€™s a perfect fit for our team here and that she brings a great deal of event-planning experience to the Partnership.â€ť
In October, Starkville Main Street Association approved a measure which placed the market under its control. SMSA and GSDP officials said the move will allow the event to grow and prosper. In addition to hiring a market manager, the SMSA will also help fund advertising and other organizational needs. By increasing its visibility, Gregory said she expects SCM to grow in terms of attendees, vendors and volunteers. She also said she envisions more cross-promotions with local restaurant owners, small businesses and artisans which could provide future demonstrations, entertainment and educational elements.
â€śThereâ€™s a great base of organizers and volunteers right now at the market, and the town has a great population to learn from. Everyoneâ€™s really put in a lot of time to make the market space what it is today,â€ť Prather said. â€śI want to come in, learn and build the market.â€ť