Musgrove greets downtown merchants
Published 12:00 am Monday, December 30, 2002
NATCHEZ &045; &uot;Hi, I’m Ronnie Musgrove.&uot;
With those unassuming words, the governor of Mississippi strolled into downtown businesses Monday, greeting the customers and shopkeepers who lined up to shake his hand.
In fact, if it wasn’t for the throng of local leaders, security and press that followed him up Main Street, tourists would probably have assumed he was just another sightseer.
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At the Natchez Museum of African-American History and Culture, Musgrove took his time in looking at each exhibit, even reminiscing about an old Singer sewing machine that resembled his mother’s.
There, Musgrove &045; in town as part of his &uot;Capital for a Day&uot; program &045; also traded holiday greetings with former governor and Natchez native Bill Allain.
Among the businesses Musgrove visited downtown were Britton & Koontz First National Bank &045; where he shook hands on all three floors.
He discussed state economic incentives with the staff at the Sun, Moon and Stars gift shop. He also stopped to sample vanilla fudge at Darby’s Gifts &045; and apparently wants his staff to order more candy in the future.
&uot;Somebody give them a card,&uot; Musgrove called over his shoulder as he took another bite.
But the businesses weren’t the governor’s only stops for the day.
On Monday morning, Musgrove’s &uot;Capital for a Day&uot; schedule took him first to Rose Hill Baptist Church, where more than 50 ministers and other local residents took part in a prayer breakfast.
He then made his way to the Natchez Senior Citizen Multi-Purpose Center, where he shared pastries and talked issues with some of the area’s older citizens.
Switching gears, he spent much of Monday afternoon touring the Sunshine Shelter &045; the recipient of thousands of state dollars for a recent renovation.
And during a tour of the AJFC Head Start Center, he traded hellos and high-fives with pre-kindergarten students in addition to greeting teachers and staff members.
Natchez Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith, one of several local leaders who escorted Musgrove around town Monday, said both he and the governor were pleased with how the day turned out.
&uot;There were good turnouts at most all of our scheduled stops, and he seemed to be very pleased with it,&uot; Smith said.
And back downtown, many of those who met Musgrove were pleased as well.
&uot;He asked about the business climate and seemed genuinely interested in what we had to say,&uot; said Brenda Zerby, co-owner of Moreton’s Flowerland.