Kinard locates in Natchez

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 31, 2003

NATCHEZ &045;&045; Kodi and Dan Kinard’s first visit to Natchez was rainy &045;&045; but the couple is bringing some sunshine to the community in the form of a call center for The Kinard Group.

Natchez-Adams County Economic Development Authority officials announced Wednesday that Kinard will establish the center on Main Street this fall, with an expected 25 to 30 new jobs within the first year of operation.

Kinard hopes to employ 40 to 50 people by the end of the second year.

Email newsletter signup

Jackson-based Kinard Group, with subsidiaries Credit Management Services, Energy Credit Services and Kinard and Associates, offers a variety of credit services and accounts receivable programs.

&uot;Natchez will be our second location,&uot; said Kodi Kinard, president of the Kinard Group. The group has employees across the country, but no other offices.

Kinard hopes to open the office Nov. 1, and the group has an immediate need for experienced collectors, as well as people with clerical and accounts receivable experience.

EDA and local elected officials welcomed the Kinards to the community.

&uot;From all indications, this is just a start,&uot; Natchez Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith said of the number of employees. &uot;They have every intention to expand on the employee base.&uot;

Smith said Kinard is the kind of company that can help diversify Natchez’s economy.

&uot;Diversification is critical,&uot; Smith said. &uot;A blend of industrial, high-tech, call centers, retail and distribution makes us a more solid community. We always have an interest in attracting (smaller businesses). You don’t get the serious impact of the business closing as you get with a Johns Manville or International Paper closing.&uot;

Natchez was not the only community in the state interested in hosting Kinard’s expansion.

Lured over several months after a friend introduced Kodi and husband Dan to EDA Director Mike Ferdinand, the community simply grew on the couple.

&uot;At first I thought all it did was rain in Natchez,&uot; Kodi Kinard said with a laugh. &uot;But we kept coming back and kept on seeing people. They were very helpful.&uot;

EDA officials have already assisted in screening applicants for positions.

&uot;The Kinard Group will employ a wide range of positions &045;&045; secretarial, sales, customer service, collectors, clerical, investigators, analysts and custodians,&uot; Ferdinand said. &uot;The Kinards will train their employees using software they have developed. However the Natchez-Adams County Technology Alliance Council will offer call center workforce training beginning in January 2004.&uot;

The Adams County Board of Supervisors has contracted with Kinard for its collections work.

On Oct. 22, the public is invited to meet the Kinards at 11 a.m. at city council chambers on Pearl Street. Those wishing to apply for employment can bring their resumes.

The Kinards have also leased a residence downtown, and Kodi Kinard said she looks forward to being &uot;within walking distance&uot; of everything.

&uot;I’m from a small town in the Delta,&uot; Kodi Kinard said.

&uot;Natchez was a lot like home.&uot;