Silver Street Gifts, Magnolia Bluff Casino are Chamber’s businesses of 2023

Published 2:36 pm Wednesday, November 15, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson awarded the small business of the year honors for 2023 to Gail Guido, owner of Silver Street Gifts, and Warren Gaines, president of the Adams County Board of Supervisors presented the large business of the year for 2023 to the team at Magnolia Bluffs Casino.

The awards were part of the Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce’s annual gala, which also served as the Chamber’s 115th birthday celebration.

Lyn Jenkins, president and CEO, said the Chamber, founded in 1908 in Natchez, is working on a number of new benefits for members, including a new website, which will members to post daily deals and other information.

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She discussed highlights of the past year and accomplishments of the Chamber, such as a new logo, created in partnership with Visit Natchez, and the resurrection of the Natchez Food and Wine Festival.

Small Business of the Year, Silver Street Gallery Gifts

“This year’s recipient grew up in Natchez and attended Cathedral and Loyola University in New Orleans before transferring to Mississippi State University to study veterinary medicine,” Gibson said.

However, Gail Guido took off for Colorado, where she worked for a ranch and ended up working as a desk clerk at the Mountain Haas Lodge.

“This adventurer became an expert skier in the Basalt Valley near Aspen and brought in Natchez families for vacations along with her own,” Gibson said.

Guido’s love of art led to her producing all of the photo shoots for the company.

Guido’s foray into retail sales began in a high-end fashion store in Aspen. Tired of the cold, she returned to Natchez with the vision to open an art and gift shop, Gibson said.

In 2017, Silver Street Gallery and Gifts became a reality and continues to be a staple for locals and tourists Under the Hill,” he said.

“This isn’t just a gift shop. This is a store that when you enter, you are greeted by the owner herself and she talks to every customer when they arrive,” Gibson said. “Gail listens to what customers want and will research about new products they request. She will open her shop at 6 a.m. and stay open until the riverboats depart, even if it’s at 9 p.m. She will gladly open her doors on weekends and holidays, as well.

“She loves what she does and she has an eye for beauty. Gail truly cares about people and loves to interact with her customers,” he said.

Guido and her husband, Greg Brookings, have transformed under the hill into a magical wonderland through their beautification every season with poppies and zinnias.

“She will pick up trash and make sure her customers have the opportunity to use the famous Natchez scenery as their backdrop for creating lifelong memories through photographs,” Gibson said.

Guido participates in all open houses and advertising opportunities for downtown merchants. She has served on the Tourism Marketing Advisory Committee and is an advocate for tourism in Natchez.

Large Business of the Year, Magnolia Bluffs Casino

Saratoga Casino Holdings acquired Magnolia Bluffs Casino and Hotel on Oct. 3, 2022. The casino features more than 45,000 square feet of gaming with slot and video poker machines, as well as 10 gaming tables. The casino also includes the renovated Playmakers restaurant, including a stage for entertainment and a redesigned Sportsbook area and inclusive VIP room, Gaines said. The hotel has also been upgraded and improved since its original extensive renovation in 2016.

“Since Saratoga Casino Holdings acquired Magnolia Bluffs, more than $243,000 has been provided to the Community Development Fund in just one years,” Gaines said. “They have donated more than $80,000 in sponsorships and donations in addition to the Community Development Fund monies.”

Magnolia Bluffs Casino and Hotel is one of the largest employers in Adams County with 166 full-time and 27 part-time employees.

“Employees are also trained with a strong emphasis on volunteering in our community so you will never see just one employee at a community event. They are dedicated to the Miss-Lou and gladly give back on behalf of their employer,” Gaines said.

Vice President and General Manager Tim Morrissey serves on the Board of Directors for Christmas in Natchez and the Tourism Marketing and Advertising Advisory Board of Visit Natchez that advises the Natchez Convention and Promotion Commission on how to disperse marketing monies generated form the $2 per room occupancy fee for overnight visitors.

In 2023, Magnolia Bluffs sponsored community events like the Adams County Sheriff’s Rodeo, Harmony in the Park, Live at Five, Young Professionals Bicycle Classic, Natchez Golf Classic, Juneteenth Legends Celebrations, Natchez Food and Wine Festival, the Bluff City Block Party, Leadership Natchez Kickball Tournament, Natchez Balloon Festival, Y’all Means All and the Rotary Chili Cookoff.

The company has donated to the Stewpot, Natchez-Adams Humane Society, Alcorn State University Partnership, Rhythm Night Club Memorial Museum and the 2023 Mississippi Firefighters and Fire Chiefs Convention.