Meet the new business editor, Melissa Miller

Monday, March 15, 2010

You might notice a new face on the left-hand side of this page, and that's me, Melissa Miller. I'll be covering business and community news for the Southeast Missourian now that Brian Blackwell has been reassigned to our Jackson bureau. I feel like my every career choice led to this moment and this job. My degree from the University of Missouri's School of Journalism in 2000, followed by seven years in newspapers in Missouri, Michigan and Indiana, gave me a strong journalistic foundation.

Then I honed my business skills managing the Spencer County Visitor's Bureau in the tourist town of Santa Claus, Ind., for three years. This summer I became the director of the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri. When you combine my real-world business experience with my journalism background, there couldn't be a more perfect job for me right now.

It feels so good to be writing again after several years out of the newspaper business. It's like being able to fit back into your skinny jeans again.

Through the years I've written about everything from a woman who styled hair at a funeral home to the redevelopment of an abandoned Air Force base to the Santa Claus town council. Yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus town council, and yes, the president of the town council has a snowy white beard, just like Santa. I'm not making this up.

I left the town of Santa Claus in July to move back to my hometown of Jackson. While I'll miss riding rollercoasters at Holiday World & Splashin' Safari on my lunch hour, I'm thrilled to be able to spend more time with my family, particularly my 1-year-old niece, Brynna.

I want to write stories that help people make sense of what's going on around them. I want readers to trust that my articles are accurate, tell the complete story and are relevant to their lives. With our country's current economic climate, there has never been a more important time to understand how what's going on in the business sector is spilling over into nearly every aspect of American life, from healthcare to education.

So in this column you'll continue to see the latest updates on local businesses. If you can't wait until Monday's paper, follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/semissourianbiz or check out my blog, The Bottom Line, at www.semissourian.com/blogs. I welcome your story ideas.

This week's business developments in brief include:

* Craft mall changes name: Country Shade Craft Mall at 8 South Plaza Way in Cape Girardeau is changing its name to Garden Gate Inc. A grand re-opening will be held Friday and Saturday. The store will now carry more furniture, home decor and decorating accessories.

* Human resources class offered: The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Southeast Missouri State University will hold a human resources class at 6 p.m. March 29. The presentation also will be broadcast via ITV to the Southeast Higher Education Center in Sikeston, Mo. Program topics include hiring and firing, tips for recruiting employees and labor laws. To register, call 573-986-6084 or e-mail gervin@semo.edu.

* Gear for riders: Sappington Pro Outdoor opened a new motor sports apparel store at West Park Mall on Wednesday. The store will carry riding equipment such as goggles, boots, gloves and helmets as well as casual clothing. Brands featured include Fox Racing, Joe Rocket, Kawasaki, Polaris and Shift.

* New restaurant coming next month: Gyro King restaurant will open in April at 1929 Independence St. in Cape Girardeau. Owner Ahmed Saadi also operates the U Kwick Stop on Broadway.

* Real estate group earns award: Century 21 Key Realty, 980 N. Kingshighway, Cape Girardeau, recently received the Centurion Team Award from the Century 21 organization.

Southeast Missourian business reporter Melissa Miller may be contacted at 388-3646 or mmiller@semissourian.com.<I>

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