By STEVEN NALLEY
When a new bank comes to town, Rob Winklepleck says the bank typically brings its own construction contractor with it.
“Wherever home is for them is where they usually bring their contractors from,” Winklepleck, a project manager with West Brothers Construction, said.
So it was a surprise when Renasant Bank, headquartered in Tupelo, came to West Brothers for its construction needs in Starkville, Winklepleck said.
“I think it’s great,” Winklepleck said. “Anytime you invest in the local economy, I think the local economy’s going to invest in you.”
Renasant is relying primarily on local suppliers and contractors to construct its new stand-alone building at the corner of South Montgomery Street and Lampkin Street.
Tommy Tomlinson, president of Renasant’s Starkville division, said there are some building elements which cannot be purchased locally, such as the vault. These elements represent about 10 percent of the overall picture, he said, and the remaining 90 percent all comes from within the Golden Triangle.
“I grew up in Starkville, so it’s important for me to do this,” Tomlinson said. “In this economy, there have not been that many jobs of this magnitude in the area. You have people from neighboring states that are bidding on these projects. We wanted as much as we could to keep everything done locally.”
Winklepleck gave several examples of local businesses working on the bank. The bricks come from Columbus Brick, the concrete comes from Golden Triangle Ready Mix in Starkville and multiple miscellaneous supplies, including lumber, come from Starkville’s Bell Building Supply.
While no materials are being bought directly from Gulf States, he said, Gulf States’ parent company Nucor is providing steel for concrete reinforcement, and Starkville’s Briar Jones is the building’s architect.
Bell Building Supply store manager Wes Shelton said he feels fortunate to have Renasant buying materials from his store. Even better, he said, is seeing the area near Bell Building Supply grow, thanks to the Central Station complex and Sprout along with the new Renasant building.
“Now it’s kind of a hub where you can go do a variety of things in a single area,” Shelton said. “It benefits everybody; there’s traffic. That building anchors things. It’s great to have some business (from Renasant) on the front end, but it’s even better to have long-term business from here on out.”
Winklepleck said he expects the project to conclude in summer 2013. It may be rare for local banks to hire West Brothers for construction, he said, but West Brothers does build banks and similar buildings in other locales frequently, so the company is no stranger to a project of this scale.
“This is a mid-size project for us,” Winklepleck said. “It’s certainly not the smallest and certainly not the largest project we’ll do in a year’s time.”
John Oxford, Renasant director of external affairs, said it is too early to disclose how much money this project will pump into the local economy; the company will release that number once the building is complete. Oxford said Renasant uses local entities as much as possible not only in Starkville, but in every new market it enters.
“We are a community-driven bank, and this model has led to our success, strength and stability for over 108 years,” Oxford said. “We want to be the community bank and financial services provider of choice in Starkville and the Golden Triangle, not just in messaging or marketing but in the way we actually conduct our business. We hire locally, contract locally and want to do business locally. It is our goal that folks in the Golden Triangle know that when we move into a market, it is to be the banking and lending leader in the market.”