New Year off to strong start for Laurel businesses

February 7, 2023

If the month of January is any indication, then renewal and growth will be major themes for local businesses in 2023.

The year started with the renewal of a community pharmacy on Monday, January 9th, when Diket Drugs hosted a ribbon cutting as they celebrated reopening in their original location.

Diket Drugs was originally opened in 1970 by Ed Diket at 1107 Jefferson Street across from South Central Medical Center. Mr. Diket served the local community for many years before retiring and selling his business. The business later moved a few blocks up the Jefferson Street before eventually closing in September 2019.

Last September, Joe Michael Robertson bought the original location and the brand and reopened the pharmacy at its original location. He even brought back many of the original pharmacy’s employees. All seven of the pharmacy’s current employees had worked at Diket’s before including their longest serving employee, Melanie Smith, a pharmacy tech and insurance specialist who has been with the company since 1984 and pharmacist April Stringer, PharmD. Stringer had worked for Diket’s for 12 years before rejoining the company in September.

In addition to bringing back the company’s original employees, Robertson also oversaw the restoration of the original building. The new pharmacy has a second drive through, new paint and décor (including a vintage-style jukebox), and new logos inside. Although some changes have been made, Stringer said that it was still familiar. “It feels like home,” she said.

Robertson, his employees, friends, and family members joined the Jones County Chamber of Commerce in celebrating the pharmacy’s reopening with a ribbon cutting and luncheon.  “I want to continue the legacy that he (Ed Diket) started,” Robertson said during the ceremony. “We’re off to a great start, the Lord has blessed us.”

Another local business is also off to a great start. Be Amazing Paper Company in downtown Laurel celebrated their ribbon cutting on Friday, January 20th. Be Amazing Paper Company, a full-service printer and stationary shop owned and operated by Elizabeth Fanslow, originally opened on Central Avenue in August 2021. Since then, the business has continued to grow. So much so, that Fanslow needed a larger location to accommodate the custom printing portion of the business. She is now located at 326 N. Magnolia Street. During the ribbon cutting hosted by the Jones County Chamber of Commerce, Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee thanked Fanslow for bringing her business to Laurel and for keeping it in Laurel once it started to grow. More information on Be Amazing Paper Company can be found at Their hours are Mondays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. , Tuesdays- Fridays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  More photos can be found on our Instagram page at Laurel_MS.

The City of Laurel, established as a lumber town in 1882, is conveniently situated approximately two hours from larger destination cities such as Jackson, Biloxi, New Orleans, and Mobile. In recent years, the city has become a destination all its own thanks, in part, to its starring role in HGTV’s popular “Hometown” series. As Laurel, and interest in it, continues to grow, we are committed to providing the resources necessary to help all of our residents and businesses reach their full potential.
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