New company to open space at city’s port

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A supplier of lighting equipment has chosen to base operations at the Port of Vicksburg.

Five Stars Lighting Ltd. was approved Monday by the Warren County Port Commission to lease a county-owned metal warehouse at 95 Waring Road to ship lighting equipment to manufacturers in the lighting and electrical industry.

The company will assemble parts of pre-ordered commercial lighting products shipped from overseas to the Vicksburg facility, which will become the fledgling company’s worldwide headquarters.

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John Tselepis, vice president of operations and sales, told port commissioners the industry will be unique to Vicksburg’s industrial landscape.

“We won’t be competing against the Cooper Lightings of the world,” Tselepis said. “We’ll actually supply them.”

An array of mostly outdoor commercial lighting, such as compact fluorescent outdoor street lamps and sign lights, will be shipped from what the three-person company envisions as a distribution and light assembly facility on the port in the short term. Additional shipping and receiving hires will bring employment up to 15 by the end of the first quarter of 2010, Tselepis said.

Acquired by the commission in December, the 32,000-square-foot building that will house the company’s operations is on 3.1 acres near the port’s cargo unloading facilities on Port Terminal Circle. The commission bought the land in the hopes of expanding loading space and boosting  revenue. The deal with the company includes a three-year option. Revenue from the lease is expected at $12,500 annually, according to budget projections for 2009-10.

“We’re proud to have them as a new company in Vicksburg,” Warren County Port Commission Executive Director Wayne Mansfield said.

The news coincides with a renewal of its agreement with Kinder Morgan to operate the port. Terms calling for an annual base rent of $235,000 plus 8 percent if yearly revenue tops $2.225 million are tied to an Oct. 1 deadline to nail down a deal with Russia-based Severstal to ship steelmaking components to its plant in Columbus.

Five Stars Lighting’s move to Vicksburg is the first new business at either of the county-owned industrial facilities since Yorozu Automotive Mississippi closed last year. Sites at Ceres Research and Industrial Interplex, off Interstate 20 at Flowers, have been shopped to a mix of established and startup industries, Mansfield said, with financing a lingering challenge for local government and industry.

Grant funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 remain possible, joining energy-efficiency grants to replace windows at the public library and supervisors’ offices as the lone streams of revenue that may flow to Warren County.

Yazoo County Port Commission Director Henry Cote met in a closed session with commissioners to explore the topic. Mansfield said the meeting was not open to the public because of exceptions in state open meetings laws regarding location, relocation or expansion of industry.

Cote said the meeting focused on how stimulus money from the U.S. Department of Transportation could finance re-establishment of rail service between the two counties to spur growth for both ports.

The federal agency has been allocated $1.5 billion through September 2011 for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants, which are available to state and local government or transit agencies for an assortment of infrastructure improvements, including ones that connect ports to other modes of transportation. Applications for the grants face a November deadline for submittal and a Feb. 17, 2010, deadline for projects to be announced, according to program guidelines.

The commission also renewed a lease for bow hunting and approved the hiring of Katrina Shirley as an administrative assistant.


Contact Danny Barrett Jr. at