City signs deals with Taylor Grocery Catering

Published 6:43 am Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Popular food service company will invigorate Civic Center, officials say

Batesville officials have taken another step in their efforts to improve services at the Civic Center with a goal to make the venue more popular, even profitable, while increasing its capacity to enhance quality of life for locals, and serve as an economic development tool for Panola County.

Last week aldermen approved a contract that will give Taylor Grocery Catering exclusive rights to all concessions and catering services at Batesville Civic Center, a move that Mayor Hal Ferrell said will greatly enhance the opportunities to make the facility desirable for a host of rental possibilities, including conventions and trade shows.

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“We are lucky Taylor Grocery Catering recognized that Batesville’s Civic Center is making a progressive move,” Ferrell said. “Butch Scott, a partner of Taylor Grocery Catering, has years of valuable experience and an outstanding reputation in the food service industry.  Butch and his team have grown to become one of the premier caterers in North Mississippi.  

“He has expressed that he is up for the challenge of helping Batesville Civic Center be all it can be, and his trademark name will compliment all events,” Ferrell said.

The Civic Center has offered catering services for several years, but city officials said a closer study of the venue and its operations revealed that booking opportunities were being missed because the scope of food services wasn’t always consistent with the demands of larger events.

The agreement between the city and the Lafayette county based catering business will ensure, aldermen said, that full concessions will be offered at every event, and the availability or quality of catering options will not impede any attempts for the Civic Center to host future events.

Taylor Grocery Catering, in their bid packet presented to the city board, provided recommendations from The Inn at Ole Miss, the Oxford Conference Center, Ashley Furniture, and others.

In its 16 years of business, owner Butch Scott said the caterers have hosted more than 450 events at The Inn, where he has exclusive concessions, and over 200 at the Oxford Conference Center, where he is one of nine approved caterers.

Micah Quinn, director of the Oxford center, wrote, “Taylor Grocery has been a catering member for over 10 years and always provides quality catering to our clients. In fact, he is our most popular caterer.”

The company is familiar to many in Panola County as the caterer is often seen at special events held by GE Aviation, CITE Armored, Parker-Hannafin, Blauer, Crown, Cork & Seal, and other local industries.

Scott offers a wide range of menu options to fit all types of events, from wedding receptions and birthday parties to company and corporate events.

City officials recently hired Batesville native Rodney Holley to scout and book entertainment, specifically national music acts, for the Civic Center. 

Holley told board members that his familiarity with the music business, combined with his relationships with national band managers, will put Batesville at the top of the list for bookings, especially when acts are traveling between major U.S. cities and can access the Civic Center quickly from I-55.

Panola Partnership CEO Joe Azar, also a veteran of the music business, has taken the lead on upgrades to the acoustics at the facility. 

The Civic Center’s sound system has always been a problem, but Azar recently reported to the city board that a partnership with Ole Miss is soon coming that will identify the shortcomings and outline the needed changes to make acceptable acoustic standards.