2006 Regular Session
By: Representative Stevens
A RESOLUTION COMMENDING LEONARD'S DEPARTMENT STORE IN KOSCIUSKO ON THE OCCASION OF ITS 100TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION.
WHEREAS, in 1905, Will Leonard and Cayce Fleming embarked on a business venture that would span 100 years through a historical landscape that included two world wars and the Great Depression; and
WHEREAS, Leonard's Department Store is the outgrowth of these two men's venture, and recently celebrated its 100th anniversary; and
WHEREAS, one of three sons of Mary Comfort and Charles Henry Leonard, Will Leonard, at the age of 13, persuaded his mother to allow him to assume full responsibility for the family after his father's death and the family move to Kosciusko; and
WHEREAS, having made the decision, equipped with only an eighth-grade education, Will began his career in the retail business as an employee of W.W. Wilson and Company, where over the next several years he learned the "nuts and bolts" of the retail business; and
WHEREAS, by late 1905, he was ready to launch a new venture in partnership with Cayce Fleming, jointly purchasing the entire stock of W.W. Wilson, and beginning their new firm, Leonard and Fleming; and
WHEREAS, Billy Leonard, Will's son and successor in the business, witnessed the business undergo major changes and rapid growth during the 1950s and 1960s before seizing the reins upon his father's retirement; and
WHEREAS, under Billy's guidance and business savvy, Leonard's continued to grow, adding a Bargain Basement and completely renovating into a full service department store, which ultimately required additional space, when in 1974, Billy acquired the adjacent corner property from the Munson estate, allowing the store to successfully double its size; and
WHEREAS, in 1985, after 40 years in the retail business Billy Leonard retired, selling to Bernard Russell, who was later joined by Tom Battles as a stockholder; and
WHEREAS, in 1993, Allen Massey joined Russell and Battles as a stockholder, and in 1999, Allen and Margaret Massey purchased Leonard's from Russell and Battles, joined shortly thereafter by Jay Price as a stockholder; and
WHEREAS, in 2003, the Bargain Basement became an outdoor hunting store known as "The Soggy Bottom," which was later taken over in 2004 by new stockholder, Shaun Blaylock; and
WHEREAS, it is the policy of the House of Representatives to recognize and commend such outstanding business institutions as Leonard's Department Store, which has continued to serve a broad customer base and still enjoys a reputation for excellence in Kosciusko and surrounding areas:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, That we do hereby commend Leonard's Department Store in Kosciusko on its 100th anniversary and wish them well in future years.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be furnished to the owners of Leonard's Department Store and to the members of the Capitol Press Corps.