A local startup company, GLO, recently completed a new, innovative project—a motion-activated light strip on a downtown Starkville bridge, to benefit both Mississippi State University students and Starkville residents alike.
Starkville, a city always looking for ways to improve itself, was the perfect place for GLO to startup and stay. The company was started in 2015 by Kaylie Mitchell and Hagan Walker, GLO’s current CEO, through MSU’s Entrepreneurship Center.
"We make liquid-activated products," Walker said. "We have light-up ice cubes, as well as light-up children’s sensory toys."
With support from MSU’s Entrepreneurship Center, the company grew and, according to VP of Business Development Anna Barker, "Create(d) an environment where other graduates would want to stay and start their businesses."
Not only is Starkville the perfect place for this company to grow, but the company is, in turn, benefiting the city.
"It’s a way to bring more jobs to Starkville," Walker said. "We started really small, but now we have a decent presence here in town and employ 14 people. It’s a local business with local people that are working here."
GLO is involved in the community in a number of ways, as an attempt to give back as much as they can.
"We have a little community garden where people can come and gather vegetables," Walker said.
GLO gives back to the city in other ways, too, such as the recent installation of a lighted pathway on the walkway of one of Starkville’s bridges.
Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill worked with the company to get the motion-activated lighting project up and running.
“Hopefully we, as a community, can be equally an asset to Hagen and GLO as they continue to expand their business,” Spruill said.
Not only is the company hoping to expand and improve upon itself, it also hopes to develop successful businessmen and women who will keep their expertise in Starkville.
“I’m hoping that with the Entrepreneurship Center, students will place these roots in the city while they’re still here and hopefully they stay afterwards,” Barker said.
One of GLO’s goals is to be an example for the people both at MSU and in Starkville, so they will be inspired to create change and to improve their surroundings in any way possible, something Spruill also hopes to do.
"I’m always looking for new and creative ways to bring things to Starkville that are different, and highlight and extenuate various assets," Spruill said.
GLO has done this for Starkville through their newest project, which is important to the city for multiple reasons.
"You’ve got an opportunity to create something really new and unique and fascinating and eye catching, and at the same time, light a path for those walking between the Cotton District area and downtown," Spruill said. "It makes a wonderful transition from the university/Cotton District area to downtown."
This bridge is located on University Drive between Camphouse and City Bagel, across the street from Stromboli’s. The project was completed about two weeks ago by the company and the city working together, and those who worked on the project said they are looking forward to the benefits of the bridge’s lights for the community.
Walker initially pitched the idea for the project to Spruill around the beginning of this year, and in only a few short months, the plan was not only put into action, but entirely completed.
The main reason for the placement of the LED lights on the bridge is safety and convenience.
"It’s always cool to have something new and fun and exciting, but that’s a really dark area," Walker said. "The thought was that by adding lights there, it might help increase pedestrian traffic from the Cotton District down to Main Street."
The project was inspired not only by a desire for increased safety in such a dark area, but also to demonstrate how seemingly small changes can make a big difference.
"It doesn’t take much to make an impact. It can be something really small," Barker said. "(Walker) was trying to encourage others to want to play a role in making the community better."
The company is not finished with this particular bridge as they hope to bring in a local artist to paint a mural above the lights.
"We hope it turns into a photo spot for people coming into town for various events," Walker said.
Spruill said not only are the lights a new, exciting and helpful addition to the city, but they also foster community.
"It’s to provide a sense of community and a feeling that the entire town is connected from City Hall, all the way down to the university's campus," Spruill said.