Guaranty Bank Breaks Ground
By: Adam Prestridge,
On Tue, 09/22/2020 - 10:05 AM
Property that was considered useless for years along the City of Grenada’s main thoroughfare has slowly transformed before the eyes of passing motorists over the last year.
Today, that property located near the intersection of South Street and Sunset Drive (Highway 8) has been cleared to reveal a business opportunity for an area corporation.
Last Thursday, the Greater Area Grenada Chamber of Commerce, along with city and county officials and members of the business community were on hand for the official groundbreaking ceremony for the newest branch of Guaranty Bank & Trust Company – the 23rd for the Belzoni-based financial institution.
“I want to say thank you again to Guaranty Bank for selecting Grenada as a location,” branch president Brad Branscome said as he stood in front of the recently dug footers. “This is going to be our new bank home, so we will be bringing our bank family to this new site where we will serve the families of Grenada in the future.”
Branscome added that he is not only amazed with the progress of site work preparing for construction of the new 3,700 square foot, state-of-the-art bank, but also how much Guaranty Bank has grown in Grenada since opening a branch in 2016.
“Grenada has really embraced allowing us to be a part of the community and bringing a banking culture to town from the Delta and from a family-owned company,” he said.
The new location will provide the latest in banking technology, including three drive-thrus featuring Interactive Teller Machines (ITM).
CEO Hue Townsend was also on hand to celebrate the occasion and participate in the symbolic act of unearthing soil to officially begin construction of the bank building.
“I just want to thank the citizens of Grenada,” he said. “Chuck Williams (senior vice president of special projects) came to pitch this idea of opening a branch here in Grenada back in 2016, and we have been nothing, but embraced by the citizens of Grenada. We hope that the amount of dirt we moved and the investment that we are putting into this community shows a little return for how we’ve been treated since we’ve been here.”
Grenada Mayor Billy Collins also expressed his amazement with the progress made to the property previously thought to be useless.
“To have the vision that you all had for this piece of property that has been sitting here for as long as we can remember – to reroute ditches and move all of this dirt – I mean, I thought that I had a vision when we were building schools, when we were moving dirt at the elementary school, but I have nothing like your leadership had,” he said. “As mayor, I’m so proud to have lived to be able to see this happen. As I was coming down the hill a few minutes ago, I thought, this is the prettiest spot in Grenada – it really is. You took the ugliest place in Grenada and made the prettiest spot in Grenada.”
Not only is Guaranty Bank executives investing in the community with a new branch, but also with additional infrastructure that can be used for future development. Branscome said that the property behind the future bank building has been developed for future commercial development.
“We look forward to that day and it’s coming,” he added.
Much like Collins, Board of Supervisors president Michael Lott spoke about the transformation of the property.
“This is a good day for Grenada,” he said. “I’ve been coming by here all of my life – born and raised here – looking over at this gully, who would have ever thought that we would be standing on a piece of new ground for a new bank. I just want to say to the owners – the county supports you in anything that you do and we’re proud to see it here.”
The new development is a delight to Greater Grenada Partnership President Matthew Harrison.
“We are thrilled that Guaranty Bank is expanding its footprint and investing in the community of Grenada,” he said. “As a community-focused financial institution, we believe the core values and relationship-based banking philosophy of Guaranty Bank will continue to meet the banking needs of the ever-growing businesses of our region. We look forward to supporting Guaranty Bank as they support our thriving industrial, commercial and small business enterprises, as well as, growing families that call Grenada home. This investment will not only increase banking opportunities, but it will also create jobs.”
Robbie Staten with Double S Construction is overseeing construction of the new bank, while Provine Construction and Willis Engineering are also working on the project. All three are Grenada County-based companies.
“From local contractors, building materials and banking employees, we are proud to know that this investment is making a positive impact on the daily lives of many individuals,” Harrison added.
Prior to the official groundbreaking, Greater Grenada Area Chamber of Commerce Managing Director Damon Tipton welcomed those on hand.
“Today, I love to say as we stand on this construction site, we will soon see in the next few months unfold a beautiful new facility called Guaranty Bank,” he said. “However, what has brought us all here together is not just a groundbreaking for this new facility that is going to be erected behind us, but what has brought us together started years ago with a vision; without the vision of the Townsend family, who are the owner and operators of Guaranty Bank, we would be standing still in that forest of overgrowth with little to celebrate today.”
Townsend said, weather permitting, that the new bank should be open in April 2021.