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When Clarksdale’s Delta Wire plant closed a few months ago it was like having a bucket of cold water thrown in the face of the community, according to Pete Johnson of the Delta Regional Authority. The closing took 79 good paying jobs with no replacement jobs in sight.

“That was a wake-up call,” he says. “After that, I called a meeting and started a business group and invited more people. The last time we met we had 65 people there with some of them at opposite ends of local politics. We had many segments.”

Those meetings led to asking Southern Bancorp to work with the community to develop a long-range strategic plan for Clarksdale and Coahoma County. Southern Bancorp is a bank centered economic development organization designated by the US Treasury Department as a community development financial institution (CDFI).

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