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New adventure for Mazingo

By By Steve Swogetinsky/The Meridian Star
March 18, 2001
Larry Mazingo's decision to change a longtime family grocery store into a garden center would definitely qualify for that.
Located at 609 Highway 19 South across from the Bonita Lakes Mall entrance, Mazingo said he believes the location of Mazingo Garden Center, previously known as R.L. Mazingo Grocery, will draw plenty of new customers, and already has.
Mazingo's father, R.L. Mazingo, opened the business in 1938 in the area now referred to as the Texas cloverleaf next to Highway 19 South under Interstate 20-59. With his wife, Melvia, R.L. ran the grocery store in that location until 1955 when he moved down the street. About five years later, he moved to the store's current location because the interstate was being built and the land was needed.
Larry Mazingo went to work for his father in 1970, and became a part owner in 1975 when his father retired.
Mazingo got the idea to change groceries to gardening from his son, Dennis.
Mazingo explained that his son was at the time working as an assistant golf course superintendent in Natchez. He was coming back home to get another degree at Mississippi State University.
The seed was planted.
Mazingo owns another grocery store in Meridian known as M&B Grocery on 26th Avenue. Last year, he renovated that building. When deciding what to do about the Mazingo Grocery, he made the decision to convert it into a full-line garden center.
The grocery business ceased at the end of last year, but the garden center never missed a day. It has continued to expand and grown into the former grocery store space.
His son has decided to return to the golf course business, taking a job in Birmingham. Still, Mazingo has no regrets about his decision.
Steve Swogetinsky is regional editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at sswogetinsky@themeridianstar.com.

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