JOUR 2121

Mid-South Corn Maze Opens
October 2, 2016
By Amanda Smith

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Eager fans lined up on Tuesday afternoon at the Midsouth Maze’s opening day to get a chance to meet, greet, and claim the coveted autograph of Memphis Grizzlies player, Mike Conley. This year the Maze is designed in the shape of Conley to honor his resigning with the team. Local award winning band, Southern Avenue played on the Maze’s new stage, The Blues House Bird’s Nest.

The anticipation of the coming fall buzzed in the air as children jumped across hay bales and ran through corn stalks. Visitors helped themselves to ice cream from the Ben & Jerry’s food truck while the crew and Grizzlies’ fans were able to snap selfies and swap tattoo stories with Conley.

Conley grinned and shook hands with fans. Super fan Cameron Moss, 16, was one of the first in line and brought vintage growl towels for Conley to sign. “This is the third time I’ve met him,” the teen boasted proudly.

Justin Taylor, co-founder of the Midsouth Maze, incorporated several new elements this year, including TapBox, a mobile beer tap featuring local brews, and a two-story stage for local bands to play every Thursday and Sunday night.

“We really want people to come out and enjoy themselves and relax,” Taylor said, “ I wanted it to have more of a beer garden feel this year.”

The Blues House Bird’s Nest stage is decked out in hay bales, corn stalks, and driftwood from the banks of the Mississippi River. The stage is a focal point of the entrance and was built by Freddie Romero, a builder on the show Treehouse Guys. Romero strived to give the stage an “eerie and worn look.”

Come down to the Agricenter International for fall festivities at the Midsouth Maze. It is open Thursday – Sunday from 4 – 10 p.m. The Maze is haunted Friday and Saturdays from 6 – 10 p.m. Admission for the maze is $7 and $12 for the haunted maze. Family night is every Thursday and will show a screening of Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin.

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JC Youngblood is Mr. Memphis
November 20, 2016
By Amanda Smith

Memphis, Tenn. – As a man who wears many hats, JC Youngblood has been involved in numerous iconic Memphis companies and events. His resume is as lengthy and impressive. He is a man who knows everyone whenever he goes out.

The Memphis business owner managed multiple Central BBQ locations for many years. He is also the owner of the specialty gift box service, Memphis Flavor, and chairman for the annual Memphis Burger Fest. He co-founded and managed the renovation of Fire Station No. 3 Beer Garden on Third Street in 2015, and in his most current position, he is the event planner and social media manager of Mempops, a hand-crafted natural frozen treat company in East Memphis.

He is a man full of generosity, genuineness and gritty hard work. Youngblood has a knack for making connections with people whether it be clients, partners or friends. His endless amount of contacts throughout years of networking makes him an ideal front man for any company.  Longtime employee of Youngblood, Jeff McCann, says JC is extremely hardworking and very personable.

Mempops opened in April 2015. Owner Chris Taylor started with one popsicle cart and needed someone to promote his name and help grow the company while he perfected his recipe. Youngblood, who had been friends with Taylor for 15 years, saw a perfect opportunity to do what he does best. “He was a natural fit,” Taylor said.

Mempops has exploded in just over a year. Starting with one small cart, they have added two renovated mail trucks, an Airstreamer, a brick and mortar store, and a total of four carts. This allows them to be in several different places offsite at one time, Youngblood said.

The popsicle company now staffs around 14 employees that help produce an average of 5,000 popsicles per week. This spring Mempops serviced 30-40 events per week including clients such as FedEx and Smith & Nephew. The especially sweltering summer in Memphis created the perfect environment for a new locally sourced popsicle company.

Youngblood said he is taking this winter as an opportunity to reflect and reformulate his procedures. Taylor and Youngblood want to expand the brick and mortar stores. “We really like the Crosstown area and we’re in negotiations with them,” Youngblood said. They also have their eyes on Collierville. He plans to open another store or two in Spring 2017.

Memphis Flavor is a gift box service that ships many locally source products anywhere in the world. Youngblood started the company about one year ago, and explained that he was aiming to sell boxes 30-50 for the first season, but they sold close to 300 that first holiday season. Customers can go online and customize their boxes including products from local spices, sauces, seasonings, sweet treats and snacks. This paragraph would be more effective with a quote from Youngblood.

Youngblood is a man who does nothing halfway. He proudly displays his products on his many social media accounts, and makes a strong effort to reach out to his customers by commenting on any posts that feature his products. Somehow, he still finds time to coach his daughter’s soccer team and ride the trails at Shelby Farms.

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