As the saying goes … if you build it, they will come.
This rings true for the Wichts in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
This pair of mental health professionals balance out raising four home-schooled children and running numerous local businesses.
“We work really hard, but we play hard, too,” explained Wade Wicht.
Wade and his wife Ramona have been therapists for over two decades. In 2015, they ventured out on their own and launched The Cornerstone Group, providing mental health services, in downtown Hattiesburg. But they didn’t stop there.
“We had bought buildings in downtown Hattiesburg that my father and his law partners had owned since 1973,” Wade said. “So, we had a lot of space and a lot of ideas. We thought, ‘what’s next?’” Ramona added.
What’s next would eventually come about from inspiration provided by Ramona’s brother. He shared a photo of himself and his son axe-throwing at a facility in another city. She shared it with Wade, and their next business was born.
“We looked into it and decided the right way to get this going was to get the Mayor behind us,” Wade said. “So, we showed Mayor Toby Barker a video of another axe-throwing business that had already been established and shared we’re considering it.”
Wade said, thankfully, Mayor Barker was on board. And by February 2020, Alley Cats Axe Throwing Company was open for business.
Regions is extremely committed to investing in our small businesses, because they are the backbone of our communities.
Tyler Lofton, Hattiesburg Consumer Banking manager for Regions
“We wanted to be a part of bringing back the downtown and revitalizing it, because Hattiesburg is a really cool town and it’s really special,” said Ramona. “This town is poised for big things and so we’re really just excited to be a part of that.”
That interest in growing their community led to yet another business opening in 2021, Category 5 Smash Room, which offers patrons a place to safely destroy old, breakable items.
“The hope was to provide something that was an escape from the day-to-day rigamarole and provide a place that once you step into one of our businesses, you get to leave all that behind. If only for a short period of time.”
Their businesses have all been well-received within their community and beyond. The Wichts credit relationships with helping them grow to where they are today.
“One of the greatest things that comes out of doing business is making sure you’re doing it for the right reasons – with people in mind and bringing those that have shared value and interest along with you for that journey,” Wade said. “Relationships such as we have with Regions, with the city and with others, along with a lot of energy and time and effort into making that happen, helped us.”
Regions Hattiesburg Consumer Banking Manager Tyler Lofton said the Wichts’s mix of businesses have visibly helped the community.
“You have people like Wade and Ramona who take the plunge and jump out there with the faith that they know they can make it work, and in the process, they make their communities better,” Lofton said. “And Regions is extremely committed to investing in our small businesses, because they are the backbone of our communities, and everybody wins because of it.”
“We would love to just be able to make a difference and to help people smile and enjoy their gifts,” Ramona said.