Waller to join tourism board

TUPELO – Mayor Jack Reed Jr. on Tuesday appointed Jonathan Waller to the Tupelo Convention amp& Visitors Bureau board.
Waller, the owner of Tupelo’s Outback Steakhouse franchise, fills the chair reserved for a representative from the Tupelo Restaurant Association. It previously was occupied by David Steele, a former Tupelo restaurant owner.
Waller will fill the remaining year left in Steele’s two-year term.
Chauncey Godwin, owner of Tupelo’s Honeybaked Ham franchise, holds the organization’s other chair on the board.
Jim Beane, president of the Tupelo Restaurant Association, said his nominees for the empty seat were two “good men” – Vanelli’s owner Vaz Vanelli and Waller.
“I was trying to get one or two more, but people just don’t want to serve on boards,” Beane said.
Waller started working at Outback in 2000. In 2006, he became the managing partner in the restaurant.
The Tupelo CVB board governs the CVB, which is funded by a 2 percent tax on hotels, motels and restaurants in Tupelo. The CVB is responsible for marketing and promoting the city as a destination for tourists, meeting participants, athletes and other visitors.
The other members on the board are Neal McCoy (executive director of the CVB), Carolyn Moss (Tupelo Innkeepers Association representative), Bruce Patel (Tupelo Innkeepers Association representative), Jeff Snyder (Community Development Foundation representative) and Wesley Wells (at-large member).
The members each serve two-year terms that can be renewed by the mayor.

Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal