A Glimpse into Southern Security’s Future Collierville Headquarters


This time of year, a million things dance through your mind – long Christmas lists, endless emails and a calendar of meetings and holiday festivities. It’s also “year-end” so business budget cuts and new year investments are topics of concern. 

Sometimes, you just have to take a second to breathe. That’s why you go to the Southern Security Federal Credit Union headquarters, a not-for-profit financial cooperative known for its savings and convenience. 

Walking through the doors, an aroma of freshly roasted espresso beans greets you, reminding you to wake up and smell the coffee. Smiling faces flood the cafe and a barista hums to the acoustic song playing through the speaker.

On the other side, there’s a row of kiosks, offering quick and easy access to your bank account. Finally, a convenient way to check those financial statements your boss has been asking you about. You wander around until you find a door that leads you to a rooftop patio. Outside, people work from their laptops, overlooking the vast town of Collierville.

This is the vision that Southern Security has for its new Collierville-based headquarters that is set to break ground in January 2021. 

“We anticipate this project to take 12 to 18 months. By the end of next year, we should be getting close to opening our doors,” says Dawn Graeter, CEO of Southern Security. 

Architect Valentina Cochran, co-owner of Arch Inc, is working with Graeter to design a space that embodies community. The blueprint details ways Southern Security plans to reinvent the local banking industry.

“We hope to create a community-friendly space where our members and neighbors can get a cup of coffee, hook up to the Wi-Fi, take care of their finances and enjoy the beautiful scenery,” Graeter says. 

Growth seems to be a theme for Southern Security. The headquarters, a 10,000 square foot facility, will be their tenth physical location. Housing around 50 employees, it will consolidate Southern Security’s administrative offices and operations center. 

Virtual Banking with a Personal Touch

Virtual banking is another driving factor behind the project. 

“We are constantly and ever moving towards improvements in our technology and website,” Graeter says. “Southern Security serves over 350 major companies within the Mid-South area, and most of those companies have locations scattered throughout the world. To service these members 24/7, we knew we needed to invest in advanced technology.”

According to Graeter, Personal Teller Machines (PTM) are the new ATMs. Lining the headquarters’ exterior, PTMs will provide Southern Security members with one-on-one service from the convenience of a drive-thru lane. 

“Technology allows you to expand your branch footprint in areas where it doesn’t make sense to have a brick-and-mortar location with a lot of overhead expense.”

Even as it expands, Southern Security maintains its personal touch. 

“When dealing with money, some people feel more comfortable when they can actually talk to a human. Using our virtual banking option, members can go on our website or mobile app and talk to a staff member out of the Collierville headquarters.” 

Graeter attributes her success to personal relationships. Reflecting on her life, she remembers her humble beginnings when she was just starting out at her father’s family-run furniture business. His life motto, “pass roses out along the way,” still sticks with her today.

“His message was that everyone deserves to be recognized, or given ‘roses,’ regardless of their responsibility,” Graeter says. “On my team, nobody works for anybody, we all work together. And I don’t make anyone do anything I am not willing to do myself. “

Leading by example, Southern Security strives to set the standard for quality customer service. 

Why Collierville

For Graeter, moving the Southern Security headquarters to Collierville was an easy decision. 

“If you look at the demographic we serve, we are the credit union for several larger companies that are based out of Collierville,” Graeter says. 

Southern Security first came to Collierville to work inside Carrier’s plant. Sensing momentum, it purchased the headquarters’ plot, on the corner of Byhalia and Southern Home, six years ago. 

“We wanted to be in an area of the community that was growing and thriving like us.”

Like the Chamber, Graeter says that Southern Security’s mission is to support the business community. 

“It’s only fitting that we plant our home-base in the same area as our members and their families. Going forward, we want to partner with the Chamber to promote member businesses and boost our local economy,” Graeter says.  

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