Thursday, December 19, 2013
Letters to the Editor
Smiling Phoenix closing
My wife, Jenifer Eggleston and I opened The Smiling Phoenix to provide a missing piece of the varied tapestry in a small town’s urban scene — perhaps crack open the door just a bit to glimpse what a small town community space could be like here in beautiful and historic Holly Springs. Local citizenry, visitors to our city and every study group that has come here to see what is working and what is not – all said, “Holly Springs needs a nice, comfortable coffee shop — maybe a bookstore, something that could be an inviting community gathering space.” This was seen as necessary towards enriching our town’s choice of amenities, help to make our visitors’ time here more pleasant and perhaps pass along the word.
The Phoenix now has a superb staff that looks upon this as not just a job but also a community service. Its heartbeat has been our indispensible manager, Jessica Cimon – who came to us from High Point Coffee in Oxford as an experienced barista on deck; she has been the creative spirit behind a delightful array of coffee, fruit drinks and sandwich shop offerings and took on the task with the same level of integrity that Jenifer and I applied towards rehabilitating one of the court square’s prominent and arguably more historic buildings.
The Smiling Phoenix was originally conceived as a “co-operative” in which partners shared the shop’s ownership and staffing; the difficulty was the old Miller Building required much work on deferred maintenance. The storms of August 2011 which obliterated the rear third of the building, causing considerable damage on both floors where functions of the proposed coffee shop would be; gave way to revisit the coffee shop concept, and we proceeded with cautious optimism.
But a good staff, manager and fine products served in a unique historic space are not sufficient and the needed foot-traffic did not materialize. The Phoenix simply cannot sustain itself without a partnership(s), though we would welcome such. Right now, our little family comes first.
Never seen as a profitable enterprise, Jenifer and I are not that delusional — we only asked that the Phoenix support itself and thrive as a community resource. We tried very hard and wish to thank those who supported our effort and those groups who chose the Phoenix as their place to meet.
The Smiling Phoenix will continue to host to local performing and visual artists, authors and special event rentals, as we consider its future. In the interim, particular heart-felt thanks go to our friends who became “regulars” and truly embraced the concept of a communal space on Holly Springs’ historic court square and shared with us that glimpse into what could be.
We shall miss seeing you in this special place at the corner of Van Dorn Avenue and S. Memphis Street. But a final thanks is reserved for Jessica Cimon and the staff she has assembled in these six months – Holly Springs has been enriched by her own unique, sometimes – no always – quirky but delightful splash of color on the tapestry that is Holly Springs — and she will certainly be missed.
Again, thank you all for your support and perhaps The Phoenix will rise again in its own proper time.
Heartfelt thank you
New Hope Village Emergency Shelter and the Marshall County Food Pantry would like to thank all those who donated funds and food this past year. Although our funding was reduced, the community donations enabled New Hope Village to continue to serve.
A heartfelt thank you is extended to all the churches, businesses and organizations that have continued to stand with us during this trying time and have allowed New Hope Village to impact many more families.
We appreciate each and every food, clothing and monetary donation and ask that you keep New Hope Village as a venue for your charitable giving!
You may continue to bring or mail all donations to New Hope Village, 488 MLK, Jr. Drive, Holly Springs, MS 38635.
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