I love the small-town atmosphere.
Thursday of last week, I went to pick up lunch at The Copper Kettle.
As soon as I walked in, I saw good friend Naylond Hayes seated at one of the tables.
“Hey, Coach, how’s the fishing?” I asked.
“The fishing is great,” he said with a grin.
Then Coach, as always, asked me, “How’s the family?”
I then asked the former Rust College and Holly Springs High School basketball coach if he was looking forward to basketball season.
He said, “I’m ready for some football right now.”
Then Shunte Hawkins waved from behind the counter with a big smile. She took over the restaurant a couple of years ago. Her mother, Jimella Echols, who opened the business in 1998, is still around most days.
It’s just one many examples of the good people we have to do business with right here in Holly Springs and Marshall County.
I can’t list them all. Copper Kettle was just the most recent one where I got lunch.
This column isn’t about favoring one restaurant over another. I like all of them – as you see from my waistline.
It’s about community. It’s about supporting local businesses, supporting each other, supporting your friends and neighbors.
I read an article headlined, “Six benefits for you and your community from supporting local entrepreneurs.”
It was written by John Rampton, a contributing writer in Entrepreneur magazine.
“Local businesses give a community its flavor,” the article said. “Towns across America have similar chain restaurants, grocery and department stores but that diner down the street where you have breakfast every Saturday morning is one-of-a-kind. The combined presence of your town’s many local businesses makes it different from every other city in the world. By supporting those businesses instead of chains, you ensure that uniqueness is preserved as a part of your community.”
You can find good fish, barbecue, chicken, hamburgers, steaks, seafood and the list goes on right here in Marshall County.
And most likely, you will know the owners, the waitresses or waiters serving you, and a large portion of the people eating in the restaurant. They’re your friends and your neighbors.
It’s great to look around Holly Springs and Marshall County and see local folks continuing to invest through their businesses.
Some are expanding and moving to new locations. Others are starting anew.
They care about their community. They give back to the community.
Last week an out-of-towner asked me, “How is Holly Springs doing?”
“Good,” I said. “We’ve been here 18 years. It’s home.”
I know we all occasionally shop out of town and eat out of town. I’m on the road in north Mississippi or adjoining states two or three times a week for different functions involving family or this newspaper.
But please, don’t forget the home folks. They’re our bread and butter. They’re a part of us.
And they need our support – now more than ever.