Best of Jackson 2015: Urban Living | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Best of Jackson 2015: Urban Living

The Flea Market, Mississippi’s Trade Place

The Flea Market, Mississippi’s Trade Place Photo by Trip Burns.

Best Annual Event: Mal's St. Paddy's Parade



Mal's St. Paddy's Parade

Kermit the Frog once said that it's not easy being green. In Jackson, though, it's easier than you think during the Mal's St. Paddy's Parade.

It began in the early '80s when the Mississippi Development Authority's current tourism division director, Malcolm White, got a permit from the city, grabbed some friends and walked up Capitol Street dressed like characters from Tennessee Williams' plays.

Know for its Mardi Gras feel and St. Patrick's Day aesthetic, Mal's St. Paddy's Parade is now one of Jackson's biggest celebrations, offering events such as Hal's Marching MALfunction, a 5K run, a children's festival, a pet parade and numerous after-parties around town. This year's festival, which is on Saturday, March 21, also features music from Trombone Shorty and Dumpstaphunk.

The 2014 theme was "Drink Local, Think Global," and this year's theme, "Bringing Home the GRAMMYphone," celebrates the music of Mississippi and the first-ever GRAMMY Museum satellite location, which is scheduled to open at Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss., on Sept. 26. —Amber Helsel

Best Annual Event Finalists

Mistletoe Marketplace (November, / Bright Lights, Belhaven Nights (August, / Celtic Fest (September, / Jacktoberfest (October,

Best Auto Shop: Capitol Body Shop

Multiple locations,


Capitol Body Shop

Since owner Chad White founded Capitol Body Shop in 1963, it has grown into one of the most trusted repair garages in the state and beyond. Now under the ownership of White's son, Doug, Capitol Body is one of the most advanced body shops in the United States.

Besides taking a look under the hood, Capitol Body can also up the visual appeal of customer's vehicle, employing the latest refinishing products and techniques from Spies Hecker Worldwide of Cologne, Germany.

Each of the company's four brick-and-mortar locations—Jackson, Ridgeland, Byram and Flowood—offers the same number of services and same quality of car care, with many technicians that have been with the company for more than 25 years. Capitol Body Shop also offers a mobile application that helps customers find their cars, call tow trucks, read up on car news, get coupons and earn rewards. —Kathleen M. Mitchell

Best Mechanic Finalists

Barnett's Body Shop (Multiple locations, / Upton Tire Pros (Multiple locations, / Putnam's Automotive Service (4879 N. State St., 601-366-1886) / Freeman's Auto Repair (847 S. State St., 601-353-0557)

Best Art Gallery: Fondren Art Gallery

3030 N. State St., 601-981-9222,


Fondren Art Gallery

Fondren Art Gallery is the home of eclectic art and good vibes. "We're a very fun, relaxed place. We don't have a lot of rules," Manager Cindy Smith says, "Art should make you happy, not stressed." If her sentiments are true, there is a casual vibe to the space at the corner of State Street and plenty of creativity to marvel over.

The vast portfolio of owner and artist Richard McKey fills most of the gallery, but you can also find the work of other local artists on display. The gallery also offers custom framing, which manager and freelance landscape artist Smith designs, and framers John Johnston and Matt Gillentine make her designs come to life. Other services include commercial installations, art restoration and classes on Monday evenings, to name a few. —Kendra Wright

Best Art Gallery Finalists

Brown's Fine Art (630 Fondren Place, 601-982-4844, / Fischer Galleries (736 S. President St., 4th floor, 601-291-9115, / Gallery 1 (Jackson State University, 1100 John R. Lynch St., Suite 4, 601-960-9250, / Southern Breeze Gallery (500 Highway 51, Ridgeland, 601-607-4147,

Best Barber Shop: Fondren Barber Shop

2939 Old Canton Road, 601-826-0707


Fondren Barber Shop

Whether you're looking for a tight fade or a close shave, Fondren Barber Shop is a great place for men to get their headsuits right. Combining vintage and modern vibes with clean, neutral colors and rich textures of leather and cowskin, the shop is as aesthetically pleasing as your haircut is bound to be. Eddie Outlaw and Justin McPherson, the stylist couple behind William Wallace Salon, opened Fondren Barber Shop October 2013 to fill a hole they saw in the market. The barber shop offers haircuts, facials, straight-razor shaves, and waxing. Prices generally range from $20 to $45, and indulgent touches such as hot towels make every visit an experience Tom Haverford of "Parks and Recreation" would wholeheartedly approve of—treat yo self! —Kathleen Mitchell

Best Barber Shop Finalists

Maurice's Barber and Style (398 Highway 51, Suite 60, Ridgeland, 601-856-2856) / ACEY Custom Hair Designs (3015 N. State St., 601-362-0326) / Custom Cuts & Styles (2445 Terry Road, 601-321-9292) / Little Dave's Barber Shop (3013 John R. Lynch St., 601-354-1010)

Best Salon: Smoak Salon

622 Duling Ave., Suite 206, 601-982-5313


Syd Curry

When Suzanne Moak opened Smoak Salon in 2009 in Duling Hall, she wanted a rock 'n' roll attitude to match the cutting-edge haircuts its clients walk out with. A sophisticated decor palette of white and black with a few gray touches provides a neutral foundation for the colorful personalities who work there, including stylists Paul Prine and Mallory Sabins. Ask for Syd Curry if you want a haircut from the man who has been responsible for some of the most famous heads in the world, including Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey and Cindy Crawford. Smoak Salon offers a full range of hair-cutting, dying, styling, and extension installment for women and men, along with nail care and other cosmetic services. Smoak Salon has also been involved with the Jackson's burgeoning movie scene, having worked with the crews of locally filmed projects such as "The Help and "Get on Up." —Kathleen M. Mitchell

Best Salon Finalists

Trim Salon (419 E. Mitchell Ave., 601-982-5575) / Ritz Salon (574 Highway 51 N., Suite H, Ridgeland, 601-856-4330) / Salon 11 (118 W. Jackson St., Suite 2A, Ridgeland, 601-898-1193) / LaCru Salon (5352 Lakeland Drive, Suite 600, Flowood, 601-992-7980)

Best Boutique: Material Girls

182 Promenade Blvd., Flowood, 601-992-4593; 1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 7005, Ridgeland, 601-605-1605; 289 Commerce Park Drive, Suite B, Ridgeland, 601-707-7465;


When Whitney Foster (then Whitney Giordano) opened a boutique while wrapping up her degree at the University of Southern Mississippi, she couldn't have predicted that a decade later, her mini empire would become synonymous with trendy clothes and jewelry in Mississippi. Material Girls now has four locations (Flowood, Ridgeland, Oxford and Hattiesburg) and does considerable business online at Foster and her staff have also proved adept at leveraging social media to making real-world sales—fans often reserve items right from Facebook, Instagram and other social channels.

Material Girls offers clothing, shoes, jewelry, bags and other accessories, all in the latest design and color trends. Each fall, it's the place to shop for the latest tailgating outfits, whether you cheer for the Rebels, Bulldogs, the JSU Tigers or the Golden Eagles. —Kathleen Mitchell

Best Boutique Finalists

Treehouse Boutique (3000 N. State St., 601-982-3433) / Fondren's Fashion House (310 Mitchell Ave., 601-362-9090, / Pink Bombshell (270 Dogwood Blvd., 601-919-1366, 1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 5007, Ridgeland, 601-853-0775) Soma Wilai/Swell-o-Phonic (2906 N. State St., Suite 103, 601-366-9955,

Best Category We Left Off: Food Trucks


Courtesy LurnyD’s

Photo courtesy LurnyD’s

Mobile food comes in many formats, from pizza delivery to Chinese takeout, but food trucks were last year's breakout stars. Jacksonians are ready to vote for their favorite rolling eatery.

The concept evolved from the chuck wagon, which rancher Charles Goodnight invented in 1866 as a way to cook meals on long cattle drives. In recent years, food trucks became a prominent player in the American culinary scene because many experienced cooks found themselves without jobs during the recession. Food trucks are more affordable than regular restaurants, and they're portable, which means that the cooks can bring food straight to the masses.

Now, Jacksonians can enjoy food trucks such as LurnyD's Grille, 2 for 7 Kitchen, and one of the area's newest food trucks, Hog Heaven of Mississippi. To keep up with food-truck news in Jackson and in the state, find Mississippi Food Truck Association on Facebook. —Amber Helsel

Best Category We Left Off Finalists

Teacher / Nail Salon / Best Make-Up Artist / Martial Arts Studio

Best Bridal/Formal Wear: The Bridal Path

4465 Interstate 55 N., Suite 104, 601-982-8267,


Bridal consultant Luanne Mashburn at The Bridal Path

The ladies at The Bridal Path help women prepare for one of the biggest days of their lives. Excited groups of gals fill every inch of the boutique space. Bright-eyed brides-to-be search the racks, try on the gowns, then gasp, giggle and grin with the support of their entourage. But the fun doesn't stop at the bride.

The Bridal Path also supplies bridesmaid dresses, garments for mothers of the bride and a host of accessories. Business has picked up since Dec. 26 as wedding season begins in May, but orders can take six months for delivery, so, it's crunch time. With a helpful and knowledgeable staff, plus more than 40 years in the business, this has become a prime destination for the newly engaged. —Kendra Wright

Best Bridal/Formal Wear Finalists

Lace Bridal Boutique (109 Grants Ferry Road, Brandon, 601-665-4860, / Bella Bridesmaids (118 W. Jackson St., Ridgeland, 601-898-0303, / Tuxes Too (4465 Interstate 55 N., Suite 203, 601-981-0106, / Woo Couture (4750 Old Canton Road, 601-45-3262,

Best Caterer: Fresh Cut Catering and Floral

108 Cypress Cove, Flowood, 601-939-4518,


Courtesy Fresh Cut Catering

Photo courtesy Fresh Cut Catering

Since 1990, Wendy Putt and the Fresh Cut Catering and Floral crew have made sought to make every wedding and special event in the metro area different from the last. Fresh Cut's full-service catering and floral arrangements are some of the finest event options in Jackson. Putt also The South Warehouse, a wedding and event venue that provides her team a space to take care of every detail, right down to the flower petals on each two-foot-tall centerpiece.

Besides her 25 years of floral experience, Putt has also catered for about 15 years. When not bringing food and joy to brides-to-be, Fresh Cut serves a number of charity events in Jackson. —Maya Miller

Best Caterer Finalists

Mangia Bene Catering (Broad Street Baking Company, 4465 Interstate 55 N., Suite 101, 601-362-2900, / Babalu Tacos & Tapas (622 Duling Ave., 601-366-5757, / King Edward Hotel (235 W. Capitol St., 601-353-5464, / The Islander Seafood and Oyster House (1220 E. Northside Drive, Suite 100, 601-366-5441)

Best Dance Studio: Ballet Magnificat!

5406 Interstate 55 N., 601-977-1001,


Courtesy Ballet Magnificat

Photo courtesy Ballet Magnificat

In Jackson's dance-rich arts environment, Ballet Magnificat! is distinctive in that it is the "world's premier full-time professional Christian ballet company committed to presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ through dance," according to the company's website. The name indicates the company's religious mission—magnificat is Latin for "to magnify him." Ballet Magnificat! opened in 1986 and started its School of the Arts three years later. Today, around 300 students are enrolled.

The professional touring companies that train at Ballet Magnificat! (called Alpha Company and Omega Company) have performed locally, nationally and across the globe, including in such far-flung locales as Slovakia, Macedonia, Cayman Islands, Korea and many other countries. In the summer, Ballet Magnificat! offers intensive workshops for students as well as teachers. —Kathleen Mitchell

Best Dance Studio Finalists

Mississippi Metropolitan Dance Academy (110 Homestead Drive, Madison, 601-853-4508, / Ballet Mississippi (201 E. Pascagoula St., Suite 106, 601-960-1560, / Lindsey Claire Dance Company (4149 S. Siwell Road, 601-398-3786, / Salsa Mississippi (605 Duling Ave., 601-213-6355,

In the original version of this story, we left off Salsa Mississippi as a finalist for Best Dance Studio. Jackson Free Press apologizes for this error.

Best Day Spa: Aqua The Day Spa

1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 8001, Ridgeland, 601-898-9123,


Aqua the Day Spa has commanded the title of Best Day Spa for more than a decade. Although it took home the award to multiple locations in the past, these days Aqua has set its roots down at the Renaissance at Colony Park. The relatively new location is a serene oasis, with high ceilings, beautiful chandeliers and a calming neutral palette. Aqua can treat you from tip to toe (or, perhaps more accurately, from scalp to toenail) with a range of services from massage to skin care and waxing to manicures and pedicures. Eschewing unnecessary chemicals, many of Aqua's treatments feature natural ingredients such as aloe, bamboo, mango, eucalyptus, coconut, ginseng and more. —Kathleen M. Mitchell

Best Day Spa Finalists

The Sanctuary Body Spa of St. Dominic's (340 Township Ave., Suite 200, Ridgeland, 601-790-2222, / Drench Day Spa (118 W. Jackson St., Suite 2-B, Ridgeland, 601-707-5656, / Body Anew Medical Spa (113 W. Jackson St., Ridgeland, 601-605-0452, / SpaBeca (357 Town Center Blvd., Suite 101, Ridgeland, 601-977-8401,

Best Florist: Greenbrook Flowers

705 N. State St., 601-957-1951,


Greenbrook Flowers has been one of Jackson's leading florist shops since it opened in 1917, passed down through the generations to current owner Janet Jacobs. Greenbrook specializes in full-service floral arrangements for weddings, funerals, holiday gift baskets and the occasional pick-me-up. Luckily for the forgetful, the store also offers same-day delivery.

Store manager and Jacobs family member Gwen Colella says one of the benefits of working at Greenbrook is seeing people smile. One of her favorite events to make arrangements for is the Bacchus Ball, held every Mardi Gras. "I love doing arrangements that are special," she says. "It's a lot of hard work, but it's very gratifying." —Maya Miller

Best Florist Finalists

Mostly Martha's Florist (353 Highway 51, Ridgeland, 601-956-1474, / Whitley's Flowers (740 Lakeland Drive, 601-362-8844, / A Daisy A Day (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 194, 601-982-4438, / Green Oak Garden Center (5009 Old Canton Road, 601-956-5017; 1067 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite E, Ridgeland, 601-707-9440;

Best Fitness Center/Gym: The Club

Multiple locations,


Whether you prefer weightlifting solo, taking cardio classes in a group or swimming laps with a buddy, The Club has you covered. Each location is equipped with comfortable workout rooms and up-to-date exercise equipment, as well as tanning beds, swimming pools, Les Mills' signature exercise classes with certified instructors and lounges for kids and teens. However, no two Club locations are identical. For instance, St. Dominic's offers on-site sports massages and the Sanctuary body spa, and the Township has 10 tennis courts. Most amenities are free for members.

The Club's diverse aquatic facilities set it apart from many other fitness centers in the Jackson area. From the Township location's three pools to the St. Dominic's wellness and recovery pool, The Club is one of Jackson's best options for aquatic and exercise enthusiasts alike. —Kathleen M. Mitchell

Best Fitness Center/Gym Finalists

Baptist Healthplex (717 Manship St., 601-968-1766; 102 Clinton Parkway, Clinton, 601-925-7900) / Courthouse Racquet & Fitness (Multiple locations) / VIP Fitness (119 Colony Crossing Way, Suite 660, Madison, 601-717-2429; 1139 Old Fannin Road, Brandon, 601-624-5757) / Fitness Lady (331 Sunnybrook Road, Ridgeland, 601-856-0535)

Best Place to Get Married: The South Warehouse

627 E. Silas Brown St., 601-939-4518


Courtesy The South

Photo courtesy The South

"Warehouse" and "wedding" aren't the most commonly coupled terms, but when it comes to tying the knot in Jackson, a warehouse is exactly where you should be. When Fresh Cut Catering and Floral owner Wendy Putt opened The South Warehouse in 2011, she transformed the 100-year-old building into one of Jackson's most popular wedding destinations.

"It's a very unique venue—a very cool building with brick walls that can easily be transformed to suit the needs of the wedding party," says The South's office manager, Jeanette O'Reilly. "(Putt) brings the place to life. She's definitely a visionary. Her food and flowers are what turns the ordinary into something extraordinary. She makes every wedding remarkable with her work." The South's flexible space is the perfect canvas for any future bride-to-be with big ideas for her special day. —Shameka Hayes

Best Place to Get Married Finalists

The Cedars (4145 Old Canton Road, 601-366-5552) / King Edward Hotel (235 W. Capitol St., 601-353-5464, / Fairview Inn (734 Fairview St., 601-948-3429, / Mississippi Museum of Art/Art Garden (380 S. Lamar St., 601-960-1515,

Best Kids' Event: Dr. Seuss' Silly Birthday Celebration

March, Mississippi Children's Museum, 2145 Museum Blvd., 601-981-5469,


The Mississippi Children's Museum is a world of wonder any day of the year, delighting kids of all ages with its giant Scrabble board, tyke-sized Mississippi landmarks, dance studio and much more. Focusing on literacy, health and nutrition, cultural arts, Mississippi Heritage and S.T.E.M. subjects, all the exhibits at the museum offer hands-on learning experiences.

Each year, literacy (and silliness) takes the spotlight during the annual Dr. Seuss' Silly Birthday Celebration. Last year, events for the celebration included ooey gooey oobleck experiments, green eggs and ham cooking demonstrations, story time featuring Suess classics, Cat in the Hat yoga sessions, a Lorax mustache competition, Wocket-in-my-Pocket scavenger hunt and "more fling-flang fun." Characters from some of Dr. Suess' most famous books were on hand

"We look forward to this day every year. It is a great time to celebrate one of the most famous children's book authors and celebrate literacy," says MCM President and CEO Susan Garrard on the museum's website. "Events, like Dr. Seuss' Silly Birthday Celebration, provide children with an opportunity to experience literacy come to life off the pages of a book." —Kathleen Mitchell

Best Kids' Event Finalists

Fondren After 5 (First Thursday of every month, / KidFest (April, / Sal & Mookie's Annual Street Carnival (March, / Wellsfest (September,

Best Wine/Liquor Store: Fondren Cellars

633 Duling Ave., 769-216-2323


It doesn't hurt that Fondren Cellars shares a name with one of Jackson's hippest districts, but the location isn't the only thing that has made the store one of the best places to buy quality wine and spirits in Jackson.

Owners Joseph Johnson and Scott Overby opened shop in July 2011 with the goal of offering an extensive selection of wines, specialty liquors and bourbons.

Store manager Ben Anderson, who has worked at Fondren Cellars for about three years, specializes in premium wine selections. He says his passion for wine makes Fondren Cellars a fun place to work. He enjoys helping customers select the perfect drink for a great night, whether it's an intimate party or a grand wedding.

"I love the Fondren neighborhood," he says. "We have great customers and great ownership, and everything about it—I just love it." —Maya Miller

Best Wine/Liquor Store Finalists

Kats Wine & Spirits (901 E. Fortification St., 601-354-9181, / Briarwood Wine and Spirits (4949 Old Canton Road, 601-956-5108, / Corkscrew Fine Wine and Spirits (4800 Interstate 55 N., # 32B, 601-981-1333) / McDade's Wine and Spirits (1220 E. Northside Drive, Suite 320, 601-366-5676,

Best Men's Clothing: The Rogue

4450 Interstate 55 N., 601-362-6383,


While The Rogue has been in Jackson for more than 42 years, you won't find any outmoded menswear lying around. Like the dapper gentleman that classes up the store's logo, The Rogue is all about style. Owners Luke and Alison Abney designed the store to answer to every modern man's fashion must-haves, whether he's hitting the golf course or the books.

The Rogue's massive collection of formalwear, sportswear and casual options includes some of the best-selling brands today, such as Southern Tide, Joe's Jeans, Robert Graham and Peter Millar. But even with its sizeable stock, The Rogue's staff members, many of whom have worked at the store for over a decade, are always quick to find the fit and style you're searching for. Loathe it or love it, clothes shopping gets a lot easier when you can knock out all your needs at once.

Editor's Note: Due to editorial error, we identified another store as the winner of this category in the print edition. We apologize for the error, and will also print a correction in next week's issue.

Best Men's Clothing Finalists

The Landing (111 Colony Crossing Way, Suite 250, Ridgeland, 601-707-7505) / Kinkade's Fine Clothing (120 W. Jackson St., Ridgeland, 601-898-0513, / Great Scott (4400 Old Canton Road, Suite 100, 601-984-3500, / Swell-o-Phonic (2906 N. State St., Suite 103, 601-366-9955,

Best Locally Owned Business: Studio Chane

2906 N. State St., Suite 103, 601-366-9955,


Ron Chane, arguably one of the best-known businessmen in Jackson, began in 1988 with $150 and 24 T-shirts. His brand has now grown into four different operations: Swell-O-Phonic (T-shirt, shoe, fixed-wheel bike and skateboard boutique), Soma Wilai Boutique (his "femme" boutique), Slavebird (the men's boutique) and Studio Chane (Chane's T-shirt lab).

The boutiques, which are all housed in Fondren Corner, open out onto North State Street. Inside, the walls are lined with skateboard decks and some shoe brands you probably won't find anywhere else in Jackson. In the back, some of Chane's more infamous T-shirt (and coffee mug) prints sport local inside jokes such as "Jackson Doesn't Suck Anymore," "Pearl is for lovers," and "It's OK to make fun of Madison."

Locals and businesses can work with Studio Chane to design and print shirts for fundraisers, trips or just for the hell of it. The eclectic services reflect a niche brand looking to push boundaries and encourage a local identity. —Zachary Oren Smith

Best Locally Owned Business Finalists

Maurice's Barber and Style (398 Highway 51, Suite 60, Ridgeland, 601-856-2856) / Offbeat (151 Wesley Ave.) / VIP Fitness (119 Colony Crossing Way, Suite 660, Madison, 601-717-2429; 1139 Old Fannin Road, Brandon, 601-624-5757) / The Nail Bar (4800 Interstate 55 N., Suite 20, 769-216-2152)

Best Museum: Mississippi Children's Museum

2145 Museum Blvd., 601-981-5469,

If you have children or are even just related to a child, chances are, you've gone to the Mississippi Children's Museum in the last couple of years. And whether you want to admit it or not, you probably enjoyed it just as much as your child.

The museum, which was established in 2010, offers exhibits that are informational and fun, and focus on areas such as creativity, health, reading and the world around us. Some of the recent exhibits include the "Gastro Climber," a jungle gym that mimics the human digestive system (smells included), a giant Scrabble board with cushy letters, and an underground area that allows children to explore the ground beneath their feet. Last year, the museum added the Literacy Garden to promote reading. The museum even caters to adults, hosting events such as "Ignite the Night" in February.

If you're looking for a fun and educational experience for you and your child, and maybe even a fun outing just for you, look no further than the museum Jacksonians named the best museum in the city: the Mississippi Children's Museum. —Amber Helsel

Best Museum Finalists

Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (2148 Riverside Dr., 601-576-6000) / Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St., 601-960-1515) / Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum (1150 Lakeland Drive, 601-432-4500) / Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum (1152 Lakeland Drive, 601-982-8264)

Best Place to Buy Antiques: The Flea Market, Mississippi's Trade Place

1325 Flowood Drive, Flowood, 601-953-5914

If you want one of the largest selections of antiques in the area—and also quite a few contemporary items—look no further than The Flea Market in Flowood.

Housed in a 36,000-foot warehouse, you can probably find everything you ever wanted at The Flea Market. It combines new and old, handmade and vintage, with vendors selling everything from crocheted hats and scarves to antique furniture to comic books. You can even find N.U.T.S toward the back. In another part of the building, the 15,000-foot Salvage Market offers unique items, including neon signs and repurposed furniture. Between them, the flea and salvage markets offer everything your vintage heart could desire, whether you're collecting coins for your collection or just looking to repurpose some furniture.

The one downside, though, is that open only on the weekends. Visit the markets on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. You can also visit The Salvage Market from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays. —Amber Helsel

Best Place to Buy Antiques Finalists

Old House Depot (639 Monroe St., 601-592-6200) / Antique Mall of the South (367 Highway 51, Ridgeland, 601-853-4000) / Repeat Street (242 Highway 51 N., Ridgeland, 601-605-9393) / Interiors Market (659 Duling Ave., 601-981-6020) / Interiors Market (659 Duling Ave., 601-981-6020)

Best Reason to Live in Jackson: The People

For almost two years, I've had the privilege of working at a place that allows me to explore Jackson and all it has to offer. I love the mix of old and new architecture, the many different restaurants and local shops, but mostly, I love the people I've met over the last couple of years.

Jackson has a mix of all types of people with different skin colors and jobs and walks of life. Some are artists, such as Josh Hailey, whom I had the pleasure of meeting this past year, or Tony Davenport and Ginger Williams-Cook. Some are restaurateurs, such as Tom Ramsey, Nick Wallace or Enrika Williams. Some are businessmen, such as Jeff Good, who has made a virtual empire here in the Jackson area. And some are just really cool people trying to make a difference in their community and the rest of the world. —Amber Helsel

Best Reason to Live in Jackson Finalists

Fondren ( / Great food / Cost of living / Belhaven (

Best Place to Buy Children's Toys/Clothing: Olde Tyme Commissary

4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 174, 601-366-1849


Walking through the threshold of Olde Tyme Commissary is like walking into a land of memories for adults, and with an array of bikes and scooters hanging from the ceiling—a proverbial dreamland for children. The toy store offers an endless variety of toys with a minimum of electronic ones. From 18-inch dollhouses, looming crafts kits and life-sized animals, there is something in this emporium to peak most every child's interest and spark creativity.

Olde Tyme is a toy store that encourages hands-on play in children, and the art department shows just that. You'll find items such as personalized artwork, locally handcrafted and painted children's furniture and the shop's personalized Easter egg keepsakes. Last summer, they stopped selling a full line of clothing and now only carry clothing for special occasions such as christenings. —Arcadia Smith

Best Place to Buy Children's Toys/Clothing Finalists

Lemon Meringue (1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 1007, Ridgeland, 601-853-2611) / Popfizz Boutique (1481 Canton Mart Road, 601-977-1000) / Helen's Young Ages (4750 Interstate 55 N., 601-362-0317) / Mississippi Children's Museum (2145 Museum Blvd., 601-981-5469)

Best Local Place to Buy Books: Lemuria Books

4465 Interstate 55 N., Suite 202, 601-366-7619,


Books. Books on shelves. Books in glass cases. Even books on the floor. Along with all of this, adorning the walls of Lemuria Books are signed photos of some of America's greatest writers. Of course the southern literary royalty such as Eudora Welty and William Faulkner are covered, but Lemuria also shows off signed editions of big-name contemporary writers such as Kiese Laymon and Jim Harrison.

In a world where Amazon's efficiency dominates the market, Hannah Hester, a manager and blogger at Lemuria, says the bookstore offers something completely different.

Along with personal recommendations, the store also works to bring touring authors to read and discuss their work. In the past year they brought in Mississippi names such as Marshall Ramsey, Greg Iles and Katy Simpson Smith.

The well-established bookstore has maintained a place in the hearts of Jackson's literary types by being the community's place for their next great read. —Zachary Oren Smith

Best Local Place to Buy Books Finalists

The Book Rack (1491 Canton Mart Square, Suite 6, 601-956-5086; 584 Springridge Road, Suite C, Clinton, 601-924-9020) / Offbeat (151 Wesley Ave.) / The Book Shelf (637 Highway 51, Suite AA, Ridgeland, 601-853-9225) / N.U.T.S. (114 Millsaps Ave., 601-355-7458; 3011 N. State St.)

Best Place to Book a Party or Shower: Fairview Inn

734 Fairview St., 601-948-3429,


Everyone loves a party, and when it comes to providing a party space that's both accommodating and aesthetically pleasing, Fairview Inn has proven time and time again that it's one of Jackson's best event venues. The Belhaven bed-and-breakfast-style luxury hotel, which opened in February 2001, is a renovated Colonial Revival mansion, built in 1908.

While the building's lavish, historic looks are an obvious plus, Fairview Inn also has plenty of modern features and space options for parties of eight or 800, including intimate choices such as Rose's Room or the Carriage Room and the spacious Garden Room or patio. If food and drinks are in your agenda, Fairview Inn's on-site restaurant, 1908 Provisions, can cater for any size group, and the Library Lounge serves specialty cocktails, wines and beers. For those with a love of modern southern style and old-fashioned decadence, Fairview Inn offers the best of both worlds. —Shameka Hayes

Best Place to Book a Party or Shower Finalists

Duling Hall (622 Duling Ave., 601-292-7121, / King Edward Hotel (235 W. Capitol St., 601-353-5464, / The South Warehouse (627 E. Silas Brown St., 601-939-4518) / The Cedars (4145 Old Canton Road, 601-366-5552)

Best Women's Shoes: The Shoe Bar @ Pieces

135 Market Street, Flowood, now closed


Women can go to a lot of effort to find the right pair of shoes. They have to consider many aspects, including style, comfort and price. A good shoe store helps women in this process, and that's why Jacksonians named Shoe Bar @ Pieces as the best place to find women's shoes in 2014.

Through many transitions to different locations, from its early days as Designer's Shoe Palace on Lakeland Drive to its days on Mitchell Avenue as The Shoe Bar @ Pieces to its move to Market Street in Flowood, the store has been a staple in the Jackson area for about 21 years. Sadly, on Dec. 27, 2014, it finally closed its doors.

When it was open, Shoe Bar sold brands such as Jeffrey Campbell and Joie, and also sold clothes and jewelry. Many Jacksonians enjoyed the selection and atmosphere and will miss The Shoe Bar @ Pieces for years to come. But if you're in desperate need of a cute pair of shoes, don't worry. You can still go to Best Women's Shoes finalists Arco Avenue in Ridgeland, Maison Weiss at Highland Village and Soma Wilai in Fondren Corner. —Amber Helsel

Best Women's Shoes Finalists

Arco Avenue (1107 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland, 601-724-4627, / Maison Weiss (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 109, 601-981-4621, / Soma Wilai (2906 N. State St., Suite 103, 601-366-9955,

Best Garden Supply/Nursery: Lakeland Yard and Garden Center

4210 Lakeland Drive, 601-255-7262


In the case of Lakeland Yard and Garden Center, bigger really is better. The store is one of the largest retail nurseries in Mississippi, and has used every inch of its acreage to encourage building beautiful gardens since 1980.

"We've grown quite a bit over the years. We're right at about 20 acres here," General Manager Steve Zischke says. The store has continually expanded to increase the size of its nursery, greenhouses and wholesale operation. "We've had a good run."

Always happy to offer gardening tips, the staff at Lakeland Yard and Garden is educated in outdoor specialties such as horticulture, landscaping, agriculture and agronomy. The nursery also encourages further education, helping its employees through nurseryman certification programs. Whether you're a green thumb or a greenhorn, Lakeland Yard and Garden has something to offer. —Kathleen M. Mitchell

Best Garden Supply/Nursery Finalists

Green Oak Garden Center (5009 Old Canton Road, 601-956-5017; 1067 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite E, Ridgeland, 601-707-9440; / Callaway's Yard and Garden (839 S. Pear Orchard Road, Ridgeland, 601-957-1731, / Martinson's Garden Works (650 Highway 51, Ridgeland, 601-856-3078, / Hutto's Home & Garden Center (1320 Ellis Ave., 601-973-2277)

Best Place to Buy Unique Gifts: Apple Annie's Gift Shop

1896 Main Street, Suite D, Madison, 601-853-8911; 152 Grants Ferry Road, Brandon, 601-992-9925;


When you enter Apple Annie's Gift Shop, you're greeted by the inviting scents of candles and room fragrances from brands such as the Tyler Candle Company. In the shop, you won't see the same thing twice no matter how long you stay there. From unique jewelry pieces, monogrammed items, picnic baskets, lunch bags, little girls' accessories and more, there's no wonder why customers both in and out of state head to Apple Annie's when looking for unique and special gifts.

You can even find a gift for that special guy who loves to grill. The shop has items such as Captain Rodney's Glaze, Hot Pepper Raspberry Preserves and Hoovers Sauce Meat Marinade. To top it off, you can have your treasures gift wrapped at no extra charge. —Arcadia Smith

Best Place to Buy Unique Gifts Finalists

Offbeat (151 Wesley Ave., / Swell-o-Phonic (2906 N. State St., Suite 103, 601-366-9955, / Persnickety (2078 Main St., Madison, 601-853-9595, / Fair Trade Green (2807 Old Canton Road, 601-987-0002,

Best Place to Wear Sequins: Mistletoe Marketplace Preview Gala



The Junior League of Jackson's Mistletoe Marketplace Preview Gala has a 35-year history as one of the city's hottest events when the weather gets cold. "The preview party is always a fun kickoff for the holiday shopping season," says Elaina Jackson, the Junior League's vice president of communications.

With 2014's theme, "Making Spirits Bright," gala attendees had an excuse to get gussied up, glittered and sequined to match the party's sparkling decorations. While that's all in good fun, Jackson emphasizes the worthy causes that the event supports. Every year, Mistletoe Marketplace brings in more than $1 million towards "health, early literacy, and social and emotional wellness," she says. "Although it's a fun and exciting event and people love to wear their sequins, it's an event that really is making a huge impact in the metro Jackson area." —LaTonya Miller

Best Place to Wear Sequins Finalists

Hal & Mal's New Year's Eve (Dec. 31, / Bottoms Up (3911 Northview Drive, 601-981-2188, now closed) / Thalia Mara Hall (255 E. Pascagoula St., 601-960-1535, / Jackson Convention Complex (105 E. Pascagoula St., 601-960-2321,

Best Tattoo/Piercing Parlor: Electric Dagger Tattoo

2906 N. State St., Suite B-6, 601-982-9437,


(From left to right) Tattoo artist Michael Richardson, Manager Clint Dear, tattoo artist Mallory Palmertree and owner Jason Thomas.

Getting a tattoo can be like scheduling a major surgery. Not only does it require a certain degree of investment and mental commitment, but it's also important to trust the artist who is doing the work. With Electric Dagger Tattoo in Fondren, your ink is in good hands.

The staff of Electric Dagger has almost 35 years of combined experience. Owner Jason Thomas opened the tattoo parlor in October 2013 and quickly established it as one of the best shops in the area whether a customer has a design in mind or is looking for an artist-created piece. "It's important to look around and find a place you get a good vibe from," he says about finding the perfect shop.

While Electric Dagger doesn't offer piercings, its creative crew can whip up just about anything in the ink-drawn spectrum. —Tommy Burton

Best Tattoo/Piercing Parlor Finalists

Twiztid Images (557 Highway 49 S., Richland, 601-664-0000, Squench's Tattoos, Ltd. (3780 Interstate 55 S., 601-372-2800, / House of Pain Tattoos & Piercing (22 Holiday Rambler Lane, Suite 300, Byram, 601-321-9040) Eternal Body Art (3611 Interstate 55 S., 601-346-5963,

Best Music Festival: Fondren After Five

First Thursday of every month,


When most people think of a music festival, the image is of an annual event that lasts for several days. Jackson doesn't have many multi-day music festivals, but we have something better: Fondren After 5.

Held on the first Thursday of every month, the street party-style event brings out the best in local bands, throwing in the occasional touring act for good measure. Take a stroll through the historic Jackson neighborhood during the event, and you're likely to hear everything from acoustic-based singer-songwriter pop to heavy metal. There's usually something for everyone.

Fondren After 5 is not only an excellent place for up-and-coming local bands to showcase their talents, but it's a perfect place for networking and shopping. Local shops and organizations get to show off their wares after hours in a family-friendly environment. —Tommy Burton

Best Music Festival Finalists

Jackson Rhythm and Blues Festival (August, / Bright Lights, Belhaven Nights (August, / Jacktoberfest (October, / CelticFest (September,

Best Tailor: Custom Tailoring by Al



Al Guevera

Al Guevara can see a garment on anybody and instantly know what alterations, if any, it needs to fit well and look good. It's a family trade that he shares with his siblings, aunts, uncles, mother and paternal grandmother. "I have it in my blood, and I do it because I love it," he says.

Guevara set out on his own 15 years ago, offering alterations, tailoring and custom garment design, his true passion. After leasing a space in Renaissance for about four years, Guevara recently made the move to taking appointments from home, but he is currently searching for a new storefront.

He could talk tailoring and designing all day long and enjoys sharing his gift with those aspiring to work in his field. As good as he is, Guevara is always looking to improve and keeps up with current equipment and techniques. —LaTonya Miller

Best Tailor Finalists

Michael Armstrong (Tom James Company, 1775 Lelia Drive, Suite D, 601-713-2034, / Finishing Touch Alterations (4551 Office Park Drive, 601-362-5288) / Nana's Alternations and Tailoring (975 North St., Suite 107, 601-969-3189)

Best Tourist Attraction: Fondren


When I was 16, if you asked me where downtown Jackson was, I probably couldn't tell you. But I could tell you exactly where Fondren was.

It was my favorite place to go when I was younger, and it still is to this day. I remember going to Swell-o-Phonic when it was in Fondren Public's former location and listening to music there. I remember walking down State Street to the Fondren Beverage Emporium, back before the building housed the Fondren Art Gallery. And I remember being captivated at the idea of Sneaky Beans serving coffee and beer.

Nothing says Jackson to me more than the funky vibe of the district. It's got everything you'd want in a neighborhood—shopping, dining, places to walk—while also being an artistic haven that's home to many Jackson creatives. That energy breathes life into the rest of the city, so that all of Jackson becomes the place it is. —Amber Helsel

Best Tourist Attraction Finalists

Mississippi Children's Museum (2145 Museum Blvd., 601-981-5469, mississippichildrens / Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (2148 Riverside Dr., 601-576-6000, / Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum (1150 Lakeland Drive, 601-432-4500) / Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St., 601-960-1515,

Best Veterinary Clinic: North State Animal and Bird Hospital

5208 N. State St., 601-982-8261,


Dr. Adrian Whittington

It has been in business for more than 50 years. The clinic offers radiology, pain management, ultrasound and dentistry services, to name a few. This is, of course, North State Animal and Bird Hospital, the 2015 recipient of the Best of Jackson: Veterinary Clinic category. Office Manager Elizabeth Watkins says that the clinic has been successful for so long due to treating customers like family and knowing most pets by name. Upon learning of the clinic's nomination for a Best of Jackson award, Watkins says it validates what they're doing. The clinic's operating hours are Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon, and Sundays from 5 p.m. to 6 pm. —Mike McDonald

Best Veterinary Clinic Finalists

Gluckstadt Animal Hospital (1070 Gluckstadt Road, Madison, 601-856-2002, / Brandon Animal Hospital (205 Woodgate Drive S., Brandon, 601-825-9077) / Hometown Veterinary Clinic (1010 Highway 471, Brandon, 601-825-1697) / All Creatures Animal Care Center (262 New Mannsdale Road, Madison, 601-856-5333,

Best Thrift/Consignment Store: Repeat Street

242 Highway 51 N., Ridgeland, 601-605-9393,


Repeat Street clerk Alexis Paulin

Whether you're looking for pieces for a costume, furniture for your house or even just some everyday wear, chances are, you can find pretty much anything you're looking for at Repeat Street in Ridgeland. Repeat Street originated eight years ago in a small 700-square-foot store and moved to its current location in June 2012, which allows for storage and showcase space at 17,000 square feet. It now holds the title for being the largest consignment store in Mississippi. Even a nomination is "something to take note of" and "a huge compliment," says store manager Parker Wilkinson. Visit Repeat Street from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Consignment hours are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. —Mike McDonald

Best Thrift/Consignment Store Finalists

The Orange Peel (422 Mitchell Ave., 601-364-9977) / N.U.T.S. (114 Millsaps Ave., 601-355-7458; 3011 N. State St.; / Silly Billy's Consignment Shop (534 E. Mitchell Ave., 601-672-6693) / Fondren Muse (3413 N. State St., 601-345-1155) / N.U.T.S. (114 Millsaps Ave., 601-355-7458; 3011 N. State St.;

In the original version of this story, we left off N.U.T.S. as a finalist for Best Thrift/Consignment Store. Jackson Free Press apologizes for this error.

Best Yoga Studio: Butterfly Yoga

3025 N. State St., 601-594-2313,


Since Butterfly Yoga opened in 2002, the studio's reason for being in business hasn't simply been to teach yoga to the masses, but rather, to identify the reason someone wishes to practice and to use yoga as a tool to improve well-being. The studio offers a variety of classes for every level of skill, from beginner to experienced yogi, including yoga basics, levels one and two, restorative, workday and CrossFit yoga classes.

"We provide a service that people are needing right now in society: people connecting to one another and getting in touch with oneself," owner Scotta Brady, who is trained in Anusura yoga, says. "We've been around for a while and consider ourselves very fortunate. When I started, I only had one yoga class enrollee. All in all, it's nice to get recognition from your peers and customers." —Mike McDonald

Best Yoga Studio Finalists

Joyflow Yoga (7048 Old Canton Road, Suite 2F, Ridgeland, 601-613-4317, StudiOm Yoga (665 Duling Ave., 601-209-6325, / Tara Yoga (200 Park Circle, Suite 4, Flowood, 601-720-2337,

*Best Dance Studio, Best Place to Buy Antiques and Best Thrift/Consignment Store were edited to reflect additions of finalists. Jackson Free Press apologizes for this omission and says congratulations to the winners and finalists.

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