By Dennis Seid
TUPELO – The former owner of Sir Antony’s Bakery said he fully supported the recent boycott and closure of his old business, which was being run by his stepson.
Antony Jacobs, who owned Sir Antony’s from 1996 to 1999 before selling the business, reopened the store in October 2012.
But the store is now closed for good, in large part due to a boycott that began on Facebook shortly after a bank robbery in Tupelo on Dec. 23 that resulted in two Tupelo police officers being shot, one fatally.
Officer Joseph Maher was injured and is now recovering at home, and Sgt. Gale Stauffer was killed.
Nathan Bullard, Jacobs’ stepson, wrote on WTVA’s Facebook page, “The police been gunning down innocent people for years. … You’re more likely to be killed by the police, than by a terrorist, in this country. So, it’s only tragic when one of the terrorists themselves, is gunned down? I don’t get it …”
Those comments brought an avalanche of criticism and launched a “Boycott Sir Antony’s Bakery in Tupelo” Facebook page, attracting more than 1,000 members.
Bullard was not available for comment, and is in jail, charged with domestic battery.
Jacobs and his wife, Betty Bullard – Nathan’s mother – initially were unaware of the controversy since they no longer had direct ties to the business.
Nathan Bullard has been in and out of jail over the years, Jacobs said. Bullard had been released from jail in 2011 and had been working at Tyson Foods. As a last chance at redemption, Jacobs and his wife offered to reopen Sir Antony’s in Midtown Pointe (formerly Gloster Creek Village) in late 2012 and let Nathan Bullard run it as his own. They spent $20,000 to renovate the space and another $30,000 on equipment.
They offered to teach and train Nathan on how to use the recipes and run the business.
“I worked 14 months without pay to try to help him,” Jacobs said. “But he was not nice at all.”
Jacobs and his wife were shocked by Nathan Bullard’s comments regarding the robbery and shooting.
“It was disgusting, it was vindictive, it was uncalled for,” Jacobs said. “The police serve and protect us and we have all the respect in the world for them. We would never do or say anything like this.
“He wrote these things, and we were ashamed.”
The boycott page has turned into a support page for the Maher and Stauffer families, and Jacobs said he fully supports those efforts as well.
“We supported the boycott, and we support what’s happening now,” Jacobs said.
In essence, Jacobs wanted to set the record straight – that he and his wife had nothing to do with Nathan Bullard’s words or actions.
“We will not reopen the restaurant,” he said. “We’ll sell the equipment, even at a loss, if we have to. But there will be no more Sir Antony’s Bakery.”