By Chris Wilson/Monroe Journal
AMORY – Two new retail stores have opened in downtown Amory in the past month, breathing life into the city’s historic Main Street business district.
Monogram 4 Me and The Precious Possum are start-up businesses locally owned and operated. With several businesses in the past year closing their doors, there were a number of vacant storefronts on Main Street. City officials and Amory Main Street, Inc’s manager Lorie Bryant are optimistic about Amory’s downtown and its ability to survive. “Anytime we can see economic growth in our own community it’s a win win,” said Bryant. “Studies have shown that doing business with locally owned businesses has more economic impact than shopping online or shopping elsewhere. Even small shifts in the way we shop have a positive impact.”
Monogram 4 Me
Monogam 4 Me opened in November at 218 Main Street North, offering a wide range of unique gifts, including personalized monogram items such as backpacks, children’s clothing, purses, bags, pottery, ornaments, jewelry, and household items.
Monogram 4 Me is owned by sisters, Natasha Hussey and Haley Knight. The store is decorated in bold, bright designs featuring blue, red and white, showcasing the sisters’ artistic and creative talents. Their inspiration to open a retail store started when they both purchased embroidery sewing machines last year. Their original intent was to make personalized, embroidered and monogrammed items for their own families, but because of popular demand, they decided to venture forth as business-owners/operators and offer their unique creations to the public.
The pair have opened their store with an assortment of handsewn children’s outfits, including diva girl petti skirts of various colors, custom baby gowns, appliqued t-shirts and other such items that can be monogrammed with a child’s name. They also can custom applique any type of design of choice onto the clothing.
Besides clothing they offer jewelry of all kinds, including jewelry that can be ordered with a person’s initials. They also stock hand-painted Christmas ornaments and canvases and more.
“We are excited to be here in Amory,” said Hussey. “We picked Amory because our mom already had this building and was doing an online business from it. We wanted to give it a try.”
The sisters have big plans for the next year, to possibly expand their store into the rear of the building and to get further into their own design work. Their custom items can be ordered and ready to pick up in just a few days’ time.
Knight is also into customized photography and offers what’s called “My Story Book Photography” that is a montage of prints on a wall panel for hanging.
“We want to carry stuff that’s different,” Knight said.
Monogram 4 Me is open Monday through Saturday, 10-5 weekdays; 10-2 on Saturday and closed on Wednesday. For more information, visit online at www.monogram4me.com.
The Precious Possum
The Precious Possum is Amory’s other new and unique store located in the same block as Monogram 4 Me in the former Roberts Jewelry building at 206 Main Street North. It opened Friday, Nov. 26. The Precious Possum is a store with antiques, gifts and other “neat stuff,” owned and operated by former educator and children’s author Louis Rowles.
Rowles has been renovating the store, adding wood floors and utilizing almost the entire building for displays. Its original tin tiled ceiling has been restored and new lighting installed.
Rowles plans to have an eclectic offering with seasonal items, decorations, live plants, and an array of antiques from the very pricey old Paris type things to the inexpensive collectibles such as crockery bowls and Depression glassware.
Rowles has been involved in selling antiques at antique malls in the area for about 20 to 25 years, but now is going solo to try to breathe new life into Amory’s shopping district.
“I’m excited about it,” said Rowles who is a board member for Amory Main Street, Inc. “I’m hoping this will become a destination and will attract out-of-town clientele as well as locals.”
Rowles said he would like to be the start of something much bigger, with a street lined with antique and gift shops. “Amory needs to be a destination,” he said.
The Precious Possum was an original name that Rowles picked just because he wanted something different and catchy. He said it was also based on the fact that he once had a pet possum named “Precious.” Rowles designed a logo that incorporates a picture of a possum with its tail wrapped into the letter “P.”
Rowles said he has Precious Possum t-shirts available at the store.
Initially, The Precious Possum will be open Thursday through Saturday from 10-5, and “at other times by chance or appointment.”
Other new businesses
Another shop, Studio B, has opened at 209 1st Avenue, west of the post office. Owned and operated by cosmetologist Brittni Smith, the shop offers hair, makeup and nail services and also has items for purchase such as purses, jewelry, gifts and clothing. It is open Monday through Friday and cosmetology services are by appointment only.
The shop is connected by an open doorway to the candy store Sister Act. Smith said she has remodeled the shop and given it a homey, neutral-toned look.
“It’s like coming home,” she said. “Very calming. I would say it is a mini-boutique with something different. Some of the lines of fashion apparel she sells includes Ryu and Katydid.
Smith said this is her first business venture. She formerly worked as a hair stylist at Fonda’s Salon in Amory, beginning in 2007.
Another new business in Amory is Hands of Faith Massage Therapy located at 504 Hwy. 278 West. It is owned and operated by Camille Ray.