“This building was my dad’s appliance store in Yazoo City. I’ve worked here ever since I was seven. I dusted and swept for $2 a week, but I was overpaid. I always liked the store, but dad told me to do something else with my life. After I graduated from college, he told me to come back and work with him, so I did. Dad was a people person and loved everybody. He passed that trait on to me.
I spent 30 years being the CFO of our rental company. We had 15 stores, and I was in the office all of the time. Being away from people was hard for me. Another company bought us out, and I got this building back. My wife was a photographer and tried to get her pictures in stores, but they all had waiting lists. She suggested we open a gift and retail store here. I said okay to make her happy, and ten years ago we started Downtown Marketplace.
Every week after we opened, an older lady came in here to tell me how the store wasn’t going to work. Six months later, she changed her mind and said, ‘I think this is going to work.’ I said, ‘Yes ma’am, this is God’s place.’ This store is a gift from God, and it became a place where other people can sell what they make and care about. We’ve had people come in from all 50 states and 30 countries. My daughters and grandkids work and spend time here.
I greet every person who walks in the door. We’re all God’s kids, and the holiest thing you can do is think good thoughts. People come in and talk about their lives. I hold church every day, all day long. It’s all about people. God sees each of our souls as perfect. We have already inherited it all. I don’t have to covet what you have; I’ve already got it.
I’ve also learned some people aren’t ready to feel good. They guard their bad feelings like I guard my good feelings. I don’t give up on anyone, but I’ll give them time. You can’t take things personally because if you’re mad one day, that’s not the real you. That’s just something going on. One positive person affects thousands of people, whether you realize it or not. It’s all about love and respecting what people think. Listen to people and see what’s on their minds.
Yazoo City means a lot to me, and I want to be a part of the good that is happening here. During COVID, we added four new businesses downtown. We are only one or two more restaurants away from reaching the next level.
There’s good everywhere, and if you believe in it, it will happen. Even now. It’s a wonderful journey to realize who we are and how we can support each other.”