FALL STYLE, DINING, OUT AND ABOUT
SEPT/OCT 2022 OxfordMag.com Volume 6 | Issue 5 $4.95
50TH ANNIVERSARY I Sept/Oct 2022
Top 20 Under 40
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2 Sept/Oct 2022
11 home & garden
11 Home & Garden: Wellsgate
food 17 Amore
arts & culture
20 UNDER 40
WILDROSE KENNELS 50TH ANNIVERSARY The History, The Wildrose Way, The Future
21 A Gem Just on the Outskirts of Town
in every issue
4 Contributors 5 Letter from the publisher 8 What to do in Oxford 38 Book Picks 66 Style Guide 71 Out and About 76 Marketplace 77 Said and Done OxfordMag.com 3
Jake Davis Ben Fulger Maya Martin Kelby Zendejas
CONTRIBUTORS Joey Brent Davis Coen Angela Cutrer Jim Dees Jan Henning Jude Burke-Lewis Bruce Newman Lyn Roberts
Jan Henning, Writer
Jan Henning is retired from Delta Airlines after a 30 year career as a flight attendant. She has a journalism degree from the University of Georgia and has written travel, home and garden stories for newspapers and magazines in Rock Hill, South Carolina; Frisco, Texas and the Oxford Eagle.
Jude Burke-Lewis, Writer
Jude is a recent transplant to Oxford, having moved here from London, UK in 2019. She worked as a journalist back in her home country including three years at an education newspaper, and is now a freelance writer.
Amelia Miller Clifton Clements Odom Mike Haskins
Lisa Jean Humphrey
Rebecca Alexander, Publisher
Jim Dees, Contributor
Jim Dees is the author of The Statue and the Fury, which won the 2017 Independent Publishers Association’s Bronze award for best non-fiction in the South. The book was also nominated for the “Best Nonfiction Book of the Year” by the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters. Dees has hosted The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour since Fall 2000.
Davis Coen, Writer
ON THE COVER
Wildrose International Celebrates 50 Years
Photo by Bruce Newman 4 Sept/Oct 2022
Davis Coen is a freelance writer and newspaper reporter from Oxford by way of South Carolina. He’s had stories published in various local publications including Oxford Eagle, Oxford Citizen and Daily Journal. He also maintains a music career with over a dozen tours of Europe and regular airplay on SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
from the publisher
If I had to sum up this issue of Oxford Magazine, it would be celebrating excellence. This is the first issue of Oxford Magazine since Ole Miss won the men’s NCAA baseball championship in Omaha. That sporting event propelled Ole Miss and Oxford to a national stage. We have not stopped cheering since, and we congratulate the team and Coach Mike Bianco for this great victory. In this issue, we along with the Lafayette Oxford Chamber of Commerce honor the Top 20 Under 40 young professionals who are making a difference in our community. Online nominations and voting for the Top 20 under 40 was held in July. There were 4,231 votes cast and the bios generated more than 10,000 pageviews. We could not have asked for more deserving individuals than those chosen by the community and are excited to reveal the list here in our pages. There will be a 20 under 40 reception for these professionals on Sept. 20 at the Powerhouse where each will be presented a plaque. Celebrating excellence also comes to mind as we shine a light on the 50th anniversary of Wildrose Kennels. Many Oxfordians are unaware of the place Wildrose Kennels has in the world of sporting dogs as the foremost gentleman gundog in the world. Here we have a special magazine within a magazine to go into the history, the leadership, the training, the experience and the amazing future of Wildrose Kennels. It is also with great anticipation that we welcome new contributor Jan Henning, an experienced home feature writer. You will enjoy her well researched story about the Wellsgate home of Ibby Morris and the photos. Also in this issue is a peak inside at the artwork of Treehouse Gallery and review of the new Italian restaurant Amore’. We hope you sit back and relax and enjoy this issue of Oxford Magazine.
Rebecca Alexander Publisher firstname.lastname@example.org
6 Sept/Oct 2022
WHAT TO DO IN OXFORD THE LYRIC PRESENTS… 22 & GOOD FOR U: DJ SET The Lyric - $17, 18+ September 1 | 8:00 p.m. FIRST FRIDAY FREE SKETCH DAY University Museum - Free September 2 10:00 a.m - 4:00 p.m. PROUD LARRY’S PRESENTS… TWO BEANS (GEORGE MCCONNELL AND BILL MCCRORY OF BEANLAND) Proud Larry’s - $15-$20 September 2 | 9:00 p.m. THE LYRIC PRESENTS… MIKE AND THE MOONPIES The Lyric - $17, 18+ September 2 | 7:00 p.m. PROUD LARRY’S PRESENTS… SPENCER THOMAS WITH HEFFNER AND ANNE FREEMAN Proud Larry’s - $10 September 3 | 9:00 p.m. MUSEUM MILKSHAKE MASH-UPS University Museum - For middle schoolers & teens, frees September 8 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
OXFORD WEECYCLE FALL SALE 8:00 a.m until 7:00 p.m.
The Oxford Weecycle Fall Sale is a pop-up children’s consignment store that will be located at the Oxford Activity Center on September 17, 2022. The sale will include everything from game day attire to strollers and will be open to the public from 8:00 a.m to 7:00 p.m. To get Friday tickets, head to https://oxfordweecycle.com/ WeeCycle features quality pre-owned items including children's clothing, toys, furniture, and gear. They also host local vendors. The sale happens twice a year, once in the Spring and once in the Fall.
OXFORD BLUES FESTIVAL
PROUD LARRY’S PRESENTS… HAPPY LANDING Proud Larry’s - $10 September 8 & 9 | 9:30 p.m. THE LYRIC PRESENTS… SCOTTY MCCREERY The Lyric - $42 September 9 | 7:00 p.m. PROUD LARRY’S PRESENTS… FORGOTTEN SPACE: CELEBRATING THE GRATEFUL DEAD Proud Larry’s - $15-$20 September 10 | 9:30 p.m. PROUD LARRY’S PRESENTS… WILDERADO WITH MICHIGANDER Proud Larry’s - $18 -$20 September 13 | 9:00 p.m. PROUD LARRY’S PRESENTS… MAGIC CITY HIPPIES WITH OKEY DOKEY Proud Larry’s - $20-$25 September 14 | 8:30 p.m. 8 Sept/Oct 2022
Photos by Maya Martin The Oxford Blues Festival will be held at The Green at Harrison’s the weekend of October 6-8. The festival will include a Blue’s Food Tour, Blues Harmonica Workshop, and even an After Hours Party for all Blues music enthusiasts to enjoy. Musicians include Wolfeagle featuring Trent Ayers and Candice Ivory, Davis Cohen, R.L Boyce, Dwayne Burnside, and many more! Join the party or contact Darryl Parker to be a vendor or for any other information.
FRIENDS OF THE MUSEUM’S ANNUAL HARVEST SUPPER 6:30 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.
The Friends of the Museum is a volunteer organization that supports museum fundraising, advocacy and special programing. Harvest Supper, hosted by the Friends, prides itself on being a showcase of local and regional artists, musicians, and chefs. Annually, the event connects alumni, local residents, and out-of-town guests with artists, writers, and musicians for dinner and entertainment on the historic grounds of Rowan Oak, the former home of Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner, in Oxford, Mississippi.
WHAT TO DO IN OXFORD THE LYRIC PRESENTS… TCB FIGHTS The Lyric - Regular: $25, other options September 17 | 7:00 p.m. PROUD LARRY’S PRESENTS… THELMA AND THE SLEAZE Proud Larry’s - $10-$12 September 17 | 9:00 p.m. PROUD LARRY’S PRESENTS… SHAMARR ALLEN AND THE UNDERDAWGS Proud Larry’s - $10 September 23 | 9:00 p.m. PROUD LARRY’S PRESENTS… TAV FALCO’S PANTHER BURNS Proud Larry’s - $15 September 28 | 9:00 p.m. THE LYRIC PRESENTS… RUMOURS: A FLEETWOOD MAC TRIBUTE The Lyric - $20 September 29 | 7:00 p.m. MINI MASTERS: SPIRIT ANIMALS University Museum - For ages 2-5, $5 tickets per family September 29 | 3:45 - 4:30 p.m. PROUD LARRY’S PRESENTS… TITUS ANDRONICUS Proud Larry’s - $18-$20 October 5 | 9:00 p.m. THE LYRIC PRESENTS… COREY SMITH The Lyric - $22, 18+ October 6 | 7:00 p.m. FIRST FRIDAY FREE SKETCH DAY University Museum - Free October 7 | 10:00 a.m - 4:00 p.m.
CONFERENCE ON THE FRONT PORCH
This is the sixth annual Conference on the Front Porch. It is truly one of the most interesting gatherings in the south. The two-day gathering features important speakers, dinners, incredible music, literature, bonfires, and stories. The conference is headquartered at The Mill at Plein Air – a 12,000 foot venue built from salvaged material in the Plein Air neighborhood of Taylor. Taylor is a seven minute drive from Ole Miss and Oxford and is a burgeoning small town on its own. Registration price is $449 and includes tickets to all lectures and panels, five meals, concerts, field dinners, and wine tastings. The conference is limited to 200 people.
FAMILY ACTIVITY DAY: FANTASTIC FABRIC-ATIONS: HISPANIC AND LATIN HERITAGE CELEBRATION University Museum - Free October 8 | 10:00 a.m. until Noon THE LYRIC PRESENTS… TEDDY SWIMS The Lyric - $25 October 9 | 5:00 p.m. THE LYRIC PRESENTS… WHITNEY The Lyric - $34.50 October 11 | 7:00 p.m. OxfordMag.com 9
WHAT TO DO IN OXFORD THE LYRIC PRESENTS… PECOS AND THE ROOFTOPS The Lyric - $24, 18+ October 13 | 7:00 p.m. PROUD LARRY’S PRESENTS… THE STOLEN FACES Proud Larry’s - $15 October 14 | 9:30 p.m. THE LYRIC PRESENTS… KEVIN MORBY AT THE BLUFF IN MEMPHIS The Bluff in Memphis - $27 October 14 | 7:00 P.M. PROUD LARRY’S PRESENTS… BLUE MOUNTAIN Proud Larry’s - $20 October 15 | 10:00 p.m. MUSEUM MILKSHAKE MASH-UPS University Museum - For middle schoolers & teens, frees October 20 | 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. THE LYRIC PRESENTS… COOPER ALAN The Lyric - $17 October 20 | 7:00 p.m.
VS. TROY Oxford - Wear White September 3 | 3:00 p.m. VS. CENTRAL ARKANSAS Oxford - Wear Red September 10 | 6:00 p.m. VS. GEORGIA TECH Atlanta, Georgia - Wear powder blue September 17 | 2:30 p.m. VS. TULSA Oxford, Miss. - Wear Red September 24 | TBD VS. KENTUCKY Oxford, Miss. - Homecoming October 1 | TBD VS. VANDERBILT Oxford, Miss. - Wear Red October 8 | TBD
THE LYRIC PRESENTS… WAKAAN PRESENTS: LIQUID STRANGER - DIMENSIONS TOUR The Lyric - $32 October 25 | 7:00 p.m.
VS. AUBURN Oxford, Miss. - Wear Powder Blue October 15 | TBD
PROUD LARRY’S PRESENTS… LEE BAINS Proud Larry’s - $0 October 26 | 7:30 p.m.
VS. LSU Baton Rouge, Louisiana - Wear Red October 22 | TBD
MINI MASTERS: SHAPES AROUND US! University Museum - For ages 2-5, $5 tickets per family October 27 | 3:45 - 4:30 p.m.
VS. TEXAS A&M Bryan-College Station, Texas - Wear Navy October 29 | TBD
10 Sept/Oct 2022
WELCOMING Family, hospitality woven through Wellsgate retreat BY JAN HENNING PHOTOS BY JOEY BRENT
The warmth of wood and treasured family pieces threads throughout the Wellsgate home of Ibby Morris. Anchored by five flowering Natchez crepe myrtles in the front yard and a lake in the rear, the home delivers inviting areas for entertaining and reflection. The Morris home was completed in 2008 and Ibby and her late husband, Lawrence, were part-time residents while still living in Macon, Mississippi. That all changed in 2013 when the couple moved to Oxford to live full-time in their home. Efficiently designed, the wheel-chair accessible basement and the three bedrooms on the top floor can be completely closed off, leaving the main level for everyday living. The home is a mixture of ornate details and simplicity in a way that feels collected over time. “My house is the easiest house to find in Oxford”, Ibby explains. Literally at the end of the road on West Wellsgate Drive the house dead-ends to the large community lake in the neighborhood. Built by Wayne Outz of Macon, Mississippi, the home includes architectural features that emphasizes ornate crown moldings, columns that divide the dining and living rooms and notably the front and rear doors. “Wayne hand crafted the doors of Spanish cedar and Ted Skipper of Shuqualak, Mississippidesigned the beveled glass,” Ibby says. The front doors deliver calm, natural light through the 86 small squares during the day, then dazzles at night while mirroring the dining room chandelier and front porch lights.
12 Sept/Oct 2022
“Things don’t matter to me,” Ibby explains, but she holds dear her grandfather’s piano, a crocheted dress made by her mother and a portrait that graces the dining room of her three sons completed a year before her oldest son died. Ibby has filled her home with family heirlooms that include two crystal chandeliers that belonged to her mother-inlaw and photographs of her father-in-law when he played football and baseball at Ole Miss in 1919 and 1920. She has strategically placed her father-in-law’s original wooden door to his doctor’s office in Macon at the top of the landing leading to the second floor. Ibby’s home is not only deep-rooted in the past but very much a place to enjoy the beauty of each day. Collaborating with Interior designer Keith Winchester of Macon, neutral colors flow throughout and are accented with heady jewel tones. “I used the colors of the tabernacle,” Ibby explains of the scarlet red in the music room, a vibrant blue in the white countered kitchen and a purple hue in her bedroom. Ibby gold leafed an oversized mirror in the foyer that continues the seamless flow of reflected light. Antiques mingle with new custom furnishing
14 Sept/Oct 2022
pieces such as the large armoire in the family room designed by Outz that offers not just a beautiful focal point but functionality by concealing the television set. In the kitchen directly to the left of the dining room an extra tall counter provides Ibby the ideal height for baking, that is to say when she’s not working with her son Wiley and his catering business Party Waitin to Happen. Directly in front of the counter, a built-in hutch showcases family stemware including purple Fostoria and a multi-hued painting by Wyatt Waters. “I love the colors of this painting because it reminds me of my huge garden in Macon. I’m not an artist but I can appreciate art”, Ibby says. Similarly, a beautiful painting over the fireplace mantel in the family room came from Ibby’s home in Macon that was built in 1908. The wall behind the kitchen and not part of the flow of the home showcases dozens of framed photographs of family and vacations. “You really don’t see these kinds of walls of pictures anymore,” Ibby adds. A sizeable screened-in porch at the back of the house is a favorite spot that Ibby utilizes year-round. She describes this
generous area as an extra room to her house. In the winter the 15 tall and vertical screens are glassed in and alongside the fireplace a cozy retreat is created. Over the fireplace, a wrought iron gate that came from the garden of Ibby’s mother provides a dash of nostalgia. Two long rectangular tables can seat up to 16 people for entertaining. “I can add two leaves to the dining room table and seat another 12 to 14 people,” she says, and her gift of hospitality is evident. The porch brims with almost a dozen potted plants that include oversized ferns, begonias and Christmas cacti. Ibby had a trough sink installed on the inside of the porch with two spigots to make watering her plants an easy task by simply attaching a garden hose. Facing each other above the porch entrances are two signs, one in English and one in Greek that mimic each other “Place of prayer by the lake” a nod to her four semesters of studying Greek. A porch swing at the opposite end tempts relaxing, and the entire area becomes Ibby’s retreat each morning. Wood steps lead down to the lush grass where a canoe and rowboat beckons and provide fun on the lake for Ibby’s five grandchildren. A pier for fishing completes the tranquil scene. Ibby sums up her home on the lake with much affection, “my house is a house of memories.”
16 Sept/Oct 2022
That’s BY JUDE BURKE-LEWIS PHOTOS BY JOEY BRENT
What is amore? In Italian, it means love. And, according to the famous song by Dean Martin it is – among other things – when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, or when the world seems to shine like you had too much wine. It’s also Oxford’s newest Italian restaurant, which opened on Sisk Avenue in early June. Amore Ristorante and Bar, run by Tony Demaj and his cousin Tini, might be the new kid in town, but it’s backed by
18 Sept/Oct 2022
over 25 years of experience. It has its roots in the 1990s when Tony’s father emigrated from his native Albania – just a short hop across the Adriatic Sea from Italy’s heel – to New York City. Already a keen chef and lover of Italian food, he honed his skills in the kitchens of the city’s famed Italian restaurants. After learning from the experts – and a brief stint running his own restaurant in the Big Apple – he relocated to Texas where the first Amore restaurant was born.
Tony himself grew up in the kitchen, helping his father and learning the ropes of the family business. “Since I was little, I was going into the kitchen to see my dad. I started helping him a little bit, doing this, doing that,” he said. “I started cooking when I was little, started helping him out, giving him a hand and from there here I am.” After opening two further restaurants – one in Auburn, AL, and another in Hattiesburg – the family has now brought its passion for Italian cooking with them to Oxford. “We just had a lot of people saying that Oxford is a really nice place, and that it needed a good Italian
restaurant here,” Tony said of the decision to move to town. The kitchen team at Amore has been with the family for 10 years. Every day they create their signature dishes from scratch, following recipes that Tony’s father learned during his apprenticeship in NYC. These include a wide variety of chicken dishes, including Chicken Genova – made with mushrooms, onions, spinach and freshly made alfredo sauce over angel hair pasta – and Chicken Piccata, sautéed with basil capers in a white wine lemon sauce. There’s also a choice of seafood dishes, including the signature Seafood Amore #1 and #2. Featuring shrimp, clams, and mussels over noodles and sauce – alfredo or marinara – these are both “very popular” with diners, according to Tony. In addition, the menu boasts a range of classic pasta dishes, including lasagna, manicotti, cheese ravioli, beef ravioli, baked ziti and, of course, spaghetti. The undoubted star of the show, however, is the restaurant’s marinara sauce which features in many of the dishes on the menu. Rich and full of flavor, it’s made fresh in Amore’s kitchen every morning. “Fresh peeled tomatoes, carrots, basil, celery, salt, pepper, garlic powder, boil it, every day, every morning. We make big jugs every morning because we know we sell a lot of it. If we don’t sell it, we throw it away. We’ll make a new
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one tomorrow. But we don’t really throw away a lot, just a little bit, whatever’s leftover,” Tony said. So good is the sauce, in fact, that it’s rare to see any left on diners’ plates. “That’s what everybody tells me – 'I'm full, but just one more bite' …and then two minutes later I’ll see the plate is clean, with no more food left!” Tony said. For anyone with a little room left, there’s also a tempting selection of desserts – including the Italian classic Tiramisu (described by one diner on Facebook as “The best I’ve had!”) The food is complemented with a selection of wines from the bar, including many Italian classics such as Roscato, Moscato, Lambrusco and Prosecco, as well as a variety of iconic Chiantis: Bellagio, Ruffino and Classico. Amore first opened its doors on June 6, and since then “it’s been going well,” according to Tony. “We’ve been letting people talk for us, and everybody loves it so far.” Indeed, the restaurant’s Facebook page is full of glowing reviews from diners, with comments including “Wonderful food and atmosphere” and “Ate here tonight and it was delicious!” The hope is that once the summer is over and the football crowds are back in town, the restaurant will be bustling. It can hold up to 130 people, which includes seating at the bar, at tables and booths. There’s also a private room – ideal for meetings, parties or other celebrations. “Everybody’s talking, everybody’s saying it’s going to be better,” Tony said. “Everybody loves it, they need an Italian restaurant down here. They need some good food, and a change from the Square. Just come and see us! Have some good food, some good times and enjoy!” Amore Ristorante and Bar is located at 705 Sisk Avenue, and is open from 11am to 10pm Mondays through Sundays.
$2.50 Margaritas with the purchase of a meal 20 Sept/Oct 2022
A GEM just on the outskirts of town BY DAVIS COEN PHOTOS BY DAVIS COEN OxfordMag.com 21
One of the great assets of living in Oxford is being able to ride just short distances from town to create an adventure for yourself, among the many nooks & crannies that Lafayette County has to offer, especially during nice weather. One such destination is the Oxford Treehouse Gallery, a gem of a stopover just seven miles, or 10 minutes from the downtown Courthouse Square, at 328 County Road 418, off Highway 334 (a.k.a. Fudgetown Road). The owners, Vivian and Walter Neill have been in the Oxford area for 24 years, and the couple opened their space to the public to provide opportunity for local artists to show their work, while surrounding themselves in the environment and aesthetic which they love. Walter’s shop was the first building the Neills put on the property, which has since become somewhat of a compound. Being a blacksmith and a
22 Sept/Oct 2022
sculptor, and with the big power hammers, forges and other machinery involved in his work, the couple sought out a sizable space. “We had to be out in the country,” said Vivian. She said that between having a daughter going into the eighth grade, Oxford’s good school system, and it being close enough for her family to pay visits, that it “just seemed like a good place for us to settle,” after having
just lived in Florida for five years. Although Vivian described their ample-sized property nestled in the woods as an “unlikely location for a gallery,” she said, “it was one of those, ‘build it, and maybe-they’ll-come’ situations,” similar to the film Field of Dreams. “And they have,” she added, about the support of the Oxford community, and travelers alike. After Walter’s shop was built, it was
followed by the construction of a studio for Vivian nearby on the property, which is when they ultimately knew they would share the space with other artists and that the studio would become a gallery. “We renovated the basement into a little apartment, and we lived there while we were building our house,” Vivian said, about their residence which lies in the next driveway over, just a couple hundred yards from the gallery. “Once we got in our house, we were able to get the gallery open full time.” The little apartment underneath eventually became an Airbnb. “We’ve always been interested in art,” said Vivian. “He’s always done photography or metalwork and I’ve always painted, or done this, that, and the other…” Although she began her artistic journey at LSU in the mid-70s, Vivian spent 25 years in the restaurant industry, mostly in Jackson, where she originates from, but then eventually tasked herself with finishing her art degree, which she did at Ole Miss in 2003. (Her last semester was fascinatingly her daughter’s first semester at the university.) She called her years in the culinary industry a “diversion,” and, “the long way around to get back to art.” Striving for the degree was also part of what helped spawn the gallery. Maintaining the allurement of its hidden charm, the destination still takes little more than a hop, skip and jump, and a couple of easy twists and turns to reach from downtown. “It’s only seven miles from town but there are rural roads that get you here,” said Vivian.
She said that a common reaction from new visitors taking the short trip out to the gallery getaway, is “oh wow, this is awesome,” and then they’ll typically begin to get comfortable, “chill out,” and soak in the many works of art it has on display. Also, the huge screened-in porch in the back of the building, cozily engulfed in trees, creating scattered dappled light at daytime, not only lends itself to the name of the gallery, but is a big draw. A variety of occasions, meetings and events have occurred on the porch over the years, including book clubs, live music, or “people just bringing a picnic lunch,” said Vivian. “It’s just a really chill area.” The couple also erected a chicken coop between the gallery and Walter’s shop, where oftentimes “if we’re not dealing with predators” Vivian said the fowl can be seen roaming around. A bevy of local artists Oxford Treehouse Gallery, and its satellite location at Chancellor’s House Hotel in downtown Oxford, both cater largely to the wealth of regional landscape artists from North Mississippi. These include industrious local painter Carol Roark; Delta-native Richard Kelso, who was recently honored with the Mississippi Governor’s Arts Award for excellence in visual art; and Dot Courson, who displays her work also at her own studio located off Highway 278 between Oxford and Tupelo. The gallery collection represents about 30 different regional artists, unlike most traditional galleries that are more likely to feature one artist each month. “We keep a lot of work on hand, and it’s a really wide variety of styles and mediums and prices. So, when people come out they generally want to see a lot. They want to have a lot to look at,” said Vivian. “So that’s what we have focused on, rather than rotating solo shows.” Among the many colorful eye-catching paintings at Treehouse are also a great selection of ceramic works, mainly receptacles of many dimensions and sizes (particularly bowls, vases, pots, cups and mugs), which might be popular among visitors looking for a casual buy. OxfordMag.com 23
Will McComb, a utilitarian potter who pursues a Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics at Ole Miss, has had his work among the inventory. And locally popular Andrew McIntyre, who also studied ceramics at Ole Miss, often has pieces available at the gallery. Ashley Chavis and Sarah Teasley have recently had some on hand, although with the rotating stock it’s recommended to call or email first to keep up to date with fast-moving stock. New beginnings for the satellite gallery at Chancellor’s House Hotel Some of the larger works in the Oxford Bottletree Gallery collection are on display at Chancellor’s House Hotel, which number in the dozens. “They really like having people walk through the hotel and come through the gallery to look at the art,” said Vivian. Also, she said the regional landscape artists are the ones that guests of the hotel most respond to. Particularly “people that are visiting or have moved from Mississippi and wanna take a piece of it back home with them,” said Vivian. The idea of expanding their gallery arose when sales & marketing manager Clifton Odom had
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contacted Millie West at nearby Southside Gallery about putting artwork in the hotel. Millie suggested that he also contact the Neills, and they’ve been hanging pieces there now for four-and-a-half years. Oliver Hospitality Group, which owns mostly historic buildings around the southeast, recently acquired the hotel, and plans to do huge renovations in late-2022/early-2023. This will include new branding and reimagined spaces, which the Neills are very excited about. “This is kind of a departure for them because it’s not an old building, but they do it right,” said Vivian. As far as what else is to come, Vivian said they plan on doing some more live entertainment at Treehouse. “It’s not what we’re here for, but we have done music on the porch which has been a really big hit,” she said. “We used to do a lot more events at the gallery but now we’re really kind of focusing on just the artwork rather than the event space.” Visit OxfordTreehouseGallery.com or call 662-2361667 for further information.
COOPER TERRY, MD
DANIEL BOYD, MD
KURRE LUBER, MD
ANNA BURNS, PA-C,ATC
BETH NORRIS, FNP-BC
CHLOE LLOYD, FNP-C
BENJAMIN BURCH, MD SPINE SURGEON
KATIE STORM PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT
HUNTER HALEY, MD NON-SURGICAL SPORTS MEDICINE
Schedule an appointment, 662-513-2000 @oxfordortho . oxfordortho.org
OXFORD . BATESVILLE . GRENADA . CLEVELAND . HERNANDO . CALHOUN CITY OxfordMag.com 25
Wildrose Kennels 26 Sept/Oct 2022
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS PHOTOS BY JOEY BRENT AND BRUCE NEWMAN OxfordMag.com 27
Ref lection on Wildrose Owner looks back on 50 years of dog training history BY HUNTER CLOUD
Owner Mike Stewart says the Wildrose International story is “a journey across trails.” Stewart’s trail started on a farm in Lafayette County. Stewart’s father was a part-time insurance salesman who trained Tennessee Walkers and ran a horse stable. Everyone had a job to do back then, and Stewart was tasked with training the family’s bird dogs. “I liked the dogs and taking care of them. We quail hunted back then and I started training the dogs as soon as I could,” Stewart said. “The experience got me interested in dogs. People would ask me if I was going to be a horse trainer like my father. I told them ‘No, I will be a dog trainer.’” Stewart is a former Oxford police officer and chief of the University of Mississippi police department. He started training dogs in 1972 as a part-time business. Eventually, he ran out of room to train and in 1988 purchased an 147-acre pasture outside of Oxford. As Stewart kicked off his part time business in 1972, Robert Milner started his Wildrose Kennel in Grand Junction, Tennessee. Milner bred
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American labs with British labs to create a well-mannered hunting companion. Ed Apple bought the business from Milner in the early 1990s and worked to improve the quality of dogs, transitioning to a 100 percent British lab bloodline. In 1999, Stewart purchased the Wildrose Dog Kennel business from Ed Apple and merged it with his training program, creating the Wildrose British Lab breed known as a gentleman’s gundog. By 2000, he retired from the Ole Miss Police Chief role and became a full time dog trainer. Piece by piece Many pieces came together to complete the puzzle over the years. One of the biggest pieces came in 2001, when Wildrose’s brand went from being regionally known to nationally known. Then, Ducks Unlimited asked Stewart to train a company mascot for the television show “The World of Ducks” and other public appearances and demonstrations. He began to train Drake step by step and week by week.
The episodes ran consecutively for eight years and then the TV crews followed Drake’s son, Deke. Stewart said it is the longest running training series he’s seen. “We are very fortunate it brought a lot of attention,” he said. “Ninety nine percent of it was filmed in Oxford. In advertisements you do not want to be forgotten. Threeminute segments each week made sure we
were not and people still follow them.” In 2003, Wildrose built a facility in Jasper, Arkansas, along the Little Buffalo River to introduce dogs to quick and rapid water. In 2008, Stewart opened another facility in Granite, Colorado, at Clear Creek Ranch to train adventure dogs. Wildrose’s next puzzle piece came in 2009 with a call from a writer for Forbes magazine. He was researching for a story about recession-proof businesses and he interviewed Stewart and the Wildrose team. That landed the company on the cover of and they landed on the cover of Forbes magazine. Stewart said it was something he could have never imagined as a boy, and the story generated so much interest he had to add more phone lines and staffing to handle the inquiries. “We have survived a few recessions, and we do well in recessions. We are doing well right now,” Stewart said. “People cut back in certain areas, but they can still afford a dog for a family … People who have dogs See “REFLECTIONS” page 33
There’s something special about a Wildrose dog. The award-winning British Labradors are known as the gentleman’s gundog, and it is a combination of breeding; training; and culture that produces the coveted Wildrose pus. Wildrose Mississippi owner Tom Smith said for 50 years, the dogs bred and trained at Wildrose kennels have ghosted a legendary reputation. When someone sees a Wildrose dog work, they want one, he said. And for individuals or families lucky enough to own a Wildrose dog, the experience is one for a lifetime. The experience starts well before puppy pickup day. Clients can be as specific as they want in seeking puppies, from litters bred from award-winning hunting dogs to companion dogs for families. “We have a little bit of everything and the availability depends on when the girls come in heat. It just varies,” Smith said.
30 Sept/Oct 2022
BY HUNTER CLOUD
Wildrose is one of the few kennels that requires owners to pick up puppies in person. Once on site, owners and puppies are introduced and have the opportunity to get to know each other in the Wildrose setting. Training continues at Wildrose and the length and type of training depend on the owner’s plans. Wildrose dogs are trained in three different types of services. One is an upland and waterfowl bird dog.. He can go on a morning duck hunt, a midday quail or dove hunt and at night
chill with the owner on the sofa watching TV. The second dog is one who can accompany their owner on adventures into the woods, down hiking trails and on water. Wildrose’s third dog is a service dog who can be companions for nursing homes, wounded veterans and others. This service dog started with Mike Stewart training diabetic alert dogs in 2008. All of these dogs are more than an animal trained to carry out a service. They are there to be a companion for their owners, which can be a change from the old culture of hunting dogs kept outside. “It is a culture I grew up in. We didn’t keep a hunting dog inside,” Stewart said. “I trained dogs for folks to be companions. Wildrose dogs are a British lab who have the temperament in the dog I want.” And because of that
temperament, the Wildrose team is able to train differently and produce a companion and a competitor for families. “We don’t use electric collars or force train them. We build dogs through habit formation and consistency,” Smith said. Trainer Blake Henderson started working with dogs 16 years ago at Wildrose. He said one of the things which makes a Wildrose dog special is the temperament of the dogs. They are a British dog with the males typically 60-65 pounds and females 50-55 pounds. Wildrose does not use electric collars or force to train the dogs. Instead, trainers use a positive system with repetition and patience. Henderson said Wildrose starts training the dogs at seven months of age full bird dog training can take up to six months. Henderson said they teach the dogs how to retrieve with hold conditioning. “With them retrieving it is a natural instinct, but the dog bringing a bird back to the person is man-made,” Henderson said. Each dog stays with one trainer the entire time. This allows one trainer to update the client. “Dogs are here for the whole six months of training. We encourage the clients to visit. They can check up on the dogs and learn some of the drills to work with the dogs,” Henderson said. “You still have to work with them at home to maintain everything.” He quipped that sometimes it can be harder to train the owner. Dog training is a process of repetition, and it is the same for the owner when they work with their dog. He tries to get owners to understand the importance of training and to keep working 32 Sept/Oct 2022
on it to develop muscle memory. Owners working with their dogs at home have to remember to be calm and cool because the dog will respond better, he said. At the end of their training period, he jots down tasks for the dog and the handlers as homework. He said the dogs already know what to do, it is just about getting the dog to carry out what you want them to do and when you want them to do it. The Wildrose way of positive training is a break from the traditional force training, which applies pressure to the dogs. Those dogs learn to grab on to the bird and turn the pressure off when the owner pinches its ear. Because dogs already naturally want to grab things and bring them back, there is no sense to force them to do something they naturally do, Henderson said. “The dog wants to please me and do what I want him to do. It is a step of control you have with your dog. You get respect in that process without any negative mindsets,” he said. “In the dog’s mindset I want to be Number 1. Them getting ducks or birds is second. All the respect is for me. When he goes back to me with the bird, it is my bird. When you see it click … You know you did it.” Henderson started learning the Wildrose way with an apprenticeship under Stewart 16 years ago. Similar to the dogs, he started off with the first steps of training and built up. The process is laid out in their book, The Wildrose Way. One of his favorite things to do is to take some of the old school drills and use Wildrose’s methodology to modify the concept. This allows him to think outside of the box. Dog training is all about problem solving because each dog is different. Henderson said they mostly use frozen birds, shotgun shells and shotguns to train the dogs. He added Stewart told him to never trust a clean dog trainer because to work with the dogs you have to get down and dirty. Henderson reckons he has covered nearly every square inch of Wildrose
Mississippi in his training of dogs. “I try to find something new. I think I would have trained close to a couple hundred dogs here,” he said. The most rewarding part of working with the dogs is seeing how happy the clients are with the dogs at the end of training. “When you send the dog home you want to blow their mind away,” he said. “They can see everything put together. It is fun to astonish the owner. I look for the best of the best in every dog. You don’t always get it but you strive for it. I want mine to be the best. When they go out, I want their buddies to ask who trained them.” Word of mouth has been one of the best advertisements for Wildrose. It is how Ole Miss head football Coach Lane Kiffin ended up with a Wildrose Puppy named Juice. Smith said Kiffin’s daughter wanted a puppy and learned about Wildrose Mississippi. Kiffin talked to his staff and some of them knew Smith. Kiffin came out to Wildrose one day and picked up a puppy the next day, Henderson said. Juice Kiffiin has become a social media star, amassing more than 20,000 followers on Twitter and finding his place on the team. Now, Smith teaches Kiffin how to train his dog every single morning. “I think Lane is really enjoying it. It has turned out really good,” Smith said. “He has been great to work with and you couldn’t ask for a better guy to work with. He has let me do what I needed to do to get Juice trained. Lane isn’t a hunter but he wants a solid companion. We hope to have Juice on the sidelines this year so we are working on obedience. He is coming along nicely.”
REFLECTIONS Continued from 29
spend a lot of money on the dogs. People take care of them.” In 2017, the company added regional facilities in Dallas, Texas, at the Dallas Hunting and Fishing Club, established in 1885, and Mebane, North Carolina, near Raleigh,. By 2022, Wildrose added another facility in Kohler, Wisconsin. Stewart’s wife Cathy was a professor at Ole Miss when the business started to take off. Now retired, she works full time as his office manager. “She was a good networker. We have a trailing list of clients that goes back 20 something years,” he said. “She helps me run this company now. We do the oversight of the company. Back then, we would produce the puppies. She would sell them and schedule everything and I would train them . There is no way we would be where we are with Wildrose without her on the phones. It was tough sometimes.”
experience BY HUNTER CLOUD
34 Sept/Oct 2022
Dallas, Texas; Granite, Colorado; Kohler, Wisconsin; Mebane, North Carolina; Jasper, Arkansas; and Oxford, Mississippi all have two things in common. They are destinations for people and they are home to the Wildrose experience. Wildrose International owner Mike Stewart selected towns which drew people naturally as he developed new locations. Dallas is home to the oldest hunting and fishing club west of the Mississippi River and is filled with sports and outdoor enthusiasts. Granite, Colorado, is in the Rockies with cool temperatures and is tick and snake free. Kohler is near Chicago and home to a resort and casino. Mebane is similar to Oxford and is near Hillsborough and Raleigh. Jasper is close to the Buffalo National River in the Ozarks. “Each one of them had to be a destination. We sell an experience here at Wildrose,” he said, while talking from his porch in Colorado. Stewart and his wife, Cathy, live in the Colorado mountains in the summer and go to Jasper, Arkansas, for the winter. And in turn, Wildrose is helping make these communities an added destination. Wildrose has placed dogs in 50 states and internationally in Mexico, Peru, Ecuador and Thailand. Stewart said about 90 percent of those people have been to Oxford to pick up their puppies, as Wildrose is one of the few kennels which requires an owner to pick up puppies in person. While Stewart has built a successful business on breeding and training awardwinning dogs, his growth model is based on a motorcycle company. “I went to school at Ole Miss and they talked about Harley Davidson in one of my classes for a week,” Stewart said. “They talked about how he turned the business around by creating a brand. I set out to create a brand of dogs. I wanted to create a brand.”
Reflecting on how Davidson taught people to ride motorcycles as part of his eponymous company’s efforts, Stewart sought ways to apply the same philosophy to Wildrose. “We need to be teachers,” he said. “To create success we had to teach. I got our workshops going and it became highly popular. When I first held a workshop we had 12 people in my garage and in the last course we had 70.” Harley set up weekend rides and bike tours, and Stewart said giving customers an experience is part of what he emulates at Wildrose. This same experience is what drew Wildrose Mississippi owner Tom Smith into the company. He bought his dog Dixie from Wildrose in 2008. At the time, he worked in construction and was in a hotel room. He didn’t have time to train his dog, but he still wanted to do it himself. Smith got heavily involved with Wildrose, attending workshops and coming to the Oxford location as often as he could. He said he always knew when he retired from construction he might want to train dogs. “I fell in love with it, the people, the grounds and the training ideology,” he said. In 2019, he bought the facility and took over Wildrose Mississippi. Stewart entrusted him to take the company and run with it. Smith was able to make changes he wanted to make, within the budget of course, and he did so. His biggest change was improving the grounds. They upgraded the facilities and hired a bigger staff. “We didn’t always keep the ponds manicured. We didn’t cut the fields as much. Now we have been and we have it looking just right,” Smith said. “We did a photo shoot for Mercedes Benz and the photographer asked if we were on a golf course. I just chuckled and said ‘no, we train dogs.’” One of his goals is to hold more events on the grounds for his clients. Already, he
hosts a Friday cookout with kayaks and music for the staff but hopes to include more for the customers. Three years ago, he started a quail hunt partnering with the town of Wilson, Arkansas. A man had bought the town of 60,000 acres and he wanted to make it a travel destination with a sporting component to it. Wildrose was the answer for the town which is molded into an English village. “We do quail hunts there and our clients can see labs and pointers work hand and hand out there. It gets the dogs we are training more bird exposure,” he said. Wildrose’s mission is to deliver the premium dog to the sportsman. A cabin on the property can provide a place for clients to stay if needed. Wildrose will also board dogs and pick up clients from the airport. Puppy pickup day is the best experience a client will have at Wildrose, and it is a day Smith looks forward to each time. Clients arrive at 9 a.m. and get a tour of the facility. They do demonstrations and go into a classroom where the owners are taught how to get their puppy started in the first six months. This gives the dog a good foundation for when it returns to training. “People put a pin on our map. We have a map in our classroom which has pins from everywhere our dogs went,” Smith said. “We get a family picture with the sire and the dam with the puppy and the clients. We put it on social media.” Oxford has been a great fit for Wildrose. “You couldn’t ask for a better partner and better business environment to be in,” Smith said. “We don’t want people to come here to just get a puppy. We want to give them an experience they will remember for a lifetime. We want them to feel like they are part of our family and to become engrossed in our family. I picked up my puppy 14 years ago and I still remember everything. It is not just a retail exchange.”
Wildrose International and Wildrose Mississippi are going strong. Once run only by owner Mike Stewart and a part-time employee, the company now employs more than 30 people. “I am proud of the success we have had. I always wanted to build something,” Stewart said. While working in law enforcement in Oxford, he saw a need for a drugeducation program in schools. “There was no school program like DARE at the time. I started one,” he said. “I like to build things and turn them over to someone else. I can teach it and turn it over so the legacy continues” He brings that same philosophy to Wildrose. “I’m proud of the legacy we are building. I know it will perpetuate onward. The company will not die with me. It is all about Wildrose.” Stewart has been intentional in training others to take over the various facilities and operations. Wildrose Mississippi owner Tom Smith is part of that future for Wildrose. Smith’s experiences with Wildrose began when he purchased his dog, Dixie, in 2008. By 2012, Smith had sold his construction business and started teaching at Wildrose. He eventually became general manager and purchased the facility in 2019. “I had dinner with Mike and Cathy about a year into owning Dixie. I asked him what his transition plan was for the
36 Sept/Oct 2022
BY HUNTER CLOUD
company,” Smith said. “We were at his house. They had invited me up for dinner and I just popped the question.” Smith said Stewart saw his passion for the company, “and it is how he wanted to pass it on. He wanted to give it to someone who lives and breathes it. Smith’s hope is to continue to bring innovation to the dog-training process while continuing to produce the finest
“The objective is to keep going uphill. To keep climbing,” British gun dogs in the country. He wants to pass knowledge to new clients and staff members as he continues the company’s legacy. “This is a heritage company and we want to continue its legacy until infinity,” Smith said. “It is my job to teach the staff the business side of things. One-hundred percent, there will be a transition one day.” Smith points to new uses for technology, such as Kennel Plus. The digital filing system allows Wildrose
employees to scan a unique code for each dog and it brings up information including training records and health records. It is accessible from any of Wildrose’s locations. “The Kennel Club’s Authority to Compete officials come and inspect us each year. The man was amazed we had something like Kennel Plus,” Smith said. “He thought it was the coolest thing he had ever seen.” Dog trainer Blake Henderson has been with Wildrose Mississippi for the last 16 years. Having spent half his life at Wildrose, he said he went to school at Ole Miss and earned a degree. His mom asked him if he was ever going to get a different job and his answer was no. “The objective is to keep going uphill. To keep climbing,” Henderson said. “We are always trying to figure out something new and trying to figure out how to be above everyone else. We want to achieve it. Everyday is different. It is fun. I get to play and get paid at the same time.”
READ THIS BOOK
BOOK PICKS Recommendations from
LYN ROBERTS General Manager, Square Books
SOUTHERN INSPIRED by Jernard Wells After growing up in Mississippi, Jernard Wells brought the familiar dishes and bold flavors of the South along on his culinary journey to chef, restaurateur, and TV host. With Southern Inspired, Jernard continues his journey—retracing the steps of generations of African American cooks whose creations contributed to global kitchen tables since slavery.
BOYS FROM BILOXI by John Grisham
n Times bestselling author Joh Local favorite and #1 New York ler thril l lega ping grip t in his mos Grisham returns to Mississippi s of immigrant families who grow yet, the riveting story of two son s of themselves on opposite side up as friends, but ultimately find p you kee will s turn and ts twis rk the law. Grisham’s tradema l the stunning conclusion. tearing through the pages unti
BY HANDS NOW KNOWN by Margaret A. Burnham
GRADUATE HOTELS by Benjamin Weprin
In By Hands Now Known, Margaret A. Burnham, director of Northeastern University’s Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, challenges our understanding of the Jim Crow era by exploring the relationship between formal law and background legal norms in a series of harrowing cases from 1920 to 1960. Burnham maps the criminal legal system in the mid-twentieth-century South, and traces the unremitting line from slavery to the legal structures of this period and through to today.
Graduate Hotels is a book for the culturally curious bohemian who delights in elevated interior design that rekindles the spirit of college culture, and it holds a great appreciation for design, art, architecture, the stories behind things, and the people who make cities unique. The book is as useful for design inspiration and mood boards as it is for wanderlust and adventure planning.
JAMES MEREDITH: BREAKING THE BARRIER edited by Kathleen W. Wickham
DAUGHTERS OF THE NEW YEAR by E.M Tran
An illustrated collection of essays commemorating the 60th anniversary of James Meredith’s 1962 historic enrollment at the University of Mississippi. The chronological essays tell the story of James Meredith’s turbulent but successful path to become the state’s first African American to graduate from the University of Mississippi. In Breaking the Barrier former students, journalists, historians and eye-witnesses tell the story of James Meredith’s admission to the University of Mississippi in 1962.
E.M. Tran’s debut , Daughters of the New Year is a captivating novel that moves backwards in time to trace five generations of Vietnamese mothers and daughters, drawing on Vietnamese zodiac astrology to chart the fateful events of their lives. A graduate of the University of Mississippi’s MFA program, Tran’s addictive, high-wire act of storytelling illuminates an entire lineage of extraordinary women fighting to reclaim the power they’ve been stripped of for centuries.
38 Sept/Oct 2022
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WATERCOLOR ROAD by Wyatt Waters
ROADSIDE SOUTH by David Wharton
Experience the American South through the expressive paintings and musings of renowned master watercolorist, Wyatt Waters. His rambling and wandering through the southern trail deliver an impressive collection of 133 paintings, 21 essays, and an array of adages that depicts both the South and his relentless trek to be a better painter as a mindset rather than a destination.
In Roadside South, the third book in Wharton’s magical Trilogy of the American South, the photographer, director of Documentary Studies at the University of Mississippi, captures the quirky and the humorous, the sometimes sad and sometimes ironic scenes that are commonplace along the local, county, and state roads of the South.
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Top 20 Under 40 Revealed
TOP 20 UNDER 40
And the winners are… Entrepreneurs to restaurant managers, business leaders to educators … the 2022 20 Under 40 honorees are making a difference across all areas of life and business in the LOU. The 20 Under 40 program is a joint partnership between Oxford Magazine, the Oxford-Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and the Young Professionals group. Working together, we cull hundreds of nominations and recommendations each year to select the brightest emerging leaders across all walks of life. The men and women in this year’s group share a passion for excellence in all they pursue and a commitment to improving the quality of life in the LOU community. Their enthusiasm and energy is contagious, and we’re thrilled to be able to honor them. Most important, we’re excited to see what our future holds thanks to these folks.
vision through,” said Correnti. “... [And] as I started flying more and more, the other facets of the business were equally intriguing.” Correnti saw an opportunity to create a company to fix the problems he saw in the aviation market. “From the very beginning, our company was designed to provide the industry’s top quality fleet, but it had to be backed by a high-integrity team that was passionate about world-class customer service,” said Correnti. “That combination was and still is very unique in private aviation and has been key to our success over the last 25 years.”
NICHOLAS AIR was started in Columbus, Mississippi but in 2019, the company made the move to Oxford, making a new home in the small town. NJ Correnti’s passion and love for NICHOLAS AIR flies as high as the planes it charters.
The NICHOLAS AIR CEO and founder said he was exposed to other industries growing up, but knew that aviation was what he was meant to pursue and he knew he would succeed.
“I was passionate about it early on, and even though I knew it was a difficult road to travel, I was committed to seeing the 42 Sept/Oct 2022
“We wanted to stay in Mississippi and really felt that Oxford provided our team with a great opportunity to flourish while retaining that small-town and close-knit feel,” said Correnti. According to Correnti, NICHOLAS AIR attracts employees who become as endeared to Oxford as he has.
“The town offers a lot in the way of education and social ventures and it is a great place for new families to come to town, work here, and feel rewarded by living in this community,” Correnti said.
Oxford’s TOP 20 UNDER 40 NJ Correnti, Founder and CEO
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All aircraft are Owned and Operated by NICHOLAS AIR. NICHOLAS AIR and INNOVATIVE PRIVATE AIR TRAVEL are registered trademarks ®2022 NICHOLAS AIR. All rights reserved.
TOP 20 UNDER 40
Growing up with his family in Houston, Texas, Mark Cleary has been surrounded by the real estate business for as long as he can remember. He began his own journey in real estate while he was still attending the University of Mississippi for a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, gaining his license between his junior and senior years. Cleary has been in Oxford for nearly 20 years, enjoying the music, sports, and people. He has established deep roots in the community after meeting his wife Lauren during his time at Ole Miss. With a five year old son, Topher, and a two year old daughter, Carolina, Cleary credits Oxford’s family oriented community as one of the main reasons he chose to stay in town after graduation. He also gives credit to the weather. “Houston is just Summer all year long,” Cleary said. “You get four seasons here in Oxford.” Cannon Cleary McGraw, one of Oxford’s most innovative real estate firms, has given Cleary the opportunity to work with a dedicated group of staff whom he credits for his tremendous success.
“Everybody pulls the rope in the same direction,” Cleary said. “Work hard, treat people right, and everything else falls into place.” Some of the more prestigious honors he has received are for being the top listing agent, buying agent, and overall agent in Oxford in 2019.
“Our original goal was to be the number one firm in town, and we have accomplished that for our third consecutive year,” Cleary said.
Cleary emphasizes that the team of good people he has surrounded himself with is the main reason he is in a position to accomplish his goals and get work done behind the scenes.
44 Sept/Oct 2022
Anna Lauren Heavener
Anna Lauren Heavener is committed to helping others find the balance they need. Heavener grew up in Chalybeate, a small town located in the northern part of Tippah County. She attended a community college before transferring to the University of Mississippi.
Heavener has worked at Ole Miss for six years, the last two as the university’s Success Coach— a position that has provided her with many learning experiences.
“A lot of it is just trial and error,” said Heavener. “What works for this student is not going to work for this year and then not every student is the same. It's really learning how to be flexible.” To Heavener a success plan isn’t a one path everyone can take. Like people themselves, what success means in their lives is complex and truly unique to them.
“I think nobody ever really accomplishes being successful,” said Heavener. “That's a view that depends on how you're looking at it. It's kind of a perspective and if I thought of myself as being successful, it would mean that I have others who know that they can depend on me in different ways like my sister versus my students versus my family— just being able to contribute to others in the way that they need.” And what Heavener contributes? A listening ear.
“I think the biggest thing is being present,” Heavener said.
Heavener is taking her strengths in assisting others and communication and sharing it with the world outside of Ole Miss through community involvement and volunteerism. Heavener has started volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and teaching First Year Experience Class for freshmen and for transfer students.
“Outside of my job, I focus on community, the importance of family and community building,” she said. “I'm very much a community-minded person and, especially since the pandemic, and I’m trying to find and support local businesses and farmers in the community. Coming from such a small town where my community invested in me, I want to be successful in giving back.”
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TOP 20 UNDER 40
Dr. Hannah Heaton
Animal Hospital currently practices out of an old church seminary with vintage 1990s wallpaper. Heaton helped open the practice in April and it has since become one of the premier veterinary clinics in Oxford.
“We have wonderful clients from around town that have followed us,” said Heaton. “I’m thankful that we have a place to go and people to keep us going.” Originally from New Albany, Heaton has strong ties to Oxford. Both her sister and husband attended Ole Miss. She has three children and is grateful for all that the city has to offer families. Her family feels that they have benefited greatly from M-Trade and all of the school and community activities.
Hannah Heaton is a small animal veterinarian who has practiced in Oxford for 13 years. She began practicing in Oxford after graduating from Mississippi State University, and operates at Magnolia Small Animal Hospital, where she is fulfilling her dream of being a veterinarian. “I decided to become a vet at the age of 12,” said Heaton. “My original dream was to work with horses, but as I grew in the profession, my love for small animals like dogs and cats and their owners grew. I could see the connections between them that made each patient a family member”
While the building is undergoing construction, Magnolia Small
46 Sept/Oct 2022
“Despite being a Mississippi State University graduate, I love Oxford and the University of Mississippi and all they have to offer our area. There is a lot that goes on around town, and we love to be around all of the sporting events,” said Heaton. “Oxford as a whole just takes good care of our children.” Expanding and growth are the top priorities for Heaton and Magnolia Small Animal Hospital. The clinic, which plans to have fully moved into the newly renovated building by the end of the Fall, has the full capabilities of any small animal clinic, including specialty surgeries, x-rays, and ultrasounds.
“There have been a lot of people along the way, like family and friends, who have supported us and kept us going,” said Heaton. “I would like to thank the Oxford community, if nothing else.”
TOP 20 UNDER 40
Dr. Megan Edwards
Dr. Megan Edwards-Hodge, 37, is a neurologist at the Oxford Neurology Clinic in Oxford. She said she enjoys seeing patients of all ages in her clinic. “It blesses me to go to work each day and hope that I can make someone else better,” she said. “I have a great staff that makes working at ONC even more gratifying.”
Edwards-Hodge earned a bachelor of science degree in mathematics at Ole Miss and a bachelor of arts in biology. Her master of science degree is in biology medical sciences from Mississippi College. From William Carey University College of Medicine, she received a doctor of osteopathic medicine degree, and her neurology residency took place at the University of Mississippi, where she served as chief resident from 2017-1018. She moved to Oxford after finishing residency soon afterward.
Edwards-Hodge is originally from Water Valley, Miss., but she’s “now proud to call Oxford my home,” she said.
“For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a physician,” she said. “I wanted to help those in need during some of their most pivotal and trying points in their lives. I desired to treat and heal others for them to have the ultimate quality of life.
“Therefore, I knew I wanted to go to medical school. During medical school, I enjoyed learning about the neuromuscular system. I found the composition and complex integration intriguing.
“I felt neurology was often putting together pieces of the puzzle to find the proper diagnosis and treatment. When it came time to do elective rotations, I selected neurology as one of my electives. I was thoroughly fulfilled during the rotation and decided at that point to direct my career in medicine to neurology.” Married to Blake Hodge, the couple has two daughters, Laykin Brett Hodge, 5, and Loxley Briggs Hodge, three months.
“I am honored to have even been nominated for this award and am elated I was selected as one of the top 20 under 40,” she added. “In a town where there are many deserving See “EDWARDS” page 65
TOP 20 UNDER 40
University of Mississippi.
He spent time as a representative for New York Life Insurance before landing a position at Hardy Reed, a fiduciary firm based in Tupelo. However, as his professional career took off, Fikes discovered that he was still not content. That’s when he met his business partner, who was looking for opportunities to invest in new projects. “He and I connected and I began to learn more about his business… I obviously had the passion piece based on my experience,” Fikes said. “At that point we began to have conversations with my family about starting a business that would allow young people and their families to get help the same way we did.”
Bryan Fikes always knew he wanted to give back.
The result of that connection was Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center, a residential treatment program founded by the Fikes family for boys ages 12-18 who are struggling with addiction.
The Tupelo native struggled with addiction as a teenager, but got his life back on track after attending a residential treatment program for 15 months.
Stonewater began operating in the fall of 2016 — providing high-quality care for both local residents and patients from across the country.
Masters of Science in Nonprofit Administration from Louisiana State University in 2020. She has actively served the LOU Community with her service on the Board of Directors for the Oxford-Lafayette Chamber of Commerce. She is on the steering committee for Junior Leadership Lafayette, a leadership program for 10th graders, and is the chair for the Mississippi Coalition of CASA Programs
That program made a monumental impact on the Fikes family, “We’re very passionate about the work that we do,” Fikes who began volunteering in their local community to help other said. “There’s a tremendous need right now, with adolescents needing mental health and substance abuse disorder young people in similar situations. treatment but not being able to access it — and part of that “God just did incredible work in my life and the life of my access piece is because there’s no treatment available.” family through that experience and so, because of that, our family became very passionate about that kind of work,” Fikes The facility has treated over 250 patients since its inception, and hopes that number will continue to grow as they expand said. their services. Fikes finished out his senior year of high school before “We’ve felt that God, having provided that for us and given enrolling at Monmouth University in New Jersey, where he us this opportunity, expects us to share that same experience studied finance and played tennis. After a year in the Northeast, Fikes decided to return to Mississippi and alter his and opportunity with others.” career path, graduating with a degree in accounting from the
Erin Smith found her passion and calling while volunteering with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) during her undergraduate studies at the University of Mississippi. She was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, and CASA is the organization’s national philanthropy. Erin graduated from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelors in Political Science in 2006 and received her 48 Sept/Oct 2022
The need for a CASA program for North Mississippi became apparent to Smith after spending four years volunteering in Memphis. Smith is the founding Executive Director for CASA of North Mississippi, a program that advocates for abused and neglected children in the courts and other settings. She officially gained nonprofit status for CASA of Lafayette County in 2018.
“We expanded into Lee County in January 2022 and began serving children In March,” said Smith. “We have plans to be in Pontotoc, Union, Yalobusha and Marshall counties by 2025 to serve more abused and neglected children across North Mississippi.”
Smith’s goals for CASA of North Mississippi are to serve more children across the region, and expand into a new facility to adequately serve North Mississippi CASA.
STONEWATER ADOLESCENT RECOVERY CENTER Stonewater would like to thank the Oxford community for voting our Chief Executive Officer, Bryan Fikes, as one of Oxford’s Top 20 Under 40! After experiencing first-hand the struggles of adolescent substance use, the founders of Stonewater understood the need for a treatment program that would give adolescents and their families a place to get healthy and learn tools for long term success. Whether the diagnosis is anxiety, depression, trauma, a substance use disorder or other mental health disorders, our clinical team does not limit our adolescents to a diagnosis. We build on the inherent strengths of each individual through identifying their gifts, reconnecting them with goals, addressing trauma and helping each child find and pursue their purpose.
Bryan Fikes with wife Corinne and sons Lomax and Bouldin
If an adolescent you love is struggling with substance use or a mental health disorder, please call us for a free, OxfordMag.com 49 confidential assessment at 662.259.8474.
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Dorothy Jean Hicks
team. Hicks would work at Cicada before moving to Miami to work at a hotel that she’s loved since she was a child.
“When I was in the seventh grade, my parents took me to Miami, and we stayed at the Shore Club Hotel and it just opened up my world,” she said. “It was just so cool and so different and I fell in love with Miami and the Shore Club Hotel. After her visit to the Shore Club, Hicks developed a passion for the hospitality industry. For a little over six years, Hicks spent time in Miami living her dream and making dream vacations for others. Later later worked in London when the Shore Club temporarily closed for renovations but that temporary closure became permanent during the COVID-19. Hicks returned to Oxford after the closure.
“I was very sad,” said Hicks, “but I was happy to be back in Oxford. It's been fun because I’m bringing what I've learned from being there to Oxford.” For Cicada Manager Dorothy Jean Hicks, walking into the store was love at first sight.
Hicks’ specialty is what she calls TNT: tiny, noticeable touches. To her, they provide an extra sparkle to everyone’s life.
Hicks first encountered Cicada as a student at the University of Mississippi. Originally from Greenwood, Hicks moved from the Delta to attend Ole Miss and major in Hospitality Management.
Hicks said it is her mission to make every guest at Cicada feel happy and welcomed.
“Oh my gosh, I loved it,” said Hicks. “It had such great energy and it was always my favorite place.”
“I used to shop at Cicada when I was in college,” Hicks said. “I fell in love with Anne-Marie [Gordon] the owner— she had such a spiciness and she was fun.” Once Hicks graduated, Gordon hired her onto the Cicada
Collin Hill, 25, works as a therapist at Acceptance Counseling Services. Born and raised in Oxford, he plans to continue his education, while remaining in the area.
He’s been with the company since June 1, after graduating in May from Louisiana State University. His next step is obtaining a licensed clinic social worker (LCSW) so that he will be able to work independently and perhaps one day open his
“That's what I try to do at Cicada to make everyone feel welcomed and loved when they come into the store,” she said. “That's been a real treat.”
“Hopefully I've put a smile on someone's face,” Hicks said. “Hopefully I have that spark that makes people feel good or feel confident. When they come into the store, I want to make them feel welcomed as if it were my home.”
own private practice.
Hill became a therapist as an “avenue to help others.” He’s a trained “Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing” (EMDR) therapist, a type of therapy used to help people with traumatic events arm themselves with ways to heal from trauma or similar distressing life experiences. “I see all ages,” he said of his practice. “Therapy may be something new to someone, but I encourage those who are thinking about it to take that leap and seek out the help they are wanting.”
Hill is also a licensed yoga teacher, basing his expertise in trauma-based yoga. The activity weaves the practices of yoga and trauma treatment together to help solve trauma-related challenges. This type of therapy seeks to negate negative beliefs, handle difficult emotions and relieve painful sensations that may emerge. Several types of helpful activities can be using skills of external grounding, honoring a window of tolerance, using positive internal resources and building on non-judgmental awareness. “It helps calm the nervous system,” he said of the activity.
Hill was recently named to as one of the 20 under 40 and he said he thinks the award “gives the sense of knowing you are on the right track. It’s very appreciated and quite an honor.”
TOP 20 UNDER 40
Dr. Shawnboda Mead
Nick Weaver Dr. Shawnboda Mead
Having graduated from Mississippi State University in 2004, the Prentiss native knows how difficult it can be to fit in in a space where the majority of people don’t look like you.
That’s why she made it her mission to improve access to higher education for people from historically disenfranchised communities.
After brief tenures at Texas A&M University, the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Mead joined the administrative staff at the University of Mississippi in 2014 as the inaugural director of the Center for Inclusion and Cross-Cultural Engagement.
The newly-created department was founded with the intention of fostering an environment of inclusion at the university, as well as to aid in the recruitment of a diverse student body.
“As a Mississippi native I just couldn’t pass that up,” Mead said. “I had the opportunity to really build a team and determine some strategic priorities for creating a multicultural center on campus.”
During her time at the head of the center, Mead guided university policy on a variety of hot-button issues including the relocation of the confederate monument on campus and the changing of the state flag.
Her leadership during that tumultuous period in the school’s history led to her appointment as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Community Engagement in 2018. After earning her doctorate in higher education administration in May of 2019, Mead assumed the role of Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Community Engagement in September of the same year. It was in that role that she helped lead the university’s campus climate survey, which gauged students’ comfort level with university policies, other students’ behavior and overall satisfaction. Mead used the results of that study to develop the school’s Pathways to Equity program, which serves as a roadmap for creating equitable access to resources for every student on campus.
“We're really working to help make sure that the entire university has identified the diversity, equity, inclusion-related goals that are unique to their units,” Mead said. “We’re developing some more targeted hiring practices and making sure that we’re aligning all our efforts so that we’re maximizing the diversity of the individuals that are applying, but also See “MEAD” page 57
locations, ending up graduating from high school in Walnut Grove, Miss. From there, she began working on her bachelor’s in psychology at Ole Miss until she hit a snag - she ran out of money. A chance meeting in 2019 with Ed and Becky Meek (“at a Chick-fil-A Couple Date Night, of all things,” she said) created a tight bond among the three, to the point the couple offered to help get Petty back in school to graduate.
“Every dream I have had, they have supported me,” Petty, 29, said of her cherished new friends. “Because of them, I am seeing my dreams come to life.” The Meeks surely saw what a hard worker Petty was and how she did things on her own. Petty said her mother has addiction problems and her father died right when Petty started at Ole Miss, leaving with her with no support emotionally or financially. Jamie Petty could barely contain her excitement about being named one of the 20 under 40 by the Oxford Eagle. “It’s hard for me to hide my emotions,” she said with glee. “I’m very honored and I’m super, super excited about it.” Originally from Houston, Miss., Petty grew up in many
Instead of giving up, Petty worked to become certified in yoga and as an emergency medical technologist. When she returned to Ole Miss to finish her degree, she doubled down and graduated with a 4.0 average. Now, to top it all off, she has been accepted into nursing
See “PETTY ” page 57 52 Sept/Oct 2022
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Chloe Lloyd graduated from Jackson Academy in 2006. She received a bachelor’s degree in dietetic and nutrition from Ole Miss, and from there she earned a bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Mississippi Medical Center. After working as a registered nurse for some years, she returned to school to earn a master’s in nursing education and a nurse practitioner degree from the University of Memphis. Lloyd graduated with highest honors and was a member of Sigma Theta Tau scholastic nursing honorary. She has more than 10 years of experience working in the medical field at medical institutions such as Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson, Children’s Hospital in Dallas and Methodist University Hospital in Memphis.
She has worked at Oxford Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine since January 2020. “I love it,” she said of her workplace. “I see all patients who need it, though technically I work for Dr. Daniel Boyd.”
Lloyd said she tends to patients with arthritis, broken bones and knee and hip replacements in pre-op and post-op.
She reported she enjoys all that the Oxford community offers in dining, entertainment and sporting events. She is a member of the Oxford Garden Club and the First Presbyterian Church, where she currently serves as a deacon. Named as one of the 20 under 40, Lloyd said she was honored to have been nominated.
DR. LAUREN LEIDEN PHILLIPS, D.D.S
General Dentist at Oxford Dental
Dr. Walker Swaney, D.D.S | Dr. Marc Mercier, D.M.D | Dr. Lauren Phillips, D.D.S | Dr. Sam Morrison D.M.D
2155 South Lamar Blvd. Oxford, MS 38655
Nick Weaver Dr. Shawnboda Mead
Nick Weaver Dr. Shawnboda Mead
Dr. Lauren Phillips
For Oxford Dental’s Dr. Lauren Phillips, the patients she serves help her as much as she helps them.
Cameron Brown is always looking for new opportunities to be a leader in his community.
For a little over a year, Phillips has worked to keep Oxonians' smiles bright while Oxford has provided her with many great lessons and connections.
Brown, the oldest of five siblings, came to Oxford in 2015 from Winona. He has had the opportunity to sing twice at Carnegie Hall, once in high school, and once in college as a member of the Concert Singers.
Phillips is a graduate of University of Mississippi and the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry where she served as the President of the American Student Dental Association. After completing her degree, Phillips returned to Ole Miss to work at Oxford Dental in 2021.
Since earning two Bachelor’s degrees in 2020 from the University of Mississippi, he has served as the Assistant Manager of Customer Operations at Old Navy, a position in which he can act as a mentor to fellow employees.
“I feel like it's provided me with a lot of personal growth,” said Phillips. “I have gotten to meet a lot of really great people in Oxford and I just really love getting to know the community better that way.”
During his sophomore year at Ole Miss, he began working at Old Navy as a seasonal brand associate. The company saw promise in Brown and kept him on after the temporary work period expired. He began to work his way up in the company, leading to his current assistant management position.
When Phillips is not working to keep Oxford’s smiles beautiful, she is playing tennis or helping with Junior Auxiliary.
“It's been really fun,” Phillips said. “I'm just always looking for personal growth. You know once you set a goal and you achieve it, you should set it a little bit higher and keep on achieving that.” For Phillips, she’s set her goal high.
“Eventually I want to be a partner at Oxford Dental. That's my future for sure,” she said. And just, you know, to get more established in the community and learn what all Oxford has to offer.” And when Phillips needs some extra encouragement in any of her endeavors, her husband Bridges provides all the support she needs.
“He’s really supportive of me,” she said. “He helped me while I was in dental school and has been a really great support system for me. And he almost always has a glass of wine waiting for me when I get home, so he’s a good one.” 56 Sept/Oct 2022
At Ole Miss, Brown took part in the Chancellor’s Leadership class, and he will soon graduate from Leadership Lafayette’s program that graduates prestigious community leaders.
“After college many people leave, but what made me stay is the sense of community,” Brown said. “No matter where you came from, or what background, color, or age, there is some commonality between everybody.” The small town energy of Oxford inspires Brown to continue growing and learning in the community. “Even though Oxford is bigger than Winona, it still feels small,” said Brown.
Brown will be starting a master’s degree program in the Spring at Ole Miss. His next goal is the same as his last, to find welcoming spaces where he can lead people and make a difference. “When I first started at Old Navy I was shy and timid, but now I am the face of the store, and my coworkers encourage me to be better,” said Brown.
TOP 20 UNDER 40
Raised in Grenada around her father and grandfather — both entrepreneurs— Thomas always know that she wanted to open up her own business.
“My dad was an entrepreneur, my grandfather was an entrepreneur and they both own their own businesses,” Thomas said. “I just always knew that, you know, this is what I wanted to do.”
Though she grew up in Grenanda, Thomas’ parents owned a condo in Oxford so she always thought of the small town as her second home. Combined with. It was natural next step for Thomas to choose to attend Ole Miss and eventually settle in Oxford and set up her business. “I think Oxford is such a special place,” Thomas said. “People ask me all the time, ‘Do you love living in Oxford?’ and, you know, this is like a fairy tale and I don’t ever see myself leaving.” And for her clients, Thomas is able to show off the best of Oxford and create their own fairytale moments through her events.
Most clients are alumni who attended Ole Miss and want to Ellen Thomas of Ellen Thomas Event Design has made a business hold their wedding at their beloved alma mater, however a good number of her other clients experience Oxford for the out creating beautiful memories. Ellen Thomas Event Designs is active in Oxford and across first time through her business.
Mississippi, designing for corporate events and social events, “It's fun to see people that have never even seen the town before and they get to see this whole magic,” said Thomas. It’s but primarily weddings and rehearsal dinners. Thomas would found her event company after she graduated not just someone's event, but the whole experience of Oxford from the University of Mississippi in 2012 with a degree in as a whole. It's really special.”
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being retained in our faculty and staff roles.”
Mead says her goal is to foster a more welcoming environment on campus and to remove the barriers that prevent minority students from accessing the resources they need to succeed. “For me it’s about loving my home state and wanting to see it be better,” she said. “I personally attended a predominantly white institution and I had a great college experience, but I also know what it’s like to be in a space where there’s not many people who look like you. That really drives me to make sure that, as a university, we’re doing all that we can to help students earn a degree.”
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school at Northwest in Oxford.
“I want to work on the mental health aspect by incorporating yoga and threading it through therapy to heal the whole person,” she said. “It’s kinda my thing.” She plans to use the LPN to bridge toward becoming a registered psychiatric nurse and then a nurse practitioner.
Petty gives a great deal of credit to Southern Star Yoga Center for being so open to helping her realize her dreams - and the dreams of children who couldn’t afford the comfort of yoga. She said the center had been “super passionate about making sure all who want to do yoga can do yoga”
by allowing Petty to discount her teaching rates.
Petty’s children are her life. “My babies are everything,” she said of Adalyn, 7, Ace, 5, and Kaiven, 1. “I started yoga after my daughter was born because I wanted to make sure she didn’t have to suffer with me not feeling my best.” Petty recently transitioned to part-time status at her job at Baptist Rheumatology, where she has worked for five years.
She said that her workplaces, the Meeks and her children combined to ensure her future is bright. “I have had so many blessings that have come to me,” she said. OxfordMag.com 57
NOT IN OXFORD? NOT A PROBLEM. You don’t have to make it to the Oxford studio to be fitted for custom jeans. Our Virtual Tailor is a seamless way to get you measured and design your pants from the comfort of home. Scan the QR code to visit our website or contact us at 855-BLUE-DELTA to begin today!
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He’s quick to add that he would have stayed in college just “for the air conditioner and girls” - there was neither in 2005 when he was on the Gulf Coast to help with roofing for damaged homes after Hurricane Katrina.
As co-founder of Blue Delta Jeans and West Group Holdings, Weaver has worked tirelessly to create more than 200 jobs in the areas of manufacturing, emergency relief, software engineering and sales for fellow Mississippians. Weaver, 39, and his partners are joint venture entrepreneurs and operators who help to create jobs and opportunities for their community and state. Weaver co-founded Blue Delta Jeans in 2012 and opened the flagship brick-and-mortar on the Oxford Square in 2014. Since then, he and his partners at West Group Holdings acquired Premier Countertops and started Nest & Wild, a direct-to-consumer mattress brand.
They have three factories in Tupelo as well as the storefront in Oxford. The team has executed other special project related A native of Cleveland and resident of Oxford for 13 years, Nick to disaster relief with FEMA and the USDA servicing the United Weaver has made quite an impact on the place he is proud to States and its territories. call home. Whether mentoring business classes at a university or speaking Raised with a military dad who “made things,” creativity and to groups of professionals, Weaver encourages aspiring work ethic rubbed off on the son. During his younger days, entrepreneurs and business owners to succeed. “Oxford is so Weaver worked a series of jobs that fueled his need and desire supportive,” he said. “I’ve met a lot of great people in this to produce. area.” When he got to Ole Miss, he majored in history, with plans to He and his wife, Augusta, have three children, Ezra, 7; Bessie become a baseball coach. “The world takes you where you Pearl, 5; and Johnny Rhodi, 2, and they live in Oxford, which he go,” he said with a laugh about things working out differently. said is “the best community to raise a family.”
City Grocery Group’s Operation Director Meghan Anderson lives unafraid of fast-paced environments and any challenges she may face.
“I was majoring in Liberal Arts with minors in History, English, African American Studies, and Psychology — none of which have anything to do with Hospitality,” said Anderson. “So, when I started waiting tables at the newly opened Big Bad Breakfast in 2008, I never expected to find my future while being there.”
Anderson graduated from Ole Miss in 2009 and has continued to work for the City Grocery Restaurant Group in a variety of roles. One day, Anderson overheard Chef John Currence and Chef Vishwesh Bhatt discussing their need for an oyster shucker in order to open the Snackbar. Anderson grew up near the water and had been taught how to shuck oysters, so she threw herself into the ring.
“This was one of the best decisions of my life while also being one of the hardest jobs I would ever do,” said Anderson. “I learned quickly that my skills needed to be polished and sped up to keep up with the needs of a full dining room. My hands calloused and my momentum increased in time. From there, I was given the opportunity to start working in the kitchen more seriously and spent a few years on the line and eventually stepped into the role of Assistant Pastry Chef under Dwayne Ingraham.”
“To be honest, I’ve always been a go-getter and have kept my plate full since a very early age,” said Anderson. Anderson’s early years were spent living in Mobile, Alabama, and Jackson As she explored her education, Anderson rose through the before her family moved and settled in Lucedale. ranks at City Grocery Group.
After high school, Anderson applied to the University of First, to full-time management at both Big Bad Breakfast and Mississippi. Through her college experience, she fell in love with Oxford. See “ANDERSON” page 63 OxfordMag.com 61
TOP 20 UNDER 40
From his podcast Real Talk with Real Men, a show featuring men of all backgrounds discussing life issues, to mentoring the youth to creating affordable housing, McGlawn is finding his purpose in helping others.
“People search their whole lives for a purpose,” he said. “‘What am I here for?’ We’re not here for ourselves and to amass all these things and money. We’re here to help other people. Once I figured that out, the journey has been quick.”
Before McGlawn made his own name in the community, he was known as grandson and son of Quinton and Taylor McGlawn, founders of McGlawn Services.
“McGlawn Services started with a dozer and a dump truck,” said McGlawn. “My dad and my grandfather 50 years ago this year and my dad kind of picked it up and started working with the different pieces of equipment.”
According to McGlawn, his father Taylor taught himself how to Josh McGlawn is carrying on the legacy on the McGlawn name work every piece of equipment used in their services aside from and making it into something bigger in the Lafayette-Oxford- the truck. His father and grandfather’s work ethic and business sense were Univeristy community. McGlawn is well known as the director of McGlawn Services. The instilled in McGlawn.
serial entrepreneur wears several other hats around Lafayette “I grew up in the business from the time I was shorter than a County and Oxford: CEO, writer, director, filmmaker, business shovel,” said McGlawn. “I was taught work ethic and I put the work in. In the past few years, I quit my day job and joined the owner, podcast host, mentor and life coach. “I always tell people, “Hey, my day job to construction,’” said McGlawn. “My night job is writer, filmmaker or whatever else I do.”
See “McGLAWN” page 63
engineering to journalism to literature. He found creative licensing in photography after realizing the grueling - and oft than not unappreciated - work of editing. Plaxico works with Memphis Realtors, Ole Miss and other businesses, companies and projects with his photography.
“I’m grateful to be included,” he said of the 20 under 40 award. “The list of winners is so diverse. I just photographed the Top 40 under 40 for Ole Miss and I can appreciate how there are all kinds of recipients from all sorts of occupations listed. The varying stages of ages is also as important as the work we all do.” He said the winners are also not pretentious, as every one of the winners is unique. He said the list “doesn’t just include what have been traditionally considered the most cerebral types of occupations.” Tenola Plaxico has a large body of work, which is understandable considering his many talents. He’s a scholar, a violinist and a photographer, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
A hobby that began in college 12 years ago evolved into his main business, Articulate Photography, which he calls “the touchstone of my body of work.” “I focus on the black family landscape,” he said of revealing the spirit of the culture and community. “Black families, models, business - the entire kaleidoscope of every facet of our ethos.” A 2013 Ole Miss graduate, he went from studying 62 Sept/Oct 2022
He lives in Oxford and said he’s glad to be here. “When you are isolated, not white and Southern, it can be difficult, but as a grownup, I came back and could appreciate what Oxford had to offer,” he said. “It’s a tug-of-war of what has been and the future, and I think Oxford’s sense of community is outstanding. They care about moving forward. “It’s exciting to see the work the community continues to do to move forward. It’s proactive and we’ll get there together because Oxford is committed to doing better, so it’s more inviting place to be. “I chose to come back and make a life here and I’m so grateful at how supportive Oxford is.”
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McGlawn works with his father and mother Sheila keeping McGlawn Services contracting, exactivation and site work, demolition, renovation and new construction. Outside of his main job, McGlawn has decided to add another hat to the rung: non-profit founder.
“I’m in the process of trying to formulate a novel nonprofit organization that oversees a lot of things to help level equality,” said McGlawn. “Not just the economic, but the social side of equality. I will be helping communities through facilitating partnerships between people.” Through the non-profit, McGlawn hopes to connect people with the resources they will need to reach their goals whether it is to help an organization raise awareness about mental health or direct investors to developers trying to solve an affordable hosuing issue. McGlawn’s work is receiving attention from the public and admiration from his family. Erin Young, 33, is from Senatobia. When she was in her senior of year at Ole Miss, she opened her business, Olive Juice Gifts, and she hasn’t looked back since. “I’ve been in retail since I was 15 years old,” she said. “I’ve loved doing displays all my life. In my senior year, I was 21 years old and a space became open on Oxford Square. I jumped at the chance.” Olive Juice Gifts offers gifts and catering to a college town, which was why Young found herself producing 500 baskets for sorority rush.
“I’ve always loved pottery, gifts and art, so I feature Mississippi made, locally made and Southern arts,” she said. “I’d say 75 percent of my inventory is Southern and local arts.”
A year ago, she expanded into a children’s store as well. “It was the next to happen,” she said. “There was a store that had closed [on the Square], and the store was a challenge I did not know I needed.” Young said she doesn’t feel as though any of it is a labor. “I don’t feel like it’s work,” she said. “Oxford makes it really fun. I get to meet people every day, all day.”
Young has help in her endeavor - her husband, Council, is by her side to run the businesses.
“We were out of town when the awards were announced,” she said of the 20 under 40 competition. “We kept getting these congratulations messages and we had no idea what it was about. But it’s been amazing, awesome and exciting. It’s been humbling.” Young said her family, which includes daughter Mary Mac, 2, lives in Oxford and “we love Oxford. The community is outstanding.”
“My dad is telling me, ‘I can learn from you,’” McGlawn said. “I was like ‘You can learn from me?’ but it’s because I established this is the priority of things— my faith, my family and somewhere in there comes myself. All those other things will come. I've been blessed to be in a situation that I am in now and I’m going to try to continue a legacy of the name for my kids.”
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Snackbar, then to Assistant General Manager at City Grocery and in 2017, Operations Director for City Grocery Restaurant Group. Anderson said the hospitality industry has a history of being home to “misfits” and “troublemakers” who find it hard to fit in anywhere else. However, with their hospitality, they can find a home and a family.
“Oftentimes, restaurants are one of few places who will hire someone struggling with drug and alcohol abuse or who has been in trouble in their past,” she said. “I myself struggled with alcoholism and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunities that I was given and the support I received. I’ve been sober for almost eight years [in October] and know that I wouldn’t be a Top 20 nominee without my sobriety or the support I’ve received from the Oxford Community.” OxfordMag.com 63
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young professionals, I am astounded the community found me deserving of this award.”
Edwards-Hodge is board certified with the American Osteopathic Board of Neurology and Psychiatry and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. She serves as University of Mississippi pre-med HPAO pre-medical student preceptor, as Baptist Memorial Hospital North Mississippi consultant, as clinical adjunct professor at William Carey University, as clinical adjunct professor at Liberty University and as neurology subspecialty education coordinator for the IM Residency Program at Baptist Memorial Hospital North Mississippi. She was selected for the global directory of Who's Who Top Doctors in 2021 and is a life member of Junior Auxiliary of Oxford. She also serves on the parents-teachers organization at both of her children's schools
It might not seem possible that she has any, but Edwards-Hodge said in her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, volunteering in her community, cheering for the Rebels and attending Pinelake Church.
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OUT AND ABOUT
BEST OF OXFORD PARTY
Oxford Conference Center | July 21, 2022 PHOTOS BY Joey Brant
Rebecca Alexander and Clifton Odom
Marquetta Spears, Amelia Ott, Brooks Anne Locke and Lisa Williamson
4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
Maddie Welch, Amanda Victory and Taylor Robertson Peyton Adams and Jenna Hunt
Cassidy Grace Porter, Madalyn Huey and Corinne Passman Davis Coen
Channing Hoover and Harley Loyer OxfordMag.com 71
OUT AND ABOUT
Wanda and Chuck Rounsaville
10. Tatum and ?? Brown
11. Lauree Thompson, Marcie Childers, Sarah Marsalis, Dr. Lindsay Shipp, Katie McDaniel and Marlye Clarkson 12. Joe Lynn Madina and Crystal Elliott 13. Rebekah Dean and Brian Bowen 14. Katie and Brett Soldevila 15. Stevi Self
16. Phyllis Smith and Nancy Olson 17. Allison and Ryan Wally
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OUT AND ABOUT
18. Megan Lawrence and Jennifer Babcock
19. Rebecca Alexander, Amelia Ott and Clifton Odom 20. Suzanne and Campbell Helveston 21. TC and Courtney Britt
22. Mark Cleary, Dawn Lipscomb, Jenna Hunt, Alison Alger and Peyton Adams 23. Marcie Childers and Beverly Brent
24. Gang with Amelia and Jake Ott (GET NAMES FROM AMELIA)
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SAID AND DONE
CHANNEL THE CHANGE
Good ole T.S. “Big Bubba” Eliot wrote that “April is the cruelest month,” the inference being that spring gives us hope only to be dashed by winter. One could make the same case for September and October. We have survived the roaring furnace of summer with humidity that is in fact a human rights abuse, and are rewarded by cooler temps and the crisp aura of October light. Then, funky winter rolls in and it gets dark at lunchtime and the sky slates gray until spring break.
COUNTRIBUTING EDITOR JIM DEES is a writer and longtime host of Thacker Mountain Radio. He is the author of The Statue and the Fury - A Year of Art, Race, Music and Cocktails.
Some of the more optimistic among us take the early days of football season to dream of trophies and possible playoffs only to have reality rear up when we lose to Vanderbilt and wind up in the Whatever Bowl. Indeed, most any change can be as cruel as Eliot’s April.
actual Ice House (now iceless) or Willie Wallace’s Local Color (where an out-of-place something will be built). In the case of Local Color and the Hoka, they weren’t just torn down but the slab was scraped up leaving nary a trace of the gonzo glee that transpired within their walls. Hoka proprietor, the late Ronzo Shapiro, quoted Tom Robbins: “I feel like someone is following me around with an eraser.” I’m not one of these old farts who resists all change; just an old fart. It seems to me, if you experience change, count your blessings. It means you’re among the living. Even if that change takes the form of ear hair, a bulging belly or the noticeable lack of energy to scale a fire tower, with one free hand, in the dead of night. Anyone who has lived in Oxford for say, five years or more, will likely experience some favorite entity closing up or being torn down.
All of this was on my mind when I saw a headline that the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors accepted a bid to demolish the old Thacker I recently faced the mortality of my father’s Mountain fire tower located some five miles south beloved 1993 Toyota truck which I bought for ten of Oxford near Taylor, MS. The tower, long out of dollars from my step-mom upon his death. use, had become a safety liability, in the view of the “I can’t look at it,” she had told me then. board. I drove it for 13 years with minimal trouble before As a former 20-year resident of Taylor back in the the old parts began giving out one by one. Finally, 1980s-90s, I have a warm spot for the tower and like a doctor delivering a grim diagnosis, my what it represented, which was a certain, shall we mechanic pronounced that he had “done all we can say, late night abandon. More than once back in do.” It almost felt like an appendage being those years, my pals and I, fortified by, well, fire amputated, and I twitch to drive it in my dreams. water, scaled the tower ladder to reach the top and Likewise, I’ve had beloved dogs pass away and, in enjoy what little we could see in the dark. my case, haven’t been able to bring myself to re-dog. Daytime visits revealed pine trees as far as the eye So far, it is the same way with getting a new ride. could see. Personal transportation is a necessary evil of course It’s quaintly heroic to think about forest rangers but my appetite is wanting. We shall see. sitting up there alone, keeping a quiet vigil over In the meantime, there is the fall to enjoy; the their fellow citizens. In the days before cell phones constancy of changing leaves. The aforementioned and the dreaded texting, these men were on the cooler temps, the gorgeous golden light, the front lines between life and catastrophe, between us electricity in the air when you hear the marching and the cruel change a rampaging fire can bring. band practicing for that upcoming Friday night, or For me personally, the fire tower took on even Saturday in the Vaught. more resonance when I joined the crew of the I accept change as I’m sure ole T.S. Eliot did. He Thacker Mountain Radio Hour, Oxford’s weekly even picked up a Nobel Prize for his trouble. literature and music show, named for the tower by Like recovering alcoholics, we have to develop the Square Books owner Richard Howorth. serenity to accept what we can’t control. Soon the tower will go the way of other local But I still miss Local Color and the Hoka. touchstones such as the Hoka Theatre (where Harrison’s 1810 is now) or Smitty’s (in limbo), the OxfordMag.com 75
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