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Wesson celebrates town success

WESSON – They’ve come from Australia. They’ve come from NewZealand. They’ve come from Germany.

And they’ve all shopped at Janet Currie’s antique and gift shop,”Another Time, Another Place,” in downtown Wesson. Whenroad-tripping through America, these visitors from anotherhemisphere must have felt compelled to experience the flavor of alittle town’s little shop, the shop that on Tuesday night was namedthe Wesson Chamber of Commerce’s 2011 Business of the Year.

“Wesson is a busy little town. A lot of people don’t realize howmuch traffic comes through,” Currie said. “People stop to see justwhat rural Mississippi looks like.”

Currie has been selling antiques, collectables, home décor andother items of comfort for 21 years, beginning in 1990 with a shopcalled “Yesterday’s Treasures” in downtown Vicksburg. She opened asecond treasures store in Brookhaven in 1997 and established”Another Time, Another Place,” in 1998.

She kept the Brookhaven store open for less than one year andclosed her Vicksburg location in 2000, moving everything to Wesson.The town is not a historic river destination, nor does it boast ofits many retail stores, but Wesson was the right choice, shesaid.

“It’s been a tough few years in business lately, but this iswhat I enjoy doing,” Currie said. “I have really, really enjoyed mytime in downtown Wesson.”

In 2010, the Wesson chamber set out to make more people enjoytheir time in downtown Wesson. The group dabbled in everything frompolitics to automotives in an attempt to draw more attention to thetown of 2,500.

“We tried to change some things this year. We took some newdirections,” said chamber president Stephen Ashley. “We didn’t knowif it would work or not.”

In most cases, it did work.

The Wesson chamber began the year with what may have beenWesson’s first car show, attracting 45 vehicles to the parking lotat Wesson Baptist Church. The chamber also got involved inpolitics, sponsoring a debate for the special election in SenateDistrict 36, an election won by Albert Butler, a Democrat from PortGibson.

The chamber went on in 2010 to host a legislative breakfast, afree concert at Copiah-Lincoln Community College and entered afloat in the Brookhaven Christmas Parade. Its biggest event by farwas the Old School Resurrection, a haunted house in the old Wessonschool that drew an estimated 4,000 people and earned around$20,000 for the chamber. The event will be repeated in 2011.

“We literally had people taking road trips to come to Wesson,”Ashley said. “We’re trying our best to connect the business worldto the common citizen.”

Other awards presented by the chamber at the annual banquetincluded corporate business of the year, Trustmark National Bank;educator of the year, Wesson Attendance Center third-grade teacherBecky Lowery; ageless hero, Sonya Cowen, a 37-year librarian at WACand Co-Lin; public servant of the year, Wesson Police Chief ChadO’Quinn; community service award, Wesson Volunteer Fire Department;good citizen award, Brad Turner, owner of Bw Turner Construction,Inc.; citizen of the year, Rhonda Ashley; leadership awards, WAChigh school Principal Ronald Greer and retiring WAC elementaryPrincipal Nancy Sullivan; and business open for 30 years, DebbieBrown, owner of Deb’s Style Shop.