Never without a smile — Community honors memory of Brookhaven businesswoman

Published 3:00 pm Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Jonnie Sullivan stood speechless Tuesday morning on the sidewalk in front of Sweeteez in Downtown Brookhaven, reading the tributes on written on a sign outside the closed bakery.

“It’s just overwhelming,” Sullivan said, as she marveled over the community’s response to the passing of her daughter, Teegie Hargro. “I knew she loved people, and I knew she loved what she did … you never saw her without a smile.”

That genuine love for people and for her customers is remembered by friends and the community, as they mourn the loss of Hargro, owner of Sweeteez sweet shop. Hargro passed away April 16 from complications after a stroke.

Famous for her sweet treats – from cakes to candied apples, dipped strawberries to candied bacon – Hargro had operated her bakery for four years in downtown Brookhaven.

“Teegie was an active and beloved chamber member,” said Katie Nations, program director of the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce. “She supported retail and festival events of all kinds during her years in business with Sweeteez and was always the first to show up to set up her beautiful table of treats for guests to enjoy. Her cheerful disposition and bright smile will be sorely missed by our entire staff and community! Our chamber board sends our sincerest condolences to her beloved children, family and many, many friends.”

Lizzie Grantham counts herself among those friends. “She’s one of the brightest stars I’ve ever know in my life,” Grantham said. “She put everybody before herself and was talented beyond belief … she just touched so many people in this community.”

Grantham has spearheaded an impromptu tribute for Hargro outside the shop, hanging a banner and inviting the community to share their thoughts and remembrances for the family.

That opportunity drew Becky Walden and her mother, Janie Hart, on Tuesday morning. They pair had worked with Hargro but, more important, were lifelong friends.

“It’s a huge loss for our community,” Walden said. “She’s one of those people who knitted everybody together; if she knew you, she was your best friend … she had a smile that never left you.”

And, that love for others will continue even after her passing. Sullivan said Hargro had made the decision to become an organ donor, spurred in part by her cousin, LaRecco Robinson, who is on dialysis. “I was just listening to my voicemails telling me about how many people were going to get a new life because she was an organ donor,” Sullivan said.