‘Old Koke Plant’ to offer fuel, food, big beer cave
Published 4:00 pm Saturday, August 13, 2022
Jameson Powell and Cathy Arnold Pigott can see the finish line for the Old Koke Plant but they know they have a few more weeks to go. The pieces are starting to come together and every detail becomes more and more important.
Pigott said she hopes the convenience store on the corner of US 51 South and Natchez Avenue will open by Labor Day Weekend but things could change. A red soda bottle cap hangs in the center of the store with the words The Ole Koke Plant painted in white.
She said the store’s name pays homage to the old Coke plant which was there.
“RB Wall and James Doyle had a vision to have a convenience store here one day,” she said. “The Coke plant was a landmark. Our vision was to design the building like it. I remember when the Coke plant was here it looked like something from out of space. It was all glass and you could see the workers in their white suits working in the plant.”
The Ole Koke Plant welcomes a new generation. They plan to be on the app Toast and to offer services including dine in, grab and go meal deals and a drive thru where people can order online or call ahead.
Set ‘em up, Joe
Pigott says she hopes people can feel welcome when they come in to eat. Powell added they will have a digital jukebox set up so people can pay to have songs played inside the store and outside at the pumps.
Additionally, they plan to have self checkout lines and feel they can provide a new age convenience store. Powell is ready for the opening day to get there to show everything they have to offer.
“It has been stressful but it has been exciting,” he said. “A lot of things have had to come together. You have to get the little things just right.”
Some of those details include the signage in the gas station. Above the 24-foot-long food bar is the name “Sherry Jean’s Kitchen” written in cursive. Sherry Jean is Powell’s mother and the signature comes straight out of one of her cookbooks.
The kitchen will offer a blue plate special with three meats, vegetables, salads and soups. Pigott said they are not limited to a blue plate special. They plan to make sandwiches, burgers and wraps to order and will sell chicken on a stick. Grab and Go breakfasts and lunches will offer a healthy alternative.
Pigott said they will also sell homemade carrot cake muffins. The Ole Koke Plant will also have a coffee bar and the “coldest beer in town,” housed in a beer cave called JD’s Back Office.
“It’s named after my grandfather James Doyle. He and his buddies everyday growing up would hang out in his back office, play cards and drink beer after work,” Powell said. “It will be our beer cave with singles and everything. It is going to be a big beer cave. We will play beer music there. We want to sell a craft selection and premium products. Anything you can think of. It will be an ever-changing type of menu. We hope to add local brewers in the future.”
Dirt to finish
There has been a lot of thought put into the design, the color of the booths, the white boomerang pattern on the tables, the glass windows to allow natural light in. It was all new and has been built from the ground up.
Pigott said they started with dirt and a shovel in February of 2022 and are now closing in on an opening date. Paul Jackson Construction has been great to work with, she said. Nearly everything done in the 6,000 square feet of The Ole Koke Plant was done by local people and was personalized.
“We didn’t want to be your typical convenience store. It made the process more thought provoking,” Pigott said. “The challenge is you have to pick things before you can see it. I remember standing here and there was nothing here. It is a beast but a sweet beast.”
The store hours will be 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. with breakfast from 5 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. They are still looking for employees so those applying can pick up an application at RB Wall located at 1220 US 51 South.