Best of Jackson 2017: Urban Living | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Best of Jackson 2017: Urban Living

Photo by Imani Khayyam.

Best Kids' Hangout; Best Museum: Mississippi Children's Museum

2145 Museum Blvd., 601-981-5469,


Photo courtesy Mississippi Children’s Museum

Both learning and playing are valuable experiences for kids, and it's always a bonus when you can get them to learn while playing. The Mississippi Children's Museum combines both experiences into one package.

The museum has exhibits such as the World at Work Gallery, which is the museum's science, technology and industry gallery. It lets kids explore the careers and industries that are vital to the state's economy such as construction, forestry and engineering; the Healthy Fun Gallery, which has areas such as one that lets visitors move a skeleton to see how bones work. The museum also puts a focus on literacy with areas such as The Literacy Garden, which is a place where children can play and learn while developing literacy and language skills, and the Wild About Reading Gallery, which includes exhibits such as a giant Scrabble board that is fun for both adults and kids. And if you're a single adult with no child, don't worry. While you can't get into the museum without a child during regular days, the museum has events such as Neon Nights and Ignite the Night, where adults have the whole museum to themselves. —Amber Helsel

Best Kid's Hangout finalists: Deep South Pops (1800 N. State St., 601-398-2174; 4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 173, 601-398-0623; / High Heaven Trampoline Park (2280 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 769-208-3008, / Party Safari (5324 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 601-992-5111, / Pump It Up (1576 Old Fannin Road, Suite P, Brandon, 601-992-5866,

Best Museum finalists: Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St., 601-960-1515, / Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (2148 Riverside Dr., 601-576-6000, / Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame & Museum (1152 Lakeland Drive, 601-982-8264, / Old Capitol Museum (100 S. State St., 601-576-6920, / Smith Robertson Museum & Cultural Center (528 Bloom St., 601-960-1457)

Best Reason to Live in Jackson; Best Tourist Attraction: Fondren

If you look at many of the businesses and events that Jacksonians chose as this year's "bests," you'll notice that Fondren shows up quite a few times. There are plenty of places worth checking out in the capital city, as Best of Jackson reminds us each year, but Fondren captures some of the coolest things about Jackson in a single area. This year, the neighborhood won the awards for Best Reason to Live in Jackson and Best Tourist Attraction.

Every voter has his or her own reason for checking those boxes, but for some, it could be because of the cool, locally owned businesses. With just a short walk, you can grab a latte and pastry, buy a fresh outfit or some stylish home decor, get a tattoo, buy a guitar (and take lessons for said guitar), get a new hairdo and just about anything else you could want to accomplish in a day. Plus, there are so many restaurants that choosing a place to eat is basically a Herculean task. —Micah Smith

Best Reason to Live in Jackson finalists: Community / Culture / The Food / The People

Best Tourist Attraction finalists: The Jackson Zoo (2918 W. Capitol St., 601-352-2580) / Mississippi Children's Museum (2145 Museum Blvd., 601-981-5469, / Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St., 601-960-1515, / Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (2148 Riverside Dr., 601-576-6000, / The Rez

Best Animal Shelter: Community Animal Rescue & Adoption

960 N. Flag Chapel Road; 601-922-7575;

Having a furry friend makes life just a little bit better, and organizations such as Community Animal Rescue & Adoption, which Jacksonians named 2017's Best Animal Shelter, want to help people in the area find the pet for them.

The no-kill shelter houses an average of 300 dogs and 120 cats. The organization also has adoption events on the weekends at places around the metro area, such as Hollywood Feed, PetSmart, PetCo and PetSen$e.

CARA also has Bree's Bark Park, offering Jackson dog owners a place to play with their pets. For those who love animals but can't commit long-term, CARA has the Adopt-a-Leash program, which allows people to pay a monthly fee and spend as much time as they can with their favorite dog or cat. —Amber Helsel

Finalists: Animal Rescue Fund of Mississippi (395 W. Mayes St., 769-216-3414) / Cheshire Abbey ([email protected]) / The Madison Ark ( / Mississippi Animal Rescue League (5221 Greenway Drive Ext., 601-969-1631, / Webster Animal Shelter (525 Post Oak Road, Madison, 601-605-4729)

Best Annual Event: Hal's St. Paddy's Parade & Festival



You might not know it from the outside, but for Jacksonians, few celebrations carry the clout of St. Patrick's Day. This year's winner for Best Annual Event, Hal's St. Paddy's Parade & Festival, has become the holiday's crowning jewel in the capital city.

"I like to think of it as the people's parade," says Malcolm White, who created the event with his late brother, Hal White. "Back when I worked at George Street Grocery, we had a night celebrating St. Patrick's Day. My brother and I founded our namesake restaurant in 1985, and the launching spot for the parade began at that point."

Today, the festival aspect is just as popular as the parade itself. Last year's iteration featured performers such as the Mississippi Mass Choir, winner of this year's Best Gospel Artist/Group, Sweet Crude, Flow Tribe and Robert Randolph & the Family Band. This year's parade and festival take place March 18, so there's plenty of time to get together a great costume and get into the St. Paddy's spirit. —Mike McDonald

Finalists: Dog Days of Summer ( / Jacktoberfest ( / Mistletoe Marketplace ( / WellsFest ( / Zoo Brew (Jackson Zoo, 2918 W. Capitol St.; 601-352-2580;

Best Local Business Owner; Best Locally Owned Business: Jake Franklin, Deep South Pops

1800 N. State St., 601-398-2174; 4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 173, 601-398-0623;


A good question when starting a business is, "What would I want to go to?" For Jake Franklin, the answer was Deep South Pops, which Jacksonians voted as 2017's Best Locally Owned Business. While living in Birmingham, Ala., he, his wife, Kristy, and their children, Gideon, Annalise, Gabriel and Elias, enjoyed visiting a local popsicle shop.

When they moved to Jackson in 2013, they decided to bring their love of popsicles, craft beer and coffee under one roof and opened Deep South in Belhaven in June 2015. The Highland Village shop opened in October 2016.

It's not just the drinks and frozen treats that also earned Franklin the most votes for Best Local Business Owner. He has been committed to promoting community and arts in Jackson, having hosted many concerts at both locations and art exhibits at The Gallery at Deep South Pops in Belhaven.

"One of the reasons we opened Deep South is that we moved from a very rural area outside of Birmingham, and community was just not a thing there," he says. "... (In Jackson), there's community, interesting people around you, tons of things to do, and that's why we chose the Belhaven/Fondren kind of area for the business. We wanted this business to be a thing for the community and a thing of the community." —Micah Smith

Best Locally Owned Business finalists: Mangia Bene (3317 N. State St., 601-982-4443) / Offbeat (151 Wesley Ave., 601-376-9404, / The Pet Shop of Fondren (2947 Old Canton Road, Suite G, 601-398-4198) / Sneaky Beans (2914 N. State St., 601-487-6349, / Thimblepress (113 N. State St., 601-351-9492; 4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 144, 601-345-3352;

Best Local Business Owner finalists: Adriana Heindl (Dance Works Studio, 3247 Davis Road, Terry; 1104 E. Northside Drive, Clinton; 601-720-1885, / Byron Knight (Sneaky Beans, 2914 N. State St., 601-487-6349, / Jeff Good (Mangia Bene, 3317 N. State St., 601-982-4443) / Phillip Rollins (Offbeat, 151 Wesley Ave., 601-376-9404, / Ron Chane (Swell-O-Phonic, 2906 N. State St., Suite 103, 601-366-9955; Studio Chane, 3206 N. State St., 601-362-3547; The Wonder Lab, 2906 N. State St. Suite B8, 601-720-2426,,

Best Category We Left Off: Best Teacher

Mississippi takes a lot of flak for its education on all sides—public, private, charter and otherwise—and that's certainly been the case for Jackson, going back far past 2016. That's all the more reason that Jacksonians voted for Best Teacher as 2017's Best Category We Left Off, asking for an opportunity in the next Best of Jackson competition to show their support for the hard-working educators in our school system.

With many things stacked against our teachers, often even from within our state government, it's important for us to recognize those who push through it anyway, who put their all into their work and in educating the next generation. They face those difficulties head on so that, in the future, their students won't have to. —Micah Smith

Finalists: Best Bar Manager / Best Barber / Best Tamales / Best Wedding DJ

Best Local Car Dealer: Patty Peck Honda

555 Sunnybrook Road, Ridgeland, 601-957-3400,


Photo courtesy Patty Peck Honda

A quick drive down Interstate 55 will reveal a fact that should be pretty obvious: The metro area has a ton of car dealerships. In fact, Jacksonians voted to give the award for 2017's Best Local Car Dealer to one of the largest I-55 residents, Patty Peck Honda.

The dealership has been helping customers find used and new cars, vans, SUVs and trucks for more than 25 years now, and Patty Peck's website offers plenty of resources for undecided buyers to find the vehicle that best fits them. Patty Peck is known for more than just its showroom, though. Owners of almost any make of car—not just Hondas—can drop by the dealership's service department for everything from fixing a busted headlight to replacing their brakes. —Micah Smith

Finalists: Bob Boyte Honda (2188 Highway 18, Brandon, 601-591-5000, / Herrin-Gear Automotive Group (multiple locations, / Paul Moak Automotive (Honda, 802 Harding St., 855-943-4433; Subaru/Volvo, 740 Larson St., 888-859-4918, / Ridgeland Autoworld (750 Ridgewood Road, Ridgeland, 601-899-8500,

Best Local Bank or Credit Union: BankPlus

Multiple locations,

Over the years, 2017's winner for Best Local Bank or Credit Union, BankPlus, has used the slogan, "It's more than a name; it's a promise." It's a slogan the franchise tries to live up to. There are the helpful tellers and staff, of course, and branches offer 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. drive-thru service as well as Saturday morning hours to make life a little easier for their clients. BankPlus also has more than 57 locations around the state, so it shouldn't be too hard to find a branch.

In addition to making sure your hard-earned cash is safe and cozy, BankPlus is known for its charitable contributions and sponsorships, working to support community development, education, children's health and other causes across the state. —Jan M. Richardson

Finalists: BancorpSouth (multiple locations, / First Commercial Bank (1300 Meadowbrook Road, 601-709-7777; 1076 Highland Colony Pkwy., Suite 150, Ridgeland, 601-790-2789; / Hope Credit Union (multiple locations, / Magnolia Federal Credit Union (multiple locations, / Trustmark (multiple locations,

Best Place to Buy Antiques: The Flea Market, Mississippi's Trade Place

1325 Flowood Drive, Flowood, 601-953-5914

The Flea Market in Flowood is a bit like our own local Cave of Wonders from "Aladdin"—full of treasures big and small, and hidden gems that, with the right touch, can find new reimagined use.

The large warehouse space is divided up into smaller sections that are arranged in booth-sized vignettes that represent more than 150 dealers. The smaller spaces-within-a-space help you picture the furniture and collectibles as they might be used in your home, and sprinkled among the home furnishings, you might find unique vintage clothing or furs and jewelry, comic books or baseball cards. The market, which is open Saturdays and Sundays, also has a large space near the back with more substantial items such as antique signs, lighting and hardware fixtures. —Julie Skipper

Finalists: Antique Mall of the South (367 Highway 51, Ridgeland, 601-853-4000) / Old House Depot (639 Monroe St., 601-592-6200, / Repeat Street (242 Highway 51, Ridgeland, 601-605-9123, / When Pigs Fly (202 W. Leake St., Clinton, 601-750-9552,

Best Caterer: Wendy Putt, Fresh Cut Catering & Floral

108 Cypress Cove, 601-939-4518,


Photo courtesy Fresh Cut Catering

If you've ever had an event at The South Warehouse or The Railroad District, or maybe just an event in the Jackson area, you may have encountered Wendy Putt and her company, Fresh Cut Catering & Floral. She owns both The South and The Railroad District, so if you book a wedding or event at one of those venues, you have a built-in caterer. (She can do catering anywhere, though).

Fresh Cut, which Putt founded in 1990, does full-service catering, floral design, event styling and more. She likes to customize every event, making sure every one is different from the last one. Although Putt specializes in weddings, she can also do events such as birthday parties, charity fundraisers, showers and corporate events. Keep a look out for Fresh Cut's food and decorations at this year's Best of Jackson party. —Amber Helsel

Finalists: 4Top Catering (4500 Interstate 55 N., 601-942-4999, / Mangia Bene Catering (4465 Interstate 55 N., Suite 101, 601-362-2900, / The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen (1200 N. State St., Suite 100, 601-398-4562, / Nick Wallace/Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St., 601-960-1515, / Taste Bistro & Desserts (5419 Highway 25, Suite L, Flowood, 769-235-6232,

Best Local Festival: Fondren's First Thursday



After changing this category from the previous Best Music Festival to Best Local Festival for the first time, Jacksonians voted for a not-at-all-unfamiliar event to take the title for 2017. Fondren's First Thursday, formerly known as Fondren After 5, is a street festival that features music, art, food and drink vendors, and a variety of other activities each month.

FFT has become such a part of Jackson culture that people took to the Internet in shock after a Facebook post in late 2015 from organizer Ron Chane suggested that the festival might be coming to an end. In December of that year, Chane clarified that "FFT as you know it" was over, as he would be taking his hands off the reins a bit to allow for more neighborhood control.

After a year under this new management format, FFT has grown in attendance and in its offering of activities, with entertainment set up in more locations and special pop-up events often taking place at several locations across Fondren. —Micah Smith

Finalists: CelticFest Mississippi (September, / Hal's St. Paddy's Parade & Festival (March, / Jacktoberfest (October, / Stray at Home Art & Music Festival (May, / WellsFest (September,

Best Dance Studio: Dollhouse Dance Factory

1410 Ellis Ave., 601-969-4000,


Jessica King/File Photo

Not a year goes by without the Jackson Free Press getting a call from a hopeful parent or child who wants to know how to join up with this year's winner for Best Dance Studio, Dollhouse Dance Factory. To be clear, we aren't affiliated, but we can certainly see why they're interested.

Dollhouse Dance Factory first opened in August 2010 and saw a boom in popularity in 2014 following the debut of "Bring It!", which is Lifetime's reality TV show about the studio. Being a student at the Jackson location or its Birmingham branch doesn't guarantee a spot on the show, but that doesn't put a damper on the young dancers applying from Jackson and beyond. The studio has classes, which includes ones such as ballet, hip-hop dance and jazz, for everyone from preschoolers to adults. —Micah Smith

Finalists: Dance Works Studio (3247 Davis Road, Terry; 1104 E. Northside Drive, Clinton; 601-720-1885) / Mississippi Metropolitan Dance Academy (Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet, 110 Homestead Drive, Madison, 601-853-4508; 106 Autumn Ridge Place, Brandon, 601-992-9016) / Salsa Mississippi Club & Studio (605 Duling Ave., 601-213-6355) / Taboo Dance & Aerial Fitness (856 S. State St., 601-502-4000) / Xpress Dance Company (2160 Main St., Suite D, Madison, 601-853-0826; 155 W. Government St., 601-954-6268)

Best Art Gallery: Fondren Art Gallery

3242 N. State St., 601-981-9222,

Jackson artist Richard McKey's giant Obama head sculpture on North State Street is hard to miss, so you'll know that this year's winner for Best Art Gallery, Fondren Art Gallery, which he first opened in 2008, is nearby in its new location.

The gallery's walls are covered in works from McKey, who is the primary artist, alongside pieces from other featured artists. Among them are colorful Darryl Anderson prints of Mississippi imagery, paintings of Jackson landmarks from Kelli Berry and pen-and-ink drawings from artist Jeffrey Yentz.

The gallery also offers custom framing. Through its, "You name it, we'll frame it," policy, patrons can preserve and display anything from portraits and other artwork to heirlooms and antiques. For those wanting to flex some creative muscle, McKey offers art lessons to help others get creative. —Julie Skipper

Finalists: Brown's Fine Art and Framing (630 Fondren Place, 601-982-4844, / Deep South Pops (1800 N. State St., 601-398-2174; 4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 173, 601-398-0623; / Fischer Galleries (736 S. President St., fourth floor, 601-291-9115, / Offbeat (151 Wesley Ave., 601-376-9404, / Sanaa Gallery (5846 Ridgewood Road, Suite C-212, 769-218-8289,

Best Day Spa: AQUA The Day Spa

1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 8001, Ridgeland, 601-898-9123,

The voters' choice for 2017's Best Day Spa probably won't be a shock to longtime JFP readers—AQUA The Day Spa has taken the title every year since 2003—but it's still a tough category.

Despite stiff competition from new spas in the area, AQUA has kept its customers coming back since opening in Banner Hall 17 years ago, which owner Susan Barnette says is thanks to the spa's wide variety of services and products, and its highly educated staff, which works to stay ahead industry trends and new treatments. The business moved to the Renaissance at Highland Colony Park in 2009, and the Banner Hall location closed three years ago. "When the New Year starts, a lot of people's resolutions are to get a massage more regularly because it's a great way to relieve stress," Barnette says. "For me personally, I think it's a lifestyle and just a really good way to take care of yourself, just as important as working out, your diet and everything else." —Micah Smith

Finalists: Drench Day Spa and Lash Lounge (118 W. Jackson St., Suite 2-B, Ridgeland, 601-707-5656, / The Face & Body Spa of Plastic and Hand Surgery Associates (2550 Flowood Drive, Flowood, 601-939-1444, / Sanctuary Body Spa of St. Dominic's (340 Township Ave., Suite 200, Ridgeland, 601-790-2222) / The Skin District (2629 Courthouse Circle, Suite B, Flowood, 601-981-7546,

Best Beauty Shop/Salon: Barnette's Salon

4465 Interstate 55 N., Suite 201, 601-362-9550; 1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 8001, Ridgeland, 601-898-4646; 4400 Old Canton Road, 769-230-4648;

Barnette's Salon owner Ralph Barnette has been making the Jackson metro area more stylish since he opened the first location in the basement of Banner Hall in 1985.

This is Barnette's second year in a row winning the award for Best Beauty Shop or Salon. The business has locations at Banner Hall and Highland Bluff in Jackson, and at Renaissance at Colony Park in Ridgeland. In addition to cuttings, the salon offers services include coloring, keratin treatment, Japanese thermal conditioning and extensions. The salon has been recognized as a Top 100 Salon in Elle Magazine in 2010, 2011 and 2014.

"The customers are the joy of doing this job," Richard Gray, business manager of the Banner Hall location, says, "and we just want to make our customers feel beautiful when they leave." —Tyler Edwards

Finalists: SMoak Salon (622 Duling Ave., Suite 206, 601-982-5313, / Studio J Salon (151 E. Metro Pkwy., Flowood, 601-212-9130) / RITZ SALON (574 Highway 51 N., Suite H, Ridgeland, 601-856-4330) / William Wallace Salon (2939 Old Canton Road, 601-982-8300) / Vamp the Salon (151 E. Metro Pkwy., Flowood, 601-955-9398) / LIV the Studio (151 E. Metro Pkwy., [email protected])

Best Fitness Center or Gym: The Club

Multiple locations,

With the number of great gyms in capital city, there's always a healthy competition in the Best Fitness Center or Gym category, but even so, this year's winner, The Club, has taken the title on plenty of previous occasions.

With five locations in the Jackson metro area alone, The Club has earned a reputation throughout Mississippi for being a quality fitness franchise, due to its variety of exercise programs and equipment options, its experienced staff and its commitment to increasing members' overall wellness.

Another big draw for the fitness centers is that the locations often carry their own advantages, including the Township location's 10 tennis courts and aquatic facilities, the wellness and recovery pool at the St. Dominic's Hospital center, and the extended hours at The Club 24 in Flowood. —Micah Smith

Finalists: Anytime Fitness on Interstate 55 (4924 Interstate 55 N., Suite 107, 601-321-9465, / Baptist Healthplex (717 Manship St., 601-968-1766,; 102 Clinton Parkway, Clinton, 601-925-7900,; Healthplex Performance Center, 501 Baptist Drive, Madison, 601-856-7757,; / Courthouse Racquet & Fitness/UMMC (multiple locations, / Metro Jackson YMCA (multiple locations,

Best Place to Buy Kids' Toys or Clothes: Olde Tyme Commissary

1000 Highland Colony Pkwy., Suite 9011, Ridgeland, 601-366-1849

Customers unfamiliar with Ridgeland business Olde Tyme Commissary might be surprised to see that Jacksonians selected it as 2017's Best Place to Buy Kids' Toys or Clothes. It's true that Olde Tyme Commissary has a large selection of pottery, wall art and other home decor, but the business' selection of children's toys and furnishings is every bit as expansive.

The shop has plenty of modern plush animals, board games and riding toys. But as its name suggests, some of the coolest options for kids at Olde Tyme Commissary are of the old-school and unique variety, such as handmade wooden play sets, rocking horses and children's tables to cater to even the most sophisticated of toddler tea parties. —Micah Smith

Finalists: Bows & Arrows (182 Promenade Blvd., 601-992-9966, / Helen's Young Ages (4750 Interstate 55 N., 601-362-0317, / Nursery Rhymes LLC (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 152, 601-368-9997, / Row 10 (1107 Highland Colony Pkwy., Suite 105, Ridgeland, 601-707-5846,

Best Kids' Event: Boo at the Zoo

Jackson Zoo, 2918 W. Capitol St.; 601-352-2580;

The Jackson Zoo's Boo at the Zoo, originally called "Fright Night," will celebrate 10 years of candy, costumes and activities for kids this October.

"We wanted to transition from an event focused on scares to a more family-friendly atmosphere," says Special Events Manager Toni Francis. That decision certainly paid off, as Boo at the Zoo received the most votes for 2017's Best Kids' Event.

Boo at the Zoo is held on a Friday and Saturday around Halloween each year and features trick-or-treating, a costume contest, Monster Mash dance party, and opportunities to meet the zoo's trained animal ambassadors, among other activities.

Over the years, attendance has grown as much as the event has, with 1,300 people coming out to the zoo on Friday and 2,100 people on Saturday of last year. —Mike McDonald

Finalists: KidFest! Ridgeland (April, / Park After Dark (Mississippi Children's Museum, Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, October, / Sal & Mookie's Street Carnival (April, / Touch A Truck Jackson (April, / WellsFest (September,

Best Liquor/Wine Store: Fondren Cellars

633 Duling Ave., 769-216-2323


When you walk into Fondren Cellars, you're greeted by wall-to-wall wine and spirits that the business' staff curates, meaning they tasted everything in the store.

"If it's here, we like it, (and) we believe it will sell because we stand behind it," said Josh Crump, the manager of Fondren Cellars.

Fondren Cellars also spends a great deal of time predicting trends—like Spanish wines in the last few years. For 2017, Crump says to look for wines from Portugal and Austria, and a re-energized focus on South African wines. Drop by on Wine Wednesdays to get 10 percent off all bottles of wine.

Fondren Cellars will also lend you wine, Champagne and rocks glasses for your next party. The best part is you don't have to wash them before bringing them back. —Dawn Dugle

Finalists: Briarwood Wine and Spirits (4949 Old Canton Road, 601-956-5108, / Corkscrew Fine Wine and Spirits (4800 Interstate 55 N., Suite 32B, 601-981-1333) / Joe T's Fine Wines & Spirits (286 Highway 51, Ridgeland, 601-605-7602, / Kats Wine & Spirits (921 E. Fortification St., 601-983-5287, / McDade's Wine & Spirits (1220 E. Northside Drive, Suite 320, 601-366-5676,

Best Flower Shop: Greenbrook Flowers Inc.

705 N. State St., 601-957-1951,

Greenbrook Flowers is celebrating its centennial year in 2017.

The fifth generation of the Jacobs family currently runs the historic florist shop, which has been open since 1917. In a highly competitive industry, its customer service and products have ensured the business' longevity.

It also helps that customers can order arrangements from the shop for all occasions online or by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Greenbrook Flowers also introduced Good Neighbor Day in 1994, a tradition celebrated in mid-September. On this day, participants stop by the shop and receive a dozen roses free. They keep one for themselves, and give the others away to eleven different people.

Greenbrook Flowers is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. —Jan M. Richardson

Finalists: A Daisy A Day (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 194, 601-982-4438, / Green Oak Florist & Garden Center (5009 Old Canton Road, 601-956-5017; 1067 Highland Colony Pkwy., Suite E, Ridgeland, 601-707-9440; / Mostly Martha's Florist and Gifts (353 Highway 51, Ridgeland, 601-956-1474, / Tulip Floral + Goods (1130 Old Cedars Lane, Madison, 601-506-2210, / Whitley's Flowers (740 Lakeland Drive, 601-362-8844,

Best Local Jewelry Store: Carter Jewelers

711 High St., 601-354-3549,


Photo courtesy Carter Jewelers

You won't find many businesses in the Jackson that have been in the game as long as 2017's winner for Best Local Jewelry Store, Carter Jewelers. The retailer's website says it's the third oldest registered jewelry store in the United States, having been in operation for more than 159 years.

Contributing to that longevity is the massive stock of jewelry that the store offers. Customers can check out Carter's collections from designers such as ASHI, Ziva Jewels, Stuller and Parade Design, and find the watch, necklace, bracelet, earring or engagement ring that speaks to them. And of course, if nothing in the inventory quite hits the target for you, Carter can place a special order with one of the store's preferred suppliers or even custom-make a piece for you. —Micah Smith

Finalists: Albriton's (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 184, 601-982-4020, / Beckham Custom Jewelry Co. (4800 Interstate 55 N., Suite 35, 601-665-4642) / Jackson Jewelers (253 Ridge Way, Flowood, 601-992-1700, / Juniker Jewelry Co. (1485 Highland Colony Pkwy., Madison, 601-366-3754, / Newton's Fine Jewelry (5417 Highway 25, Suite N, Flowood, 601-919-8747)

Best Nail Salon: Fondren Nails

2906 N. State St., Suite B1, 601-362-6292

If you want to pamper your hands and feet, schedule an appointment with this year's Best Nail Salon winner, Fondren Nails. Four years ago, Adrienne Williams became the owner of Fondren Nails.

Williams, who worked as a nail technician for more than 10 years before she bought Fondren Nails, says she wanted her business to be in the Fondren area.

"I moved to Fondren because I like the people," she says. "It's a great community, and I knew I would thrive here," Williams said. Fondren Nails offers manicures and pedicures on natural nails only for men and women. The local salon operates by appointment only.

"I appreciate all my support thus far, and I look forward to another great year," Williams says. —LaShanda Phillips

Finalists: Cuticles Nail Salon (2947 Old Canton Road, 601-366-6999) / Keri the RED Designs (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 245, 601-331-1563, / Kevin's Nail Spa (655 Lake Harbour Drive, Suite 600, Ridgeland, 601-427-5211) / Mani's & Pedi's (1051 Highland Colony Pkwy., Suite B, Ridgeland, 601-790-9074, / VIP Nails & Spa (717 Clinton Pkwy., Clinton, 601-924-4031,

Best Veterinarian/Vet Clinic: Briarwood Animal Hospital

1471 Canton Mart Road, 601-956-5030,

This year brings the 56th anniversary of Briarwood Animal Hospital, which voters chose as this year's Best Veterinarian/Vet Clinic, but it's not just the hospital that has experience behind it. Collectively, Briarwood's staff of veterinarians has more than 80 years of experience in taking care of people's furry friends.

The hospital offers the Jackson metro area's pet owners a variety of services and techniques such as feline AIDS and leukemia testing, small-animal medicine and surgery, and digital radiography and ultrasound imagery, to help critters live healthier and longer lives.

Briarwood isn't just for sick puppies, though. The hospital also has boarding and grooming facilities for dogs and cats to keep your pets company when you're away, and you can stock up on treats and accessories at the Briarwood Pet Shop. —Micah Smith

Finalists: All Creatures Animal Care Center (262 New Mannsdale Road, Madison, 601-856-5333, / Animal Medical Hospital (1217 Old Fannin Road, 601-992-4822, / Hometown Veterinary Service (1010 Depot Drive, Brandon, 601-825-1697) / North State Animal and Bird Hospital (5208 N. State St., 601-982-8261, / Oakdale Animal Hospital (2028 Highway 471, Brandon, 601-829-9949,

Best Place to Get Married: The South Warehouse

627 E. Silas Brown St., 601-939-4518

Weddings are a hassle to plan, whether it's finding the right dress or the right invitations or dealing with the seating arrangements.

For the catering and ceremony part, however, venues such as The South, which has been hosting ceremonies and receptions for the last eight years, make the planning a little easier.

With 19,000 square feet of space, the venue is even big enough to house both the reception and ceremony. And it has a built-in caterer in the form of Wendy Putt, who won Best Caterer this year. In her event planning, Putt can create romantic ambiance with her eye for floral arrangements and design, which she customizes for each bride. She is hands-on in all aspects of the planning, from the menu to the flowers to the decor, so brides don't have to worry so much about that part of the process. —Jessica Smith

Finalists: The Cedars (4145 Old Canton Road, 601-981-9606, / The Cotton Market (2644 S. Pearson Road, Richland, 601-906-5499) / Fairview Inn (734 Fairview St., 601-948-3429, / The Ivy Venue (1170 Luckney Road, Flowood, 601-906-5499, / Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St., 601-960-1515,

Best Local Men's Clothing: Buffalo Peak Outfitters

4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 115,601-366-2557,


Photo courtesy Buffalo Peak Outfitters

Not a whole lot has changed with this year's Best Local Men's Clothing winner, Buffalo Peak Outfitters, since they took the title along with Best Locally Owned Business in 2016, Marketing Director Cody McCain says. But sometimes, consistency is the best quality.

For 30 years, the store has been one of the local gems in Highland Village, and has helped customers find fashion choices that fit their needs, offering new styles from popular brands such as Patagonia, Southern Marsh and The North Face.

McCain says: "It's a small, family-business kind of feel, where we truly do try to help every customer who walks in—to make sure that they're happy, that they leave with what they're looking for and that they're equally prepared for going on an adventure or just walking around town." —Micah Smith

Finalists: Great Scott (4400 Old Canton Road, Suite 101, 601-984-3500, / Kinkade's Fine Clothing 
(120 W. Jackson St., Ridgeland, 601-898-0513, / The Landing (111 Colony Crossing Way, Suite 250, 601-707-7505, / Red Square Clothing Company (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 103A, 601-398-3403; 1000 Highland Colony Pkwy., Suite 9004, 601-853-8960; / The Rogue (4450 Interstate 55 N., 601-362-6383,

Best Barber Shop: Fondren Barber Shop

2943 Old Canton Road, 601-826-0707

Justin McPherson and his husband, Eddie Outlaw, opened this year's winner for Best Barber Shop, Fondren Barber Shop, in November 2013.

"We saw a need for a men's barber shop that focused on current trends in men's haircutting," McPherson says, "and just something that gives men a little more of an experience than your older-school barbershops."

In late 2016, the couple moved Fondren Barber Shop and their salon, William Wallace Salon, under the same roof, allowing them and their support staff to help cater to their male clientele even more than they could previously, McPherson says. In addition to offering services such as cuts, shaves, beard trims and eyebrow waxing, McPherson and Outlaw also take pride in their staff.

"We focus a lot on education for our barbers, and keeping them current on new trends," McPherson says. —Tyler Edwards

Finalists: ACEY Custom Hair Design (3015 N. State St., 601-937-7754) / The Barbershop at Great Scott (4400 Old Canton Road, Suite 100, 601-984-3500, / Maurice's Barber Shop (multiple locations) / Southside Barber and Beauty Shop (715 W. McDowell Road, 601-321-9240) / Yelverton Barber Salon (901 Highway 51, Madison, 601-856-0015)

Best Place for Women's Clothing: Material Girls

734 McKenzie Lane, Flowood, 601-992-4533; 1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 7005, Ridgeland, 601-605-1605;


File Photo

Perennial Best of Jackson winner Material Girls has been outfitting trendy ladies for more than a decade. Owner Whitney Giordano 
Foster opened her first store in 2005 while she was still a senior at the University of Southern Mississippi, earning her bachelor's degree in fashion merchandizing.

Now the business, which won the title of 2017's Best Place for Women's Clothing, has locations in Flowood, Ridgeland, Oxford and Hattiesburg—and online shopping on its website. It's a one-stop shop for current, reasonably priced styles, and carries everything from lace bralettes and boot socks to dresses, shorts, bags, jewelry and shoes. If you need inspiration, the website offers a "lookbook." —Julie Skipper

Finalists: CoatTails (111 W. Jackson St., Ridgeland 601-853-1313, / Forty Four Fifty (4450 Interstate 55 N., 601-366-3687) / James & Leigh (420 Monroe St., Suite A, Clinton, 601-910-7008, / Libby Story (1000 Highland Colony Pkwy., Suite 5003, Ridgeland, 601-717-3300, / Maison Weiss (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 109, 601-981-4621, / MiGi's Boutique (144 Market St., Flowood, 601-919-8203)

Best Place for Unique Gifts: Apple Annie's Gift Shop

1896 Main Street, Suite D, Madison, 601-853-8911; 152 Grants Ferry Road, Brandon, 601-992-9925;

At times, it can be tough to find a memorable gift for a loved one. This year's winner for Best Place for Unique Gifts, Apple Annie's Gift Shop, is one of the stores in town that can help with your search.

The family-owned business serves as a great place to find presents for friends and family, and as a one-stop shop to fulfill your own home's needs and display your love of local treasures and businesses.

Apple Annie's, which has locations in Brandon and Madison, looks to showcase Mississippi flair and offers everything from jewelry to snacks to home decor. You can find all sorts of interesting items, such as cheese straws, Captain Rodney's sauces and tea towels embroidered with a state of Mississippi design. —Mike McDonald

Finalists: Bliss Bride (Bliss Gift and Home, 4465 Interstate 55 N., 601-326-3337) / Mississippi Craft Center (950 Rice Road, Ridgeland, 601-856-7546, / Offbeat (151 Wesley Ave., 601-376-9404, / The Pine Cone (5056 Interstate 55 N., 601-713-1421) / Thimblepress (113 N. State St., 601-351-9492; 4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 144, 601-345-3352;

Best Place to Work: University of Mississippi Medical Center

2500 N. State St., 601-984-1000,

This year's winner for Best Place to Work, the University of Mississippi Medical Center, is a sprawling campus with 10,200 employees on the payroll.

"Every day, someone in the state is affected by one of our facilities," says Michael Estes, who is UMMC's chief human resources officer.

With the student body, that number increases by 3,000 persons, and factoring in patients, visitors, families of patients and consultants, there are anywhere from 20,000 to 24,000 people on campus each day.

It is the only academic health sciences centers in the state and one of the largest employers in Mississippi. Estes says that even a nomination for Best Place to Work must mean that "we're doing something right. We are committed to transparency here, which fosters a great working environment and relationship between employees and management. We are unique in many ways, but the people make us special." —Mike McDonald

Finalists: Babalu Tapas & Tacos (622 Duling Ave., Suite 106, 601-366-5757, / Baptist Health Systems (1225 N. State St., 601-968-1000, / Hinds Community College ( / The State of Mississippi (

Best New Addition to Jackson: High Heaven Trampoline Park

2280 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 769-208-3008,


High Heaven Trampoline Park, which received the most votes for 2017's Best New Addition to Jackson, is a kind of wish-fulfillment factory to the vertically challenged among us. The park is equipped with a variety of trampolines, basketball goals to test your dunking skills, a trapeze for those who never got around to joining the circus, and dodge-ball court, to name a few.

While the 23,000-square-foot facility is certainly family-friendly, it offers activities for more than just the kids' birthday crowd, with its challenging ninja obstacle course, College Nights on Tuesday nights, and the late-night Club Heaven on Fridays and Saturdays, which features black lights, lasers and music for ages 15 and up. As of Jan. 1, High Heaven is also open seven days a week, so you'll have more opportunities to get jumping. —Micah Smith

Finalists: Deep South Pops (1800 N. State St., 601-398-2174; 4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 173, 601-398-0623; / The District at Eastover (1250 Eastover Drive, 601-914-0800, / Green Ghost Tacos (1290 E. County Line Road, Ridgeland, 601-957-7436; 2801 N. State St., 601-203-2144; / The Pet Shop of Fondren (2947 Old Canton Road, Suite G, 601-398-4198)

Best Tattoo/Piercing Parlor: Electric Dagger Tattoo

2906 N. State St., Suite B-6, 601-982-9437


They say it takes forever to figure out what your first tattoo is going to be, but once you do it, you're hooked and are already thinking about where the next one will go.

People from all walks of life come into Electric Dagger to get their tattoos. Some are first-timers, others the artists know by name—and tattoo. Though the shop has been open for four years, it has already taken Jackson by storm, winning Best Tattoo/Piercing Parlor for the last three years.

Electric Dagger has books and books of ideas, along with artwork on the walls. Want something customized? They can do that for you, too.

But whether you're interested in getting your first or 50th tattoo, it's best to go in and talk to one of the tattoo artists such as Mallory Palmertree, Mike Richardson or owner Jason Thomas directly about your dream design. It's hard to discuss concept over the phone.

Just make sure you bring cash, because the shop doesn't take plastic for your ink! —Dawn R. Dugle

Finalists: Hard Rocs Tattoo & Piercing (1149 Old Fannin Road, Brandon, 769-251-5363) / House of Pain Custom Tattoos (22 Holiday Rambler Lane, Suite 300, Byram, 601-321-9040) / Squench's Tattoos, Ltd. (3780 Interstate 55 S., 601-372-2800, / Twiztid Images (557 Highway 49 S., Richland, 601-664-0000,

Best Place to Get Your Car Fixed: Barnett's Body Shop

Multiple locations,

After not placing as a finalist in the Best Place to Get Your Car Fixed category last year, Barnett's Body Shop took the title altogether in 2017. Of course, it can't be too surprising that Jacksonians selected the local franchise. Barnett's has been in the auto-repair industry for nearly half a century, so they know a thing or two about keeping things running smoothly.

For 49 years now, Barnett's has taken care of just about any automobile needs a customer might have, from the big fixes such as collision repairs and brake replacements to smaller tasks such as tire alignments and oil changes. With locations in Flowood, Ridgeland, Byram and Richland, the body shop is also a convenient choice for most residents in the Jackson metro area. —Micah Smith

Finalists: Car Care Clinic (multiple locations, / Freeman's Auto Repair (847 S. State St., 601-948-3358) / Graves and Stoddard Inc. (722 Highway 80 E., Flowood, 601-939-3662) / Putnam's Automotive Service (4879 N. State St., 601-366-1886)

Best Yoga Studio: Butterfly Yoga

3025 N. State St., 601-594-2313,

Since owner Scotta Brady began Butterfly Yoga just over 14 years ago, the business has been a constant winner for the city's Best Yoga Studio, winning the title every year since the Jackson Free Press added the category in 2011.

Before founding the studio, Brady, a Jackson native, spent about a year and a half living and traveling abroad in countries such as Germany, New Zealand, London and Ireland, before returning to Jackson for law school in 1999. Then, Brady says, she had a change of heart and turned her attention to her love of yoga.

She opened Butterfly Yoga in August 2002 in downtown Jackson, and it moved to its current location on North State Street in Fondren in 2004.

The studio offers classes for students of all levels and needs, whether they're just wanting a stress-management tool or a more strenuous exercise. Butterfly even offers a belly-dancing course for those wanting to try something different. —Jessica Smith

Finalists: Joyflow Yoga (Fitness Plus, 1424 Old Square Road, Ridgeland, 601-613-4317, / M Theory Yoga (118 W. Jackson St., Suite C, Ridgeland, 601-790-7402, / StudiOm Yoga 
(665 Duling Ave., 601-209-6325, / Tara Yoga (200 Park Circle, Suite 4, Flowood, 601-720-2337,

Best Thrift/Consignment Shop: Repeat Street

242 Highway 51 N., Ridgeland, 601-605-9393,


Photo courtesy Repeat Street

While the metro area has a plethora of consignment stores, Jacksonians have repeatedly voted for one specific one over the last few years for Best Thrift/Consignment Shop: Repeat Street. The store, which recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary, has a story to tell, considering all its interesting finds and more than enough room to explore.

Owner Michele Austin opened Repeat Street in a 700-square foot space in 2006. These days, the store is in a 17,000-square-foot warehouse space in Ridgeland, which has allowed the shop to expand its collection. While there, you can find everything from fashion to furniture to records to interesting antiques.

In 2016, Michele Austin bought Orange Peel in Fondren, adding another business to further cement her love for consignment shops. —Jessica Smith

Finalists: Bloomingdeals Fine Consignments + (1425 Jacksonian Plaza, 601-977-0901, / Leap Frog Children's Consignment & More (104 Village Blvd., Madison, 601-898-0727, / Orange Peel Resale (422 Mitchell Ave., 601-364-9977) / N.U.T.S. (114 Millsaps Ave., 601-355-7458) / Private Collection (101B Village Blvd., Madison, 601-607-6004)

See also:

Community & Culture


Nightlife & Music


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