Emily Pote | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Emily Pote

Photo by Delreco Harris

Photo by Delreco Harris

When Emily Pote opened "Coffee Prose," a coffee shop that doubles as a used bookstore, she wanted to participate in the local movement to portray Jackson as a place that is revered for all its many wonderful qualities, as opposed to the sometimes negative perceptions others have of the capital city.

Now with two locations, one in Highland Village and the other across the street from Millsaps College, the business is better able to serve Jackson locals.

"Our midtown store is the flagship, but we always knew we wanted to open a second location," Pote says of the transition. "The opportunity at Highland Village popped up, and it was a location we had been eyeing."

Pote is no stranger to trying new things, as she purchased the equipment and recipes of a now-closed popsicle shop, Deep South Pops, and began selling the frozen confections alongside the used books and hot coffees that gave the business its signature name.

The small-business owner has plenty of experience in the literary world, too, previously serving as the manager of children's books at Lemuria after graduating from Mississippi College with a degree in English, and she strives to share that knowledge with her customers by offering them a "heavily curated" selection of books, noting that the shops "carry everything from kids' books to fiction to nonfiction" and that the staff makes sure that each book is in good condition.

These carefully curated shelves are replete with unique finds, as Pote remarks that she recently found a book that was printed in 1898 and another that had a bookmark from a shop in Decatur, Texas, a place that Pote says she will likely never visit herself but is now aware of because of her store's unique offerings.

Coffee Prose's main enterprise, Pote explains, is helping lovers of books and coffee find sanctuary. "It's more of a treasure hunt than a traditional bookstore," Pote says. "(We consider ourselves to be) a celebration of the physical book and of sustainability. We give things a second life and celebrate their history," which she does by christening beverages with names that allude to literary titles, such as "Cream and Punishment."

When Pote is not juggling her two children and her two businesses, she donates her time to various community-oriented organizations in the Jackson community, serving as president of both the Jackson Symphony League and University Press's Book Friends.

"I want to put my money where my mouth is when it comes to Jackson," she says.

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