Market 105 hopes to play a major role in revitalizing downtown Booneville
Originally published by Oxford Stories
Centrally located between Tupelo and Corinth in the northeast corner of Mississippi, the quiet town of Booneville boasts a population of just under 9,000 residents. The Prentiss County seat appears to many as a pass-by town with little going on, but Market 105 aims to change that in the near future.
The establishment’s concept began as a casual coffee, pastries and lunch spot, but under the creative furrow of owner Lisa G. Stevens and her staff, it has blossomed into much more.
Hunter Wayne Thompson, a University of Mississippi 2017 graduate and Market 105 operations manager, said this delay happened because the idea for Market 105 expanded rapidly beyond its original plan.
Once scheduled for an Oct. 2 opening, the restaurant was going to be a simple lunch counter and café style coffee shop. A key piece of Stevens’ platform for the alderman at-large seat she now holds was to help reinvest in the community by expanding the potential of downtown Booneville.
The community gathering place, now in its final weeks of preparation before opening in early to mid-November, aims to be a one-stop shop to revitalize the area.
Renovating the former Dickerson Furniture building, the hangout will boast four distinct spaces spread across its unique three-level stepped floor plan.
Market 105 will uniquely feature a lounge area for gathering and chatting over café treats or a light lunch, a gallery of local artworks for sale inside their more traditional sit-down restaurant, a private rental room that pays homage to the history of North Mississippi, and a boutique-style shop with an in-house florist, clothing, and food products.
The 6,100 square-foot building is essentially divided into thirds, with ramps going up or down each of the sides respectively. The middle room where one enters the establishment is called the lounge, which fits the original plan for Market 105.
The lunch counter in this room will offer a daily blue plate special, fresh pizzas, coffee, pastries and other upscale café offerings for more casual or quick dining. This third of the building is divided, with the kitchen located behind the counter.
The lounge will offer seating on both couches and at tables, highlighted by two raised platforms near the door that will have seating.
“Before we knew it, we’d been there sitting and talking for four hours,” said Thompson, talking about how the team wants the lounge to be seen as a hangout spot – a gathering place to tell stories, catch up and have a good time. In the evening, it will transform into a more traditional tableside ordering area, much like their gallery.
The gallery is a third of the building down a ramp to the left of the lounge and kitchen and will be one of the biggest parts of the Market 105 experience. The far wall of the room is covered in beautiful brick and will display pieces from local artists for sale, hence the reason it is called the gallery.
This section is not divided and will feature tables to seat approximately 80 and a stage for live music acts to perform. The live performances can even be heard through the in-ceiling speakers wired throughout the whole restaurant. There will also be televisions mounted on some wall space and above the fireplace on the stage for viewing different events.
The third of the building, up a ramp to the right of the lounge and kitchen, will be divided into the shop and private dining room. The private dining room plays homage to the history of North Mississippi through its name, The Holley Room.
Before the building became Dickerson Furniture, it was a co-op, and that room housed the Holley Brothers Fur Trading Company. Separated from the shop by a large sliding barn door, it can be reserved for meetings, receptions, parties, teas and other events, with four levels of in-house catering offered to suit any occasion.
The shop will offer everything one could want from a boutique. Featuring an in-house florist, clothing, shoes, jewelry, gifts, home decor and other merchandise, the shop will be a one stop destination.
They are also working on the brand Market 105 Foods to sell in the store. Stevens’s family once owned Gardner Girls’ Pickles, and have since dissolved the business, but the same sweet pickle recipe will make a comeback for sale at Market 105. Foods used for the brand in due time included sauces, dressings, jams, jellies, dry mixes, and possibly roasted coffee bean blends.
All three spaces tie together under the social media and online work Thompson has done. Their Facebook and Instagram pages, both named “Market 105 Booneville,” will keep patrons updated with progress, events, the live music schedule and more.
Their website will offer all this, plus the option for viewing the full menu, ordering online for pickup, booking The Holley Room, and a full online shop. The online shop for clothing is currently live, with the other parts coming online once the shop is in full swing.
Market 105 truly will be the culmination of the true social experience of Southern hospitality, as explained by their motto “Eat. Shop. Gather.”
University of Mississippi student Sarah Miller, of Booneville, said the restaurant “seems like an atmosphere where students could really get work done or have a good time.” The community hub is a very interesting model, targeting not one specific audience, but rather aiming to be a place for everyone.