Local businesses breathe new life into the Vicksburg Commons Mall – The Vicksburg Post
What was once an almost vacant facility is becoming a hub for local business owners taking advantage of the opportunities available at Vicksburg Commons.
Willena Dotson is no stranger to the area. For 26 years, she was a director of Hanes Brand Inc. when the mall was known as Outlets of Vicksburg. But last year, she made the leap into entrepreneurship at Vicksburg Commons and was the first of more than 17 new businesses in operation or about to open.
Location was one of the main reasons Dotson said she decided to open her business, Home Accessories & More at the Vicksburg Commons.
She said it was also due to the encouragement given to her by the late Margaret Gilmer.
“I have known Margaret for 30 years and she has always tried to convince me to start my business here. I’ve had it in other places,” Dotson said.
But in May of last year, Dotson said, she decided to come out to the Vicksburg Commons.
“I decided if I could run Hanes when everything else was closing, and in this economy I could run my own business. So with my retirement I just decided that was what I wanted to do. “, she said.
Dotson began purchasing goods for his business in 2019, housing them in warehouses.
Purchases along the way allowed her to open Home Accessories & More debt-free, she said.
Filled with a variety of beautiful decor pieces including lamps, pillows, candles, sofa tables, and art, shoppers will have no problem finding beautiful items for their home.
Larry Walker, employee of the city of Vicksburg cable television station VTV and owner of Skywalker Photography, opened the brand new Vicksburg Commons business.
Capitalizing on his training and expertise in photography, Walker’s new venture, Picture This Photography & Selfie Studio, is the first of its kind in Vicksburg.
With vignettes lining the walls of what some would call a multipurpose studio, Walker has created a business where young and old can take their own “selfie” photos on a plethora of settings.
It also has a space for those who want to create TikTok videos.
“It’s a place where people can come and be their own photographer,” Walker said. “We’ve implemented ring lights and allow the client to be their own photographer and do what they do best, which is to take selfies.”
There are 12 different vignettes or “rooms” which include a wall of flowers, a room with neon colors and black lights, and a “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” backdrop.
Walker even has a space he designed using an antique clawfoot tub with a bubble machine nearby.
Although Walker saw a similar business while on vacation, he said he wanted to put his “own style” on Picture This Photography & Selfie Studio.
“I wanted to make the room what I saw in my head and bring some of my creativity to life,” he said.
The selfie studio, which also has a space where Walker operates Skywalker Photography, won’t always have the same sets, he said.
“We will always have something new going on,” he said, especially anticipating the changing of seasons and holidays.
Currently, a Valentine’s Day-inspired theme is being set up, and Walker is also preparing space for prom photos.
Picture This Photography & Selfie Studio is a “social media driven” business, Walker said, paving the way for unique selfie images and upcoming TikTok stars.
The facility can also be rented on Sundays for parties.
Home Accessories & More is located in Suite 106 at the Vicksburg Commons and Picture This Photography & Selfie Studio is in Suite 124.
Other businesses located in the Vicksburg Commons include:
Suite 101 – Unique Sisters Boutique
Suite 102 – Ambition & Health Scrubs
Suite 103 – Timeless Eventz Suite
Suite 105 – Meci Kouture & Unique Graphic Designs
Suite 107 – Rejuvenating Personal Fitness Training
Suite 109 – Vape Haven
Suite 110 – iDoctor (opening soon)
Room 112 A – Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
Suite 112 B&C – Billy’s Italian Restaurant
Suite 113/114 – Muddy Magnolia Market
Room 115 – HANES
Suite 121 – Hall’s Flowers, Gifts & Bakery
Suite 123 – Palmers Seafood (opening soon)
Suite 126 – Grand River Clothing (opening soon)
About Terri Cowart Frazier
Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Soon after, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter for the Vicksburg Post and editor of Vicksburg Living Magazine, which was awarded first place by the Mississippi Press Association. She was also the recipient of a first place award in the editorial division of the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest for “Best Feature Article”.
Terri is a graduate of Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communications with a major in public relations.
Before coming to work at the Post just over 10 years ago, she freelanced at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay-at-home mom.
Terri is a member of Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a life member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and was a member of the Sampler Antique Club and the Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.
“Whether it’s staying informed about local government issues or hearing the stories of local residents, a local newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at the Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I can continue to grow and hone my skills while helping to share the stories in Vicksburg. When people ask me what I love most about my job, my answer is always “the people”.
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