Community Commons, a new Community Counseling Services retail plaza on Highway 45 in West Point, is opening soon and will feature four retail establishments for the people of West Point, Clay County and surrounding areas to enjoy.
Workers have been putting the finishing touches on the building, affixing signs created by local artist Claire Houston to each shop, moving merchandise and fixtures into the building and getting the facility ready for business.
The first retail shop to open at Community Commons on May 3 is Sunny Side Antiques, which is currently located on Main Street in downtown West Point. Sunny Side Antiques, owned by Elizabeth Schaffenburg, is the only West Point retail store currently in business that is relocating to the new building. Last week, Schaffenburg prepared for the move by having a 50 percent off sale at the Sunny Side store on Main Street, clearing out merchandise at the old location and getting ready to bring new items into the new building. Schaffenburg said she's excited about the move.
“I'm thrilled with the opening. I expect the location to be more accessible to the public, and I'm absolutely amazed at the quantity and quality of the furniture already in the new facility,” Schaffenburg said. “I welcome any and all to the new facility.”
The next shop, Again and Again Books, is set to open around mid-May. Again and Again Books will feature used books as well as audio and video media. Some of the books available will come from the library of the historic Mary Holmes College. The shop will accept donations of books in good condition for a charitable tax deduction and will exchange books and media for in-store credit. More details will be available inside the store once it opens.
Confections and Casseroles will open at Community Commons beginning in June. Cupcakes for every occasion and tasty casseroles for busy families will be available at this specialty shop. Confections and Casseroles will offer customers a giftware product line along with custom-made gift baskets for gift giving during holidays and special occasions.
The fourth Community Commons store, Arts From the Prairie, will open in late summer and will feature an unique gallery-like shopping experience. Artworks from artisans all across Mississippi and the Southeast will be available for purchase.
“The Shops of Community Commons promise an enhanced shopping experience for local residents and visitors to the community,” said Susan Baker, chief operating officer for Community Counseling Services.
Concurrently with the Community Commons shops, Community Counseling plans to open a large, community thrift store that will feature clothing, accessories, used furniture, appliances, household furnishings, toys and décor. The thrift store will be located in the former Southern Family Market building and will feature a drive-thru donation center where people can drop off items in good condition for a charitable tax deduction.
The retail establishments of Community Counseling Services offer employment opportunities for the mentally challenged, both in retail shops and in support positions at other agency program locations.
“A significant number of clients are involved in our retail operations even though the public may not see these people on a daily basis,” Baker said. “In addition, CCS has recently partnered with Ability Works in Columbus to provide vocational rehabilitation training for individuals with disabilities needing training and support to reenter the workforce.”
Baker said providing meaningful employment for the mentally challenged and disabled is the primary goal of the retail endeavors of Community Counseling. CCS has committed significant resources to the improvement and beautification of West Point through the renovation of vacant building throughout the community, she said.
Jackie Edwards, executive director of CCS, said CCS is a huge supporter of the growth and improvement efforts in West Point and Clay County and will continue to be a partner in community development.
“Our agency employs tradesmen from the local community whenever possible and supports our local businesses by purchasing in West Point first,” Edwards said. “Our retail projects are very exciting. We know that adding to the arrays of products available in West Point will benefit our clients and the community as a whole, and we are very proud of this accomplishment.”