Mossy Oak dedicates 'home' in downtown West Point

 Gov. Phil Bryant and Toxey Haas cut the ribbon with the help of Mossy Oak mainstays Pam Strickland, Cuz Strickland and Bill Suggs.
Staff Writer

Some things are just meant to be. Gov. Phil Bryant called it "divine intervention."

In 1987, a year after what is now world-renowned Mossy Oak was founded in West Point, Fox Haas and his son, Toxey, bought a building in downtown West Point from which to operate part of the fledgling new business.

Five or six years later, Fox Haas was talking to a friend about how his grandfather had once operated a livery stable in downtown West Point and he'd like to find out where it was and maybe own it.
The friend laughed and told him he already did.

Monday, that building, with the original A.P Cottrell 1892 stamp at its crown, and two adjacent buildings officially were dedicated as the new headquarters for what is now a broad range of Mossy Oak activities, from licensing to conservation planning.

The three connected buildings cover roughly 18,000 square feet with much of the original brick and woodwork meticulously woven into the renovation, which was completed by Harrell Brothers. A centerpiece is an expansive conference and memorabilia room, covering the business' more than 30-year history, that looks out on West Point's Main Street.

Ironically, at the time the father and son bought the building, Toxey was looking at renting another office around the corner for $300 a month. His dad said wait while they scouted around for a building they possibly could buy for about the same monthly payment. Without knowing the family legacy, they paid $28,000 for the 5,000-square-foot building. 

"It's a crazy coincidence that this is where we ended up," Toxey Haas said Monday after Bryant toured the offices and helped cut the ribbon on the new offices.

"Being in this building is divine intervention. That's all you can call it," Bryant said in brief remarks.

"Mossy Oak changed the world. I travel all over the world, and we talk about Nissan and Toyota and building a third of the country's warships and a million rounds of ammunition at Winchester. And I tell them Mississippi, West Point, Mississippi, is home to Mossy Oak. People all over know what I'm talking about," the governor continued.

"Thousands of young men and young women, sharing the experience with their fathers and grandfathers."

The soft-spoken Toxey Haas said his dream that has become Mossy Oak wouldn't have been possible if it weren't for the help and support of family and a small town.

"People believed in me. You can do anything when the people you love believe in you," Haas said, recalling the day he decided the hunting camouflage he was wearing wasn't realistic and that he could do better.

"I couldn't have done it without the support of a small town," he continued.

When they started thinking about consolidating some offices, getting the adjacent buildings downtown made sense.

"We could have gone out and built something behind the mall (Mossy Oak Mall), but that wouldn't have been the same," he offered. "A lot of work and planning from the team went into this. It was a chance to do something downtown."

The three buildings and the production offices across the street provide a firm anchor where the company's heart is.

"We've always been a big supporter of downtown so this just seemed natural," Mossy Oak President Bill Suggs said. "It means so much to be here. We wanted a place that would honor the old buildings, be rustic and outdoors like us and a good place to work."

Bryan Harrell of Harrell Construction said it was a privilege to be involved.

"You don't get many opportunities to be a part of something really special like this," he said.