Jackson County

She saw one of these in Meridian and said, ‘This has to come to Pascagoula’

The Menagerie on Market, an emporium of shopping booths, is coming to Market Street in Pascagoula, opening this weekend.
The Menagerie on Market, an emporium of shopping booths, is coming to Market Street in Pascagoula, opening this weekend. klnelson@sunherald.com

Tina Thames stays away from the words “antique mall” and “vintage market,” when describing the shopping booths she and her family will be offering at The Menagerie on Market, an 8,200-square-foot shopping space and coffee shop opening this weekend.

It’s an emporium, she says, and swears it will be ready for the public on Saturday, even though she was still painting the bathroom on Wednesday.

The emporium has 44 booths, “and we’re taking the cream of the crop ... being selective,” Thames said, to keep merchandise quality at a certain level.

There are still a dozen booths left to rent, but she is two-thirds full.

The emporium mall is at 2302 Market St., the former Johnny Joe’s bar. The transformation is amazing.

“You will walk into a booth with crystals and a chandelier,” she said. “Then it will look like you’re coming into a village, with store fronts.”

The walls of the booths or suites are studs. The merchants who rent them, fill them in and decorated them to be their own store.

The rent is low and the house takes 10 percent. Electricity is provided for each store.

Already signed up are merchants who have pottery, antiques, artwork, college T-shirts, jewelry, kitchen supplies and mixes, baby clothes, boutique clothes for young women, handmade candles, crystal and handmade wooden items.

Established retail lines they’ll offer are Swan Creek Candles, Dixie Belle Paint, Mud Pie Gifts, Molly & Drew, Pelican Bay Specialty drink mixes, Pepper Springs Gourmetand Cin Chili & Company.

The coffee lounge — Cafe Marche’ — in the back will offer French press and other coffees, a big leather sofa, TV and Wi-Fi, tables and chairs and a light lunch — soups and sandwiches.

It will also have an entrance from the south side of the building.

Thames used to be in the medical field and has been thinking this business project through. She saw an emporium like it in Meridian and decided, “This has to come to Pascagoula.”

“We’ve had nothing here like this,” Thames said. “And nobody can grasp the concept — you don’t have to be on-site. You set up your store, you tag the merchandise and you walk away. So you can be at work, and I’ve got your stuff here. We’ve got 36 security cameras. When someone purchases something, they take it up to the counter and buy it and at the first of the month, you get a check.”

“It works. I have booths in Meridian, where I’m selling every day, and I’m down here,” she said.

She sees her business filling a much needed gap.

“If you can’t come to Pascagoula and buy a gift now, you’ll never be able to,” she said.