August 2, 2018
The small town of Mount Pleasant, Tennessee – about an hour and 20 minutes south of Nashville – is located in a picturesque piece of Southern countryside filled with shops that range from boutiques to dairy dip taking you back to a simpler time. It’s the perfect location for a girls’ day exploring the women-owned businesses that are filling the square.
You may also notice an art installation chronicling the Trail of Tears and the Cherokee women who passed through Mount Pleasant. While exploring, look for the brightly painted flower sculptures named after these women.
Here’s where to spend your time in Mount Pleasant:
Near the front door, up by the cash register of this old country store with a modern twist, there’s a penny gumball machine. Even if you don’t have a penny, store owner Angela Newman offers one from her secret stash. She loves seeing kids of all ages experience days gone by. Here you can choose from a variety of local art, music and food. You’ll want to look for the Tri-Star stickers noting made-in-Tennessee goods. Every now and then you can even catch in-store live music at night.
Angela and her husband, Matt, decided to make the move from Kingston Springs when they were meeting their daughter to pick up their grandkids for a visit. Mount Pleasant marked the spot. Opened since Nov. 4, 2017, the store’s moniker actually commemorates the year Mount Pleasant was founded.
“I saw the empty buildings and started dreaming about historical homes,” Newman says with a warm smile. “After learning about the downtown revitalization, things became clear that we should move. It means a lot to be a part of the town. We fell in love with Mount Pleasant. It’s alive and well. And, to provide a service and to sell farm fresh products along with made in Tennessee goods has been fun. It’s also been fun to see customers stop by and get to know them.”
1824 General Store is located at 106 North Main Street Mount Pleasant, TN 38474.
A vintage repurpose store that is a Pinterest pinner’s dream, owner Vicki Jernigan says “it’s an eclectic mix of designs from pickers and makers.” The folks contributing pieces to her shop are from all over the country. So you’re sure to find one-of-a-kind treasures here. Most everything in the store is on a cooperative basis much like a flea market booth, but without the booths.
Jernigan is a retired nurse and self-described picker-maker who is pretty much a one-woman show these days since her husband started renovating a nearby farmhouse. At the back of the store, you can often find Jernigan in her workshop. There are plenty of projects in ongoing phases of progress. It’s here that she offers barn quilt painting classes once a month along with a variety of other DIY favorites you’ll soon be itching to try. Most classes run $35, and you can look on Facebook and Instagram for the most up-to-date schedule.
She explains that leaving the mid-century character of the former Couches Five and Ten true to its original feel was important. The old pine wood floors and original bead board ceilings still story their former glory. Items like vintage clothes commingle with Fountain Creek Guitars made out of cigar boxes. You might want to keep an eye out for the shop pig named Petunia, a life-like toy piglet that she moves around the store regularly.
“We’re always trying to engage people to come in for a visit. I don’t want them to feel like they have to buy something to come in and just talk for a while.”
Jernigan's on Main is located at 1334 113 N Main St, Mount Pleasant, TN 38474.
You won’t find nary a tumbleweed out of place in Jenny Lynn Dickson’s full service salon and boutique - a one-stop-shop for all things beauty. Up front in the boutique, you’ll find stylish apparel from sizes 0-24 along with other wants you didn’t know you needed. The name of Dickson’s store was inspired by an old western she and her husband watched one evening. She winks, “I keep rolling with stuff I like to do.”
The back of the store is where the conversation flows while you get your hair cut and styled. But, when it comes to which came first she says, “It came as a package. I always wanted something different where people can feel themselves. When they leave, I want them to find something which fits their personality.”
She also works with other downtown merchants for events like “Women on the Move” encouraging the women of Mount Pleasant to always reach for their personal best. Speaking of women on the move, she says, “If you’re too busy to come in and shop, let me know what you like and I’ll send images of them. If you like it, I’ll come bring it to you.”
Whether you’re there to shop or get the full salon treatment, enjoy a complimentary glass of wine and sit a spell in one of her vintage beauty shop booths. From blowouts to extensions your tresses will never be in the weeds and your tips and toes will be on point with a fresh mani-pedi.
The Tailored Tumbleweed is located at 110 N Main St, Mount Pleasant, TN 38474.
Carrying brand favorites (sizes 0-6x) such as Mud Pie, Coco, Carmen and Umgee, you’ll surely find something to suit your fancy at Nelipot Boutique. Shop owner, Autumn Craig explains, “I don’t carry a whole lot of one thing. It’s a small town. Who wants to see someone else wearing your outfit?” While she aims to keep her prices affordable, keeping her customers happy is priority.
Upon entering Craig’s haven right off the beaten path, there’s a mural with a Michael Franti quote: “You learn a lot when you are barefoot. The first thing is...every step you take is different.” When Craig was trying to come up with a name for her new boutique, her daughter, Joelie, was running around barefoot in the middle of February. She put Google to the task and voila, she came across a reference for barefoot’s synonym - nelipot.
A quality improvement nurse at Maury Regional, she opened after only six weeks of planning “so I didn’t back out,” she laughs. Better service is simply part of her everyday life, “I’ve always had an open home, welcoming all who entered. So, I wanted people to come to my shop to visit first, then shop.”
Craig loves plugging into the community with various projects. So, this summer proves no different. She’s currently taking donations of gently used school clothes which she’s prepping for a kid’s back-to-school bash – no questions asked, “We don’t want the kids to ever be embarrassed because of the clothes they wear.” You’ll get 10% off your Nelipot purchase when you donate two pieces of clothing for the bash.
Nelipot Boutique is located at 401 1st Ave. Mount Pleasant, TN 38474.
Debbie Cooper opened her first Buckhead CoffeeHouse location in Columbia 17 years ago, making it one of Middle Tennessee’s oldest coffee shops south of Nashville.
“We had to educate what a latte even was back then,” Debbie says. “What’s happened over the past 17 years has been wonderful. Our customers are such a diverse group of people. We try to make everyone feel welcome.”
It’s been a little over a year since she opened the shop in Mount Pleasant adjacent to the General Sessions Court Clerk. When court is in session, you’re likely to catch the judge grabbing a quick cup of Joe as the prosecution and defendants “rest.”
She says, “I think the way my business works, it works [well] with the community, being a spot where people can meet at and where everyone feels comfortable.”
Hardwood floors are flanked marble countertops and white subway tiles, while customized wooden tables and furniture dress this modern space to the nines. Aromas of freshly brewed, fair trade coffee permeate the air which draws you to the counter.
But, there’s another reason why folks congregate in this bright, sunshiny space from all walks. It’s Cooper’s chicken salad. The secret is in the sauce, or so to speak. Whole breast chicken is blended with pecans, grapes and celery with crushed pineapple standing in for mayo overload. There’s a whole array of menu items for dine-in or carry out. You can even order a pound of the chicken salad to-go, along with a bag or two of whole beans for tomorrow morning’s brew. With five current locations, Cooper is proud to be a part of the Mount Pleasant community,
“There’re some cute shops here. Stop along the way and have a great cup of coffee. There’s just a sweetness to it all. Everyone on the street will speak and be happy that you are here. It’s like stepping back in time.”
Buckhead CoffeeHouse is located at 107 N Main St., Mount Pleasant, TN 38474.
Small towns and dairy dips simply go together. Mount Pleasant’s version is just up from Nelipot Boutique and around the corner from other town jewels. It’s where you can even call in your order and swing by for pick-up. The menu reads like something straight out of a “Happy Days” episode with cheeseburgers, onion rings, crinkle fries and you guessed it, ice cream treats like milk shakes, sundaes and cones.
With the exception of a new-ish sign and a bit more modern equipment, not much has changed since Jack Cunningham first opened Dari Gem way back when. Well, maybe one major thing has changed, its owner – Jana Love.
She recounts her history with the fast food business: “I worked for Jim (Jack) Cunningham at Jumbo House in Columbia for 30 years, and have now owned it myself since 2008. Jack owned Dari Gem until 2005 and it went through several owners after him. In 2011, the guy that owned it then came to me and asked me if I wanted it. I sure didn’t need it, as Jumbo House is a very successful restaurant. That is where I spend most of my time. But, he wanted out and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. So, my manager and several employees really deserve the credit for keeping it going. Some of them worked for Jack and have been there a long time. I am excited about Mt. Pleasant and the changes that are happening. The progress there has really made me have to do some soul searching on what my next move is with Dari Gem, as it’s an icon.”
With so many cute boutiques, restaurants and a wealth of history shown in beautiful art installations, it’s easy to see why Mount Pleasant should be on your list of small towns to visit. Explore more road trip inspiration at Hit the Open Road.
Dari Gem is located at 107 1st Ave., Mount Pleasant, TN 38474.