By Kala Vise, junior journalism major, Meek School of Journalism and New Media
A stroll down the sidewalk of the Square promises visits to unique, privately owned boutiques, fine dining (no doubt only the best of the South) and a likely encounter with a friendly face.
Located in heart of this Square is The Lily Pad, is a local store that specializes in gifts and accessories. Here, customers can purchase their favorite name brand or locally made items.
The Lily Pad offers a large selection of sorority merchandise for those in search of the perfect sorority gift for any time of the year. Most of their sorority merchandise being unique, as it is exclusive to them.
The gift shop also recently started selling Lily Pad t-shirts, designed by the shop itself. This unique store carries an extensive selection of the latest Vera Bradley products, from Ronaldo jewelry to the latest trends among Ole Miss women.
The Lily Pad also carries a selection of handcrafted pottery and picture frames designed by various Mississippi artists. It is solely known as a gifts and accessories shop; however, in the summertime, cute cover-ups and sundresses add variety to the retail mix at the store.
Owner Courtney Chaffin Gordon opened The Lily Pad’s doors in 2000. The store’s only location is on the Square, but Gordon maintains a booth in Clarksdale, Miss. Thirteen years after opening, The Lily Pad continues to flourish.
Business has grown with the city,” Gordon said. “Each year seems to get busier.”
With social media as an opportunity for small businesses to promote its products, The Lily Pad has taken to the Internet, with a Facebook page and a personal website. News updates about the gift shop and pictures of store items can be viewed online for convenience and as a first look at new merchandise.
Manager and accounting major, Courtney Carruth, has been working at The Lily Pad for almost three years.
“What I love the most about working here is the overall atmosphere,” she said. “It’s fun, laid-back and we’re all friends.”
During the year, The Lily Pad usually has about six or seven employees. It is especially busy during football season, Double Decker weekend and the week of Recruitment, as sororities prepare gifts for their new members.
“We have all kinds of customers come into our store, but our main customers are students during the school year,” Carruth said. “Really good mixes of people come in and whoever is shopping on the Square.”