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Madness in Oxford — Mississippi Madness That Is

Peter's Pottery
Eclectic and interesting describes the store’s offerings.

Located on the historic Courthouse Square, Mississippi Madness isn’t your typical gift shop. For 17 years the eclectic shop has been Lafayette County’s leading source for unique, and regionally made pieces of pottery and art.

“Everything we sell is from Mississippi,” says the store’s owner John Welty. “The big things that we have are Peter’s Pottery, which is made in Mound Bayou, and products from Wolfe Studios which is in Jackson.”

Welty, an Ole Miss alumnus, first moved to Oxford in 1991. He bought Mississippi Madness from its original owner in 2003. Since then, business has boomed, and with the holiday season right around the corner, it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

“Our busiest time of the year is Christmas. Even around this time of year people start Christmas shopping,” says Welty. The last quarter is really our big time of the year.”

Wolfe Studios
Shelves are well stocked with one-of-a-kind items.

The shop’s success has made it a go-to destination for Oxford residents and tourists alike.

“A little bit of everybody shops here,” says Welty. “You know, there are a lot tourists that come through, and a lot of people that come in from out of town who will stop by every time they’re in town to buy pieces pottery to add to their collection or see what’s new.”

When customers enter the store’s antique, wooden doors, they immediately sense the southern hospitality that exudes from every staff member.

“I always greet the customers when they come in the door,” says employee Emily Ryan. “I ask them if they need help with anything. If something’s high on the shelf and they cant find a price, I’ll look it up for them.”

Along with beautiful, one-of-a-kind ceramics, the shop also sells food merchandise.

From cheese straws made by The Mississippi Cheese Straw Factory in Yazoo City, to a variety of delectable cakes made by Sugaree’s Bakery located in New Albany, the store has it all.

They even market the coveted Yocona Sauce, a steak sauce that was once served at the infamous Yocona River Inn in Oxford. Because Mississippi Madness is one of the few places that sells the sauce, keeping it in stock is a bit of a challenge.

“People from this area love to send gifts that are from Mississippi,” says Welty.

As long as that’s the case, those antique, wooden doors will stay open for many years to come.

By Lacey Russell, Meek School of Journalism and New Media,  llrusse2@go.olemiss.edu



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