Coffee Shop owner spoke at Selma-Dallas County Public Library

Published 6:32 am Thursday, March 2, 2023

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By Travis Gupton

The Selma Times-Journal

The Coffee Shoppe owner Jackie Smith was honored Tuesday at the Selma-Dallas County Public Library’s Lunch at the Library series.

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Smith discussed the ups and downs of the last 11 years in business in Selma.

Smith talked about how she first worked in government and transitioned into wanting to own her own business. She bought what was the old “Thirsty Boy, turning” it into what Selma now knows as the Coffee Shoppe. From the moment Smith opened the doors, the road has not been an easy one.

“There have been a lot of highs and lows,” Smith said. “There have been several times where I even thought about throwing in the towel. One thing that you have to have is a good support system and at the end of the day my family never allowed me to quit. Even when I thought I couldn’t go on any further, my husband, my daughter kept encouraging me and saying you’re going to figure it out. So, what I had to do was really figure it out.”

At one point, Smith left the Shoppe full time and worked at Wallace Community College-Selma for five years to help supplement for the Coffee Shoppe. In 2018, she came back to the Shoppe full time. She talked about that she had to come up with a way to re-invent herself to  keep her dream alive.

“When things got really rough, I started to develop this relationship with the tour guides,” Smith said. “One thing that I did not know before I opened the Coffee Shoppe was I had no idea as to the number of tourist that come and visit Selma every day. For me that was a missed opportunity. At some point, I realized I got to get some additional revenue. What can I do? So I reached out to the tour guides. I developed some relationships mainly with the ones in Montgomery and the ones in Selma had my back. Before you knew it, I had all of the lunch tour business.”

Smith thanked the audience for being there for her through the nearly 12 years in business. She said that without the people coming in and supporting her, there would be no Coffee Shoppe. Smith said she is excited for the tourists coming in for Jubilee this weekend and it will be open later Saturday to accommodate for those coming for the festivities.

“I have family coming in starting Friday,” Smith said. We will be staffed to the max. We will be in a position to handle this crowd and we know that this is for my Coffee Shoppe and other small business in downtown Selma the biggest weekend of the year.

‘‘We cannot afford to not be ready. We will be ready. We will be super stocked. We will have staff to rotate so nobody gets burned out. We are super excited of the news that I just got. I cannot wait.”