Pride of the Pine Belt: Main Street Books celebrates ten years

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Diane Shepherd is a part of a long line of business owners.

"Well, my great grand parents lived down on Edwards Street. They had a market called Johnson's Curb Market. It was just a place people could come to and buy their lunch," said Main Street Books Owner, Shepherd.

Shepherd remembers her great grand parents market as not only a place to shop, but a place for the community. She feels those roots on Edwards Street encouraged her to accept an idea from her husband.

"We were riding around one day and looked at the building at 205 Main Street, and he said, 'What if we just opened a books of ten thousand?' I just took the idea and ran with it," said Shepherd.

Now, Shepherd and her family are celebrating ten years of Main Street Books. She follows in her great grand parents foot steps, each person who comes into the shop is treated like family.

"I love people. I love my community. We own the book store, but the book store is for the community," said Shepherd.

Recently, Shepherd turned her sentiment into action. She teamed up with downtown Hattiesburg businesses and restaurants, Southern Miss students and her family for the Empty Bowl Fundraiser.

"Empty Bowls is an international organization that brings awareness to hunger in the world, food insecurity," said Shepherd.

Shepherd said anyone could buy one of these bowls, and have a simple meal of soup and bread.

"You take the bowl home with you, and when you eat out of the bowl it is suppose to remind you of the hunger that is in the world," said Shepherd.

Shepherd says hunger in the Hattiesburg Community is a serious issue. So, she sent the proceeds from the fundraiser to a place close to her heart, Edwards Street Fellowship Center.

"We raised right at $5,000," said Shepherd.

"It is a wonderful thing. We are so blessed," said Edwards Street Fellowship Pantry Manager, Kim Kay.

Kay says the center gives out three days worth of food to families constantly. She believes helping the community wouldn't be possible without donations.

"This ministry could not be here if it were not for volunteers, and for businesses that saw the need and stepped up to fill it," said Kay.

Shepherd's humble nature makes it impossible for her to take any credit. She says the fundraiser wouldn't have been successful with the help she received. As far as her decade old business, she says credit goes to her family, the community and the grace of God.

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