About: Kristi Woody
Writer | Photographer
Kristi Woody is a photographer and storyteller for our Hello Jackson features about locally owned retail stores and restaurants. She also works as the university photographer for Union University and owns her own wedding photography business, Woody & Pearl Photography. In her free time, Kristi enjoys spending time with her husband and rambunctious beagle, Rhett and Chipper respectively. If you can't find Kristi in Jackson, you'll find her in her second favorite place: Disney World!
Check out Kristi's latest contributions to Our Jackson Home:
Balance. Poise. Grace. Stamina. All things that are waning for this thirty-seven-year-old man. Honestly, I never had a lot of physical grace or poise. In my athletic years, I generally excelled by crashing, slamming, and flinging my body all over the court or field in order to succeed. I was never a graceful athlete. Unfortunately, for me, the workout at Pure Barre required all of the aforementioned attributes.
I remember being in the locker room as a seventh grade basketball player at Tigrett Junior High School and coming to the realization that I was going to have a hard time keeping up with most of the guys on the court. I had some normal feelings of insecurity and nervousness, but nothing out of the ordinary for a prepubescent boy in 1992. Fast forward twenty-five years and those feelings came back in a hurry as soon as I walked into the CrossFit Jackson gym.
The first rule of Fightshop is: you don’t talk about Fightshop. Wait. That’s not it. That’s Fight Club, the Brad Pitt and Edward Norton film where dudes just generally beat the snot out of each other. The Fightshop is sort of like that, except you’re beating on bags, not people. And we can definitely talk about the Fightshop because it’s tough to find a better workout around town. The first thing I noticed during my first visit was the plethora of heavy punching bags hanging from a black, metal contraption.
Vineyard’s Gifts, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, is located in one of the quaintest little pockets of Jackson. On the corner of Wiley Parker and North Highland Avenue sits a small shopping center including a florist, spa, children’s clothing store, and café. In the center of it all is Vineyard’s Gifts, a boutique gift shop that specializes in bridal and baby registry, stationery, invitations, and gift items. The store was originally opened as a florist in downtown Jackson by Lyda Tomlin Vineyard.
The first part of a wedding that a bride and groom chooses is often the venue. Availability, location, and amenities are all factors in choosing the right venue, and this guide highlights four great options in the Jackson area. As a wedding photographer, I have worked in each of these places and have personally witnessed the strengths mentioned. Each venue has been operating long enough to have the process down to a science.
An expansive flock of slate grey clouds span the sky as I drive along the narrow highway. The landscape rolls beside me, before me. The hills and subtle ridge lines guide the highway that bears my passage. Rural fields are dotted with gigantic cotton gins, dilapidated barns. Small colonies of trailers and rented houses populate gravel side roads, sprouting like branches from the main highway. I am northward bound, driving into an increasingly brisk wind.
Earlier this year, downtown Jackson got quite a face-lift with the addition of the Jackson Walk area. One of the first businesses to open in that new retail space was Beyond Vogue, a blend of hip and classic trends from fashionable cities such as L.A. and New York City. Beyond Vogue carries a curated selection of sleek accessories, select modern home decor, and an assortment of contemporary women’s clothing.
One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is to go shopping for antiques, and Yarbro’s Antiques has always been one of the best places to go in Jackson to find a great variety. Yarbro’s is made up of booths stocked by a variety of sellers. Some dealers specialize in collectibles such as linens, military items, or glassware, and others sell things like seasonal decor or restored furniture. There is a little bit of everything with prices ranging from $1 all the way to $10,000.
Food trucks have become a staple in bigger cities like Memphis and Nashville, but Jackson is beginning to acquire its own selection of these unique culinary experiences. Eatbox Food Truck is Jackson’s first gourmet food truck, and their menu changes just about every time they set up for an event. Eatbox’s most popular items are their varieties of gourmet meatballs. In fact, last September the Travel Channel featured their gourmet meatballs in a segment on Bonnaroo, which Eatbox has worked the past three years.
One of the most well-known attractions in Jackson is Brooks Shaw & Son Old Country Store, a place both residents and visitors love. One of my earliest memories of the Old Country Store is from a field trip I took in kindergarten, where I was so excited about the barrels upon barrels of candy! The main draw of the Old Country Store is definitely the traditional Southern food buffet, which ranges from $8 to $13.
Paul Latham’s Meat Company, commonly known as Latham’s, is a name familiar to almost everyone in the Jackson area. Since 1991, Paul himself has been providing our city with a variety of quality meat and a high level of service. The friendly atmosphere of his current location on North Highland Avenue is felt immediately upon entering the combination butcher shop, barbecue stand, and cafeteria.
I think most people would agree that there’s not much better than a good slice of pizza, especially after a long day at work or during an action-packed football game. You can get mediocre pizza from tons of places, but if you want some delicious, handcrafted, brick oven pizza, I’ve got just the place for you: Rock’n Dough Pizza + Brew Co. In addition to the aforementioned amazing pizza, Rock’n Dough offers grinders, salads, desserts, and weekly lunch specials, such as lasagna, shrimp and grits, and calzones.
Nestled among the bustling restaurants and big box stores on Vann Drive, you can find one of the best local women’s clothing and accessories boutiques in town. Mam’selle is located right next to Starbucks and carries a huge selection of gorgeous pieces from dresses to handbags to candles. Mam’selle is home to many well-known designer lines including Marc by Marc Jacobs, Hobo, Frye, and the recently added Kate Spade.
One of the many reasons that I started Hello Jackson was to create a resource for people traveling through West Tennessee to find local businesses to support. One of the places that is already pretty popular with travelers is the I-40 Exit 87 BBQ Stand. It is a food truck-style establishment with a lot of character. Growing up, I always associated barbecue with family gatherings. Any time we all got together, we went somewhere to get some delicious pulled pork and all the sides.
Nestled on top of a hill and surrounded by a beautiful vineyard is the charming Botbyl Pottery & Companion Gallery, where you will find a gorgeous selection of handmade pottery, baskets, textiles, jewelry, and even handmade bath products. The majority of the pottery in Companion Gallery is made by owner Eric Botbyl, who is a longtime artist and potter. The gallery also features work by Kelsey Nagy, Amelia Stamps, Shadow May, Caroline Cercone, Becky Rosenkrans, and Made on Acorn Hill.
What started as two friends making Christmas gifts for loved ones has evolved into a thriving small business called Made On Acorn Hill. Mandy and Ashley, co-owners, make safe and natural alternatives to commercially produced bath and body products. Made On Acorn Hill sells a wide variety of bath products including herbal salves, sea salt scrubs, lip balms, and old fashioned goat milk soap. (Yes, they milk the goats themselves!)
When you talk to any business owner, the word “niche” will probably come up at some point. Finding a niche is essential to success, and today’s featured business, Woodstock Bake Shop, has definitely found its niche! You can tell from the name that the theme is based on the culture and music of the 1960s. Woodstock Bake Shop opened in September of 2012 and serves a variety of delicious cupcakes, candies, and box lunches.
One of the most exciting things for any high school girl is going to shop for a prom dress. This excitement comes back and multiplies when it’s time to find the perfect wedding gown. Rina’s Bridal & Quinceañera Boutique is a great place to shop for those very special dresses and accessories. Rina’s specializes in bridal, bridesmaid, prom, pageant, quinceañera, and baptism dresses.
The Jackson Fire Department is in the process of constructing an important safety training tool for our community, the Life Safety House. The simulator, located on Conalco Drive, consists of three different rooms and will give community members tips and information on properly handling threatening situations in the home. As guests walk into the converted trailer, they will see a classroom where the instructors can give school groups a presentation on safety in the event of fire or natural disaster.
Whenever my friends are throwing around the idea of going out for sushi, one restaurant always comes up: Asia Garden. Asia Garden, opened in 1985 by Kathy and Kopang Yeh along with several family members, is a staple in Jackson. They started out serving a Chinese menu and recently expanded to serve Japanese items, including sushi. They have quickly become a local favorite for sushi, and they will even do a sushi platter for larger groups!
“Dignity has nothing to do with palaces.” We live inside a moment in history when the world is politically charged. Countries all across the globe are experiencing revolutions and wars claiming to desire peace with their fellow man. America itself is in the midst of a pivotal political election. With such change and terror looming in the air, why would anyone desire to see a play that depicts these same themes?
Some of my fondest memories of growing up are from playing video games with my granddad and my cousins. I was the kid that cheated by holding the Duck Hunt controller right up next to the screen! I know many other people have grown up around video games, and some, like my husband, continue to enjoy playing. Even Frank Underwood, leading man on House of Cards, enjoys playing Playstation! Luckily there’s an awesome local business that serves the needs of Jackson gamers: Nerdvana.
In 2005, Bruce Springsteen went on a tour with just himself, an acoustic guitar, a harmonica, and a pump organ. This tour was in support of his album entitled Devils and Dust. It was a follow up to The Ghost of Tom Joad, which was released in 1995, and was a sequel to Nebraska. On each of these albums Springsteen wasn’t backed by the E Street Band.
Nell Huntspon Flower Box is a full-service florist located on North Royal Street and has been serving the Jackson area for over forty-six years. When I walked in to meet and interview Nell, she was talking with a customer on the phone, so I browsed the array of house plants and gifts on display in the shop. She smiled at me, and when she finished her call, she invited me to have a seat.
It wasn’t until I experienced fine dining that I truly appreciated it. Splurging on a full-service dining experience may not be your cup of tea, but to me it is worth saving up for. It’s not only the unique flavor combinations and artful food preparation that I enjoy, but also the atmosphere and attentiveness of the servers. My fine dining experiences have always been on vacation, but as of this fall, I can get this kind of experience right here in Jackson.
I don't think we've ever seen anything in Jackson quite like the Southern Fried Pop Culture and Comic Con. Check out these crazy photos Kristi Woody captured at this absolutely unique event this past weekend.
People hate to exercise because they don’t have fun doing it. The idea of exercise being fun may sound so morbid to you that you laughed as soon as you saw "exercise" and "fun" in the same sentence. Let’s face it: if you live a sedentary lifestyle (e.g. you have been compared to the likes of a potato, Netflix asks you more questions than real people do, or your family has put you on a soda budget), you could be at risk for a chronic disease that’s easily preventable.
In case you haven’t taken note, Jackson’s skies are pretty incredible. Particularly due to the way the sun sets in the evenings, our community has distinguished itself apart from others in the area for hosting some of the most arresting color shows and cloud movements. Whether it’s reflected through curious little wisps or cascading textures and patterns, the sky often transforms into something of a light box when the daylight begins to turn.
What’s better than finding an amazing deal on the perfect pair of jeans? Knowing that the money is going to a wonderful cause. That’s what you get at the RIFA Thrift Store! RIFA has had a presence in Jackson since 1976, when a group of local churches and community leaders decided to do something about the growing poverty levels in the city. The Thrift Store is one of the many ways that RIFA helps the people of Jackson, and it is open to the general public.
To get you all ready for tomorrow's podcast featuring Rusty Robinson or Rusty's TV & Movie Car Museum, we thought we'd give you a little glance at this quirky, hidden treasure of Jackson. Check out these stunning photos by Kristi Woody and see what all you're missing out on!